Every business has a brand, whether that brand is refined and carefully curated or disjointed and confusing. When you communicate with your audience, you're using your brand voice to engage them and earn their trust; however, a brand voice doesn't just appear. You need to define your company's brand voice and how it should make your target market feel: Confident and refreshed? Fun and playful? Serious and focused?
Before you develop your brand voice, you should first define your business values and how it will play into your tone. For example, if one of your values is transparency, your content marketing will need to reflect that. When you establish core values, it bleeds into everything you write, speak on, and educate—your business revolves around them, so it makes sense that your voice should follow suit.
If you have different businesses, they will naturally have distinct brand voices because each company has different goals. Often, they have different teams as well. Remember what the end game of a business is and align that with your voice.
For example, I run She Creates Business, a podcast, and online marketing shop for creative entrepreneurs. That brand is me—I'm comfortable infusing my own personal voice into its content marketing. On the other hand, I’m also the co-owner of a venue, Vista View Events, which is independent of my personality (and those of my team) because it's not intended to be wrapped up in any one individual. If you are the proverbial 'sun' in your business' brand, it can't live without you, which is something to be mindful of for the future if you want to add on team members or change your role in the company.
Once you have your voice nailed down, you need to make sure that it translates into your written copy, imagery, and other avenues of content marketing. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind while developing content that is both effective and on-brand.
Think micro vs. macro stories
Your brand can (and, in most cases, should) have a few storylines to appeal to a large audience and help them relate to your business. A great way to look at this is by determining your micro and macro stories. This is a strategy I learned from Angie Lee and her podcast The Angie Lee Show. For example, my macro-story on the podcast is that I started the show to meet other women in the industry because I was feeling alone in entrepreneurship and wanted to connect and make friends.
Alternately, our venue’s micro story is that we built it on our family’s private ranch that has been in our family for over 70 years. We’re passionate about legacy and life’s big moments which is why weddings are such a perfect fit for us. This isn't quite as intimate as my macro-story, but it captures the heart of our venue. Consider what your micro and macro stories will be, and you'll soon find a careful balance between them in your content marketing.
Create a brand profile
A brand profile is a document that you create to share all of the typical branding items we all think of like your logo, colors, and design features. But it’s so much more than that. Your brand profile should encapsulate your company's brand and voice, so it becomes instrumental as your team grows. It will dictate how others should showcase your business on its website, social media, in print, and in-person, leaving nothing to question.
Copy and paste brand messaging, social media captions, hashtags, and other examples of content that capture the voice you use in communications. Include press mentions where you feel your brand is portrayed in a great way. Save videos where you think you’ve nailed down the content you want to communicate.
It’s not meant to be set in stone; instead, it should be a living document that shifts and changes as you and your micro/macro stories grow and transform. As you take notes on milestones in your business, your brand profile should be adjusted and tweaked as needed.
Revisit social media strategy
It’s important to remember that you can still be the marketer of your business, even if your company’s brand isn’t 100% about you. You just need to have a plan in place to transition for others to come in and speak on your brand’s behalf. For example, using terms like ‘we’ and ‘us’ instead of ‘I’ and ‘me’ goes a long way in extracting yourself from the greater brand voice.
Let others take over the reins, too. Bring in team members for social media introductions and grant access to those who confidently embrace the brand voice. Not only does this take the weight off of you as an individual, but it also helps to connect your audience with the rest of your team which showcases your business as the group effort that it is.
In many cases, it is important to separate yourself from a company’s brand; however, that’s not to say that you can’t show your face or speak to your audience candidly. You can still be a representative of the business without owning the brand, which allows the rest of your team to get a share of the credit and ensures your business is primed for growth.