As small business owners, we naturally bring a unique vibe to our businesses – just by being ourselves. If you’re struggling to define your brand voice, I suggest leaning into everything that makes you YOU. Your values, the way you speak, even the parts of you that you think are uninteresting. This is what people are going to connect with. Ultimately, this is what is going to let you feel comfortable enough with your brand voice to step up and use it!
OK, OK… But how do you go about doing that?
Here are 3 tips to get you started.
1. Tune into your natural speaking voice
Let your brand voice reflect the way you speak in everyday conversation. You bring mannerisms, colloquialisms, rhythms and energies to your speaking voice that are completely individual to you. If you can tune into these and translate them into your written content, you’ll have a brand voice that is naturally distinctive and feels true to you.
This should also help with any feelings of ickiness that you feel about marketing yourself, because you can write from the heart rather than feeling like you’re wearing a facade.
A golden rule that I urge you to follow is:
If you wouldn’t feel comfortable saying it to someone out loud, don’t say it in your content.
Here are a couple of techniques I use to tune into how I speak:
Imagine you are talking to a friend or client
Whenever I’m writing for my brand, I find it really helpful to picture a friend or dream client and imagine that I’m speaking to them. It may feel a bit daft, but it helps me stay true to what I would actually say (and how I would say it) in real life. It also keeps things conversational, which all copy should be.
Record yourself speaking out loud
Another trick is to speak out loud and record yourself, and then transcribe the recording into written copy – without editing out any of the mannerisms or words that you use. This lets you see your natural speaking voice in writing, which is a helpful starting point for your brand voice.
(When I am writing copy for clients, we always do our briefings on the phone for this reason. It lets me hear their natural speaking voice so that I can work it into their copy.)
2. Let go of what other brands sound like
When you sit down to write, resist the temptation to look at other brands’ websites or social media posts. All this does is fill your head with other people’s voices, making it harder to hear your own. Inspiration is good, but when you’re trying to tune in and listen to your own voice, it’s best to block out the noise. You also really don’t want comparisonitis to kick in right now!
My best tips for ‘tuning it’ are:
1. Log out of social media. I set complicated passwords so that I have to get up and find them before I can log back in again.
2. Turn off the computer screen. It’s usually easier to focus on pen and paper.
3. Meditate or sit quietly for a few moments before you start writing. I find that creating a relaxed, distraction-free and comparison-free environment helps me settle in and write from a place that feels truthful.
3. Pick 3-5 personality words
Personality words can be super helpful when you’re trying to create definition around your brand voice. These are basically adjectives that describe the personality traits of your brand, and how you want your brand to be seen.
For example, the personality words I picked for my business are: quiet, generous, knowledgeable, capable and creative.
PRO TIP: If you get stuck choosing brand words for yourself, ask friends or fellow business owners how they would describe you. A friend once described my brand vibe as ‘sincere, caring, sensitive, intuitive and conscious’. As well as being lovely to hear, this reassured me that I was using a brand voice that felt authentic to the people around me.
If you need inspiration, see Copywrite Matters’ mega list of personality words. This is what I used to come up with mine. (But feel free to come up with your own if these don’t feel right.)
I hope these tips help you define a brand voice that feels true to you. Remember, the more you relax into the process and trust your intuition, the brighter your voice will shine.
FOR MORE TIPS: See my blog on finding your brand voice when you are quiet or introverted.