Updated: Jan 24
So, you started a business, or at least you're thinking about starting one. Congratulations!
The business world can be exciting and terrifying at the same time, especially for start-up businesses. There are lots of decisions to make and a lot of pressure riding on them.
One of the big decisions you need to make early on is defining your brand. Your brand is what will help you stand apart from your competitors. It makes your business unique, and you must stay consistent with it (unless you decide to change it later).
But a brand isn't just composed of obvious visual elements, such as a logo, colours, or website design. Written content is also a key component, which includes blog posts, email newsletters, social posts, and other copywriting. All your written content should be written in a consistent and unique style called your brand voice.
In this post, I will cover:
By the end of this article, you should have a clearer understanding of how your written content feeds into your brand and have the tools necessary to develop your unique style.
What is a brand voice, and why does it matter?
When you think of a brand, you probably think of the visual content associated with a company, such as a logo, colour scheme, and graphics.
But that's just the visual aspect of your brand. Investopedia defines a brand as a marketing tool that "helps people identify" the business, product, or person involved. The most obvious brand tools are the logo and font of a business, but written content is also used as an identifying marker - known as a brand voice.
A brand voice is commonly described as the "personality" of a business. It is the way a business presents itself through its written content, such as:
Mission and vision statements
Slogans and catchphrases
Blog posts and other long-form content
Social media posts and email campaigns
A unique brand voice is what ties all the examples above together. The key takeaway here is consistency. A brand will always stay consistent unless the brand is revamped and redesigned.
Because most startups focus on the visual aspects of their brand (i.e. logos), they often neglect their written content. A brand voice is just as vital to marketing as any other form of branding.
So why does it matter? For any brand, it is vital to stand out from your competitors. Having a logo eerily similar to another business logo (especially if that company is at the top of the market), is a risky strategy. And not just from the risk of being sued for violating copyrighted or trademarked material.
Your brand needs to be unique, and this includes your written content. A good example of a unique brand voice is Innocent, a popular drinks company. If you read their "a bit about us page", you can see their writing has a witty, almost childlike style. It's easily accessible to readers and engagingly tells its story.
This voice is shared across all their content platforms, especially on social media. Their Twitter page, for example, retains their witty style in their tweets and bio.
So, a brand voice needs to be:
But how do you find your brand voice? Keep scrolling to read my 5 tips for mastering your unique style
How to find your brand voice in 5 steps
1. Choose a generic writing style
All forms of writing will fit into one of these four generic writing styles:
Descriptive: writing that describes something to create an image in the reader’s mind.
Expository: writing that explains a topic, often in non-fiction books and blog posts.
Narrative: writing that tells a story with narrative techniques such as character, plot, and literary devices.
Persuasive: writing that influences and persuades people to take action or change their viewpoint. Most web copy aims to be persuasive.
You should use these as a starting point to define your unique style.
Are you writing an eBook? A blog post? An email campaign? A post for social media?
Each of the examples above fits into one or two generic writing styles. For example, a blog post will use descriptive writing with a hint of narrative flair, whereas an email campaign may only use persuasive.
Identifying the generic writing style of your content seems simple, but it is a vital step to figuring out your unique style.
2. Read different writing styles
Draw up a list of content you haven't read, whether it's blog niches or content from other businesses, and read them. From this, you'll quickly figure out what styles you like and dislike. The more diverse you read, the more this will inform your taste.
It's also a good idea to read what your top competitors are writing, not just for their content, but to understand their brand voice too. That way, you can easily identify a unique style that stands apart from them.
3. Experiment with writing techniques
This follows in line with step two. As you read more content from a range of businesses and writers, you'll start to pick up on the way they write. For example, the tenses they use, and how they construct their sentences.
Like gardeners, writers use tools to develop their writing style. It's part of your job as a writer or content creator to experiment and learn new techniques. Here's a list of tools to think about:
Tense (e.g. the basic present, past and future)
Point of view (i.e. first, second, or third)
Sentence structure and length
Descriptive tools (e.g. similes and metaphors)
Active vs passive voice
Jargon and colloquialism
As you read more, you will pick up some of these techniques - so try them out! Find what works for you, and run with it.
4. Add your personality
The fourth step to finding your brand voice is to do some soul-searching. Good writers are honest with themselves. So, ask yourself: who are you? Are you funny? Formal? Empathetic? Driven?
Let yourself shine through your writing, and it will make your style unique.
5. Create a writing routine
The final step to developing your brand voice is to create a regular writing routine. A routine is vital for you to practise and improve your writing. Through this, it will help your brand voice to grow and develop.
Of course, when working for or running a business, it is difficult to find time outside of it. But if you consider your writing and brand voice to be part of your work or business, then it makes it much easier to set aside time to practise your writing.
Practising doesn't have to be a waste of effort either. The best way to create a regular writing routine is to start a blog for your business. Posting an article once a week or every couple of weeks will allow you to hone your brand voice while also creating content that will attract readers, leads, and eventually customers.
So, if you haven't already, consider starting a blog and posting regularly to practise your written content and brand voice.
The Key Takeaways
So that was a guide to brand voice and how you can develop your unique style. A brand voice is an integral part of your overall brand, as it helps create a unique business identity that people can recognise.
The two most important aspects of your brand voice are it's:
When developing your writing style, I recommend the following five steps:
Choose a generic writing style
Read different writing styles
Experiment with writing techniques
Add your personality
Create a writing routine by writing a blog
These steps are only meant as guidance for you. By all means, explore and develop your writing style in whatever way works for you!