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How do you shape and define your brand voice? And where does storytelling fit into your content marketing strategy? We’ll explore how you can harness your brand voice to engage with your audience and attract the customers you want!
In today’s fast-paced, overly-automated and digitally-driven society, a human touch is often hard to come by. In this modern landscape, brands can no longer afford to be faceless entities.
To survive, businesses need to connect with audiences, pull at their heartstrings and engage with them on a much deeper level than we’ve ever seen before.
Enter, brand storytelling.
Storytelling can not only make your brand more favourable in your audience’s eyes, it can also be up to 22 times more memorable than facts.
Intrigued by the storyline so far? Let’s take a look at how you can harness your unique brand voice and incorporate storytelling into your content marketing strategy so that you can stand out in a crowded market.
What is a brand voice and why is it important?
We all have a brand voice. Whether it’s carefully crafted and defined, or used organically throughout a business’s communications.
It’s more than just a tone. It embodies a brand’s personality and gives you an insight to the people behind the brand.
What you say — your message, mission and values — all help define your brand.
But it’s how you deliver those messages that defines your brand voice:
- The exact words you use
- Your tone
- The mediums you use
- Your visuals and designs
- The stories you tell and how these appeal to your customers
Why is brand voice important?
Words and language have the power to persuade.
So it makes sense to look at how we’re perceived by others through our content and communications.
For example, if you’re trying to show that you’re trustworthy and professional in your field, it won’t come across this way if your website content is old, uninspiring and written in a tone that doesn’t spark a prospect's interest.
Everything you say, and the way you say it, is linked to your brand’s image.
Channelling your voice will help you engage with your customers. If you’re on their level — using the right tone, language and platforms — you can more easily build a rapport and start a conversation.
Most importantly, a consistent and strong voice will help you win trust from customers. It offers a firm foundation for attracting new leads into your business.
If you don’t harness your voice, you could leave the door open for your competitors to excel in this area and take a greater share of the market.
The role of content and storytelling in your marketing strategy
If you’re wondering what the hype is with storytelling or confused as to exactly how you can incorporate this into your content, you’re not alone!
Not every business owner is a natural storyteller, but they don’t need to be — they just need to understand the importance.
So why use storytelling?
Every business has stories to tell.
Whether it’s about you, your mission, your customers, your employees or the company cat!
It’s a different and perhaps more impactful way to bring your brand and products to life, in a memorable and relatable way.
A good story will hook you in with an opening sentence or an intriguing visual. It will inspire interest or excite the imagination. And evoke feelings with descriptive words and compelling accounts of people and events.
Big brands love using stories. Think of Apple's 1984 or how Dove promotes body confidence in women.
They use real-life, everyday customer stories to promote their brand values and benefits.
Another example is the About Us or Our Story page of a website.
- There’s a protagonist – that's your customer
- A struggle - your customer has been looking for an easy way to save a little money each month
- The guide who steps in - your app helps the protagonist organise their daily finances and save a small percentage each week
- A happy ending - if the protagonist takes what the guides offer, then their problem will be solved!
All businesses can benefit from telling stories.
The aim is to focus on an individual’s journey with a struggle or problem. Evoking emotions such as frustration, relief, dismay or joy. Details are important: the plot, an element of surprise, a revelation and almost certainly a satisfying ending.
Your website, social media posts, podcasts, blogs, newsletters, community work, your similar personal struggle — these all offer potential avenues to use your voice and tell stories.
Remember your target audience.
Who are you talking to? What are your customer’s values? What problems do they have? What platforms do they use?
But most importantly, what stories will your customers relate to?
How to find your business’s voice to create the baseline of your content marketing strategy
Consistency is key when using and defining your voice.
It will strengthen your brand and help secure high value customers and leads.
So, let’s look at how you can shape your voice to underpin all of your business’s communications.
1. Revisit your business plan
It’s easy to forget your original goals when running a business. Remind yourself why you went into business in the first place! Go over your marketing strategy, who your target customers are and how you plan to make an impact.
Check out your competitors. It’s worth looking at their language to see how they engage with customers. Ask yourself what you can adopt from their approach and look at how you can use your voice to differentiate yourself.
2. Customer research
Customer research is always a worthy pursuit. Instead of trying to figure out what you think customers want to hear… It will benefit you to go out into the field and talk to your customers to decipher what they perceive as a strong brand and tone of voice for your business.
If you can afford an external company to carry out research, this could be a smart move. If not, talking directly to your loyal customers, your colleagues, even trusted friends could provide valuable insight into how you come across to your audience, what they admire and what can be improved.
3. Create customer personas
Customer personas really help pin down your target audience. They outline specific details such as age, profession, earnings, what’s important to them and what problems they’re trying to solve.
You’ll gain a better understanding of what language they use, the platforms they’re using and the conversations they’re having. This will help you tailor your voice to better engage with your audience.
4. Produce a copywriting style guide
A copywriting style guide is an in-depth document that details a set of ground rules for language use, its delivery, style and tone.
It’s a vital document to help keep your brand voice consistent throughout all of your communications and customer platforms. For yourself, your employees and anyone who is talking on behalf of your business.
5. Apply your new voice guidelines
It may be that you only need to make a few tweaks here and there, but make sure you go through all of your online and print content to ensure your voice is consistent across the business. And talk through your guidelines with anyone who is creating content or talking with your customers.
And finally… Don’t be afraid to be different! Use your voice to strengthen bonds with customers and find new avenues and opportunities to attract new leads.
Here at Scribly, we work closely with our clients to create bespoke and tailored content — the type that truly makes an impact and resonates with customers. Let's plan your brand story together.