Your brand voice is an identification of how you sound when you talk about certain topics that are important to you and your brand. Use it well, and you’ll pull in your raving fans. Use it poorly, and you waste a great opportunity to give your audience a better idea of who you are as a brand.
Some people think brand voice is a luxury for once they are more established, but the truth is, you are consolidating a brand voice with each piece of content you put out into the world.
How to differentiate yourself
Think about a recent social media post or blog you created. If you search for the keyword you were writing about, you’ll find lots of your competitors have talked about this issue. But they will have taken a different slant. They have certain values that are important to them, they do business a certain way, and the why of their business model is different from yours. Their voice is an extension of their values and how they feel about that topic. And likewise, whether you know it or not, your voice and how you talk about that topic is an extension of your values and viewpoints. If you want to know more about brand values, check out my most recent blog post.
How brand archetypes shape your voice
If a certain brand is a rebel in their industry, then how they talk about a topic will be different than those who follow the crowd. They will want to shake it up, their tone might be angry, they might question how your industry currently works. Likewise, someone who doesn’t have a strong brand voice will fit in with all the other content around them, saying generic platitudes, and their content will give you that dissatisfied feeling at the end, like you learned nothing. By staying in the shadows, not having anything controversial to say, but also not having a particular slant, is giving a lot of cues to your audience too. And mostly, those cues tell people that you are dull, you hold the line, and that you can do the bare minimum in your industry.
When you can’t find the right clients
If you are putting out content on issues that are dear to your heart but not finding that connection with clients, or have discovery calls that don’t lead to sales, it is possible that your voice is not strong enough in content, you are not telling potential clients who you really are and how you work. I always suggest coming back to the internal why at this point, not going out and looking at what others are doing, as is often recommended. Why do you do what you do, who are you serving, what change do you want to make in the world, and why? If you’ve worked as an employee in the past, then your story of why you moved out to start your own business is often important.
Tell your story – or don’t
You don’t need to tell people how you ended up doing what you do now and the story of moving from an employee to a business owner. If this doesn’t feel comfortable to you – don’t tell it! Sometimes a full explanation of where you are now and why you work the way you do is enough. But sometimes people want to feel connected to that past, and if your business is new, then explaining your background can add to your credibility, even if it isn’t in the same field. For example, I am an ex-attorney. I often talk to potential clients who have been burned by freelance writers who have taken their money and then not finished the job. Explaining my background and that it is imperative to me to do everything I can to satisfy a client (as I did as an attorney) can often assuage that fear.
At the end of the day, brand voice comes down to confidently being yourself, no matter the situation or potential client involved. Why you’re doing what you’re doing, how you do it, and why you came into this position can all help a potential client understand who you are and how you work – and whether to take a risk on you.