Pause for a moment and ask yourself this question:
Who is the one friend or family member you could sit and talk to for hours?
You know the kind of person I’m talking about. The one who tells great stories, asks great questions and makes you feel seen and heard. The one you could listen to and laugh with for hours.
When you’re with this person, the conversation flows easily from topic to topic, and you always wish you could spend more time together.
Do you have the name of your person in mind?
That person is unforgettable because he or she has a voice, personality, and presence that’s unique.
The same kind of thing happens when you create a brand voice and presence that’s unique to you and your business.
The enjoyment you find in talking to your friend or family member is the same kind of enjoyment people get from hearing from your brand.
You might think your friend or family member is a natural—a natural storyteller, charmer, or conversationalist, but as much as everyone has innate abilities, they’re often also very intentional with how they cultivate those abilities.
Chances are, your friend has great stories because she travels, meets people, goes on adventures, or pays close attention to people, places, and things. She might ask great questions, because she cultivates curiosity, reads books, and stays in the know.
As a brand, having a unique brand voice is equal amounts being true to who you are and letting it shine, and being strategic and intentional. It’s showcasing your innate abilities and creating the kind of presence you want to have.
It’s both personal and strategic.
Letting Your Personal Voice Shine
If you’re a photographer, wedding professional, virtual assistant, or any other type of creative and you want to show up confidently with a sense of ease that empowers, you have to be true to who you really are as a person.
If you’re branding your business with your name, you can’t pretend to be someone you aren’t. Big mistake. Huge (Pretty Woman Preference there). If you’re pretending, you have to force every conversation, every post, every.single.thing you do. Who has time for that?!
If you’re showing up as your true self, an ease surrounds everything you write, say, and post. That’s where you need to be.
Being Strategic with Your Brand Voice
While I’m all about showing up as you are, when you run a business, you also have to be strategic.
For example, if you’re kind of a slob (no shade to slobs) and slurp cereal at your desk, work in your jammies, and are surrounded by chaos and clutter, you can’t show up online quite like that or most people won’t think you’re professional or want to do business with you.
We love to see glimpses of real-life and behind-the-scenes vulnerability, but no one wants to see your hot mess day-to-day life that up close and personal.
You need to show your vulnerability without being an “oversharer.” It’s a delicate dance, and you walk a fine line.
So as much as it’s important to be personal and authentic, you have to be strategic with your brand voice and what you share and say. You need to connect with your audience as you really are so they can identify themselves in your values, ambitions, and dreams.
How do you do that?
Let’s talk about four critical elements of a solid brand voice that aligns with who you are and connects to your audience in a professional and genuine way.
These four elements to creating a powerful brand voice were created by Stephanie Schwab from Social Media Explorer, and I think they’re SO amazing, I want to unpack them here and dive into them with you.
Four Critical Elements to a Solid Brand Voice that’s Unique and Impactful
Your tone of voice is how your personality and character comes through in your words. It’s not what you say, but the way that you say them. Miriam’s Dictionary defines it as “they way you speak to someone.”
How do you normally speak to people?
Your brand tone of voice needs to be your tone because people can sense when you’re not authentic.
Some examples of tone are: direct, bold, gentle, humble, warm, personal, or honest.
Think about your day-to-day interactions. You usually have the same tone throughout the day. What does your tone sound like and depict?
Sure, it changes slightly depending on the situation. For example, when you’re a bit frustrated with your kids, you might raise your tone of voice, but that’s not usual tone, that’s your angry or agitated tone.
Your tone should be consistent across your social media platforms, website, and marketing materials because you want to speak in the same genuine manner to your audience.
In addition to your tone, your brand voice also includes language. What kind of language do you want to associate with your brand?
If you’re an exclusive and luxurious brand, you’ll likely use language that speaks to that market. If you’re a down-to-earth, catchy brand for the masses, the language you use will appeal to that market.
When you’re selecting the language for your brand voice, think about adjectives that describe the types of words you’ll use. For example, the language you choose might be: simple, luxurious, playful, whimsical, or serious.
As a general rule of thumb, for marketing and content purposes, you want to keep the language you use clear, concise, and easily readable. Avoid large words and overly-complex sentences because you want your content to be easily digestible.
When you address your audience, it’s important that you sound like YOU. Are you funny? Playful? Sarcastic? Poetic? Are you to-the-point and concise or do you speak in flowery, symbolic language? The language you use and the way you string those words together should be authentic to you.
Your brand voice should also be infused with your purpose. What’s the purpose behind your words? Think about how you communicate on a day-to-day basis…
You might ask your son to pick up a toy for the purpose of having a clean house.
You might ask your husband if he wants to watch a series with you for the purpose of spending time together.
You might call your friend and tell her a funny story for the purpose of laughing together and feeling less lonely.
You might recite affirmations aloud for the purpose of inspiring yourself.
- Who am I trying to connect with or serve?
- What’s my purpose behind what I’m saying and doing? What do I want to achieve?
- What pain points am I trying to alleviate in my audience (and in myself)?
- Why is what I say and provide needed?
When you know your purpose, it’s a lot easier to identify what you want to say and share. It’s easy to say “This is my purpose, so I need to do x,y, and z to achieve that.”
The fourth aspect of your brand voice is your character or YOU. Your character is what you’re wanting to shine through your tone and language.
Who are you? It’s time to get comfortable with who you are and confident that people love you and more people want to get to know you so they can love you, too.
Let your character shine through your brand voice.
For example, some adjectives that describe your character might be: compassionate, inspirational, helpful, strong, supportive, authoritative, ambitious, brave, or social.
Your character and personality filters into your brand person. To figure this out, ask yourself these questions:
- What character traits do I have that I want to filter into my brand?
- What kind of relationship do I foster with my clients? (example: Are you their cheerleader, nurturer, adviser, etc)
- What personal brands do you love and how can you take what you love and apply it with your unique touch?
- How do I want people to feel when they come across my brand?
Those are four key elements to a solid brand voice, but remember what I shared up above? The friend or family member you love to around likely listen well and asks great questions.
As a brand, practice an emerging trend known as social listening. Listen to conversations your audience is having online and truly hear their pain points.
By listening to what they’re talking about and what they need,
you’ll have a better awareness of what to share and how to share it when you use your brand voice.
Your brand voice is all about communicating with your audience in a meaningful way and sharing the beneficial offerings you can serve them in an unforgettable way.
As you’re sharing, one of the most important things to remember is that consistency matters. Always stay consistent. The easiest way to stay consistent is to be yourself. When you craft your ideal brand voice, always lead with your core messaging.
Do this and your audience will hang on your every word and LOVE to be in your presence. They’ll flock to you in droves and won’t be able to get enough of the content, products, and services you share.