Writing with EdCoCo – The Power of Language
Watch Your Tone
Defined as an expression of a writer’s attitude towards the subject matter, and their readers, tone plays an incredibly important part in building and maintaining the voice, personality and reputation of your brand. Without the right tone, your intentions may get lost in translation, leading to a lack of engagement or growth.
Here at The Edwards Copywriting Company, we write for lots of different clients all with their own unique mix of values and attitudes, meaning that we have to be hyper-aware of the tone we are using in each piece of writing to ensure it matches the client we are writing for. It’s a bit like playing every single character in a TV show, only with less costume changes!
Getting the tone right can be tricky so we’ve compiled a little list of things to consider before you start writing (you’re welcome!)
1 – What are you writing?
The genre in which you are writing will have a significant influence on the tone you use. If you’re writing a blog post, for example, these tend to have a colloquial tone, mimicking an informal chat or conversation with a friend. They are often spun positively, with help or advice at their core, meaning that the content should be relatable and reader-friendly. (Remember, blogs have A LOT of different types of readers, especially if you’re writing in a specific niche, so be sure to check out your reader demographics before you start writing. More info on this in Point 3!)
If you’re writing an article for an external business newsletter, however, your tone will likely need to be more formal. You will use industry-specific vocabulary to convey a sense of professionalism and convince readers of your expertise.
Be ready to switch up your tone for each piece you write!
2 – What are you writing about?
Your subject matter is key to determining the tone of your piece – if the tone and topic don’t match, your writing will seem disconnected, and readers may misunderstand the overall message.
Take this, for example – you’ve been asked to write a blog post about the process of grieving. The last thing you’ll want to do is fill your writing with exclamation marks and short, snappy sentences, over-enthusiastic vocabulary and puns. It just wouldn’t fit. This is, of course, an extreme example! There are many subject matters in which all of those techniques would fit perfectly (perhaps a blog about a celebration, exciting event or new product). Paying attention to your subject matter and adjusting your tone accordingly will make for a well-rounded, purposeful piece.
In other words, watch your tone!
3 – Who are you writing for?
This is perhaps the most important deciding factor when it comes to tone. Who exactly are your target readers?
Think specifically. Think demographics. Think psychographics.
If you’re writing an advice piece on retirement, it’s probably best to steer clear of slang terms because, chances are, your audience won’t be fifteen-year-old Instagram addicts! If you’re writing a blog for new mums, you’ll want to sound real and down-to-earth, rather than sugar-coating an experience that many women find to be incredibly challenging. Think of it as being similar to reading the room before making a crude joke at a Christmas party – if everyone has had enough sherry, go for it! If not, have another mince pie and start a sensible conversation about climate change.
4 – What’s the point?
Last but by no means least, it is important to consider the point or purpose of your writing when establishing tone. If you’re writing to advise, ensure the tone reflects that. Steer clear of preachy, know-it-all phrases and include words that may prompt your readers to give your advice a try. If you’re aiming to sell a product, a more persuasive tone will be conveyed if you are using subtle CTAs and positive language.
Think carefully about what you want your readers to do as a result of reading your piece and ensure your tone will lead to the desired outcome.
Tone is a complicated little thing, and getting it right can be difficult, but considering the genre, subject matter, audience and purpose before you start writing is essential to the success of your piece.
At The Edwards Copywriting Company, many of our clients come to us with copy that isn’t living up to expectations and, more often than not, it’s the tone that is keeping their copy (and consequently their business) from reaching its full potential. With some extensive research into their genre, subject matter, target audience and purpose and a tonally sound re-write, our clients are always surprised by just how much of a difference their new copy makes to the success of their business!
For help with copywriting, check out our full list of services on our website. (We’re really good, we promise!)
With our offices located in Wombourne, West Midlands, we have many clients in the Wolverhampton and Birmingham areas. We are also lucky enough to have international clients in New York and Seattle who use us regularly. We’d love to help your business flourish – please get in touch if you think your content could use a little boost.