Written by Copycat Staff
October 15th, 2021
Written by Copycat Staff
At Copycat Copywriters, our company headquarters are currently crowded with a clowder of cuddly kittens—six, to be exact.
What’s a clowder? It’s a group of cats. And while we can’t confirm that cohabitation with kitties concretely affects the quality of the copy we craft, all things cat are obviously part of our brand.
We don’t begin our client’s articles with alliterative tales or mentions of tails, but these things are aligned with our specific brand voice, which is, simply put, cute.
So, how do you figure out the voice of the brand you’re writing for? How do you capture it, and where do you highlight it? This month, we’ll be diving into the art of voice.
Voice is the way a particular brand would talk if they were a person. It’s the tone they strike with customers to convey their personality, values, and most of all, the kind of relationship they want to build.
Some companies have extensive brand guidelines describing exactly how they like to talk to customers. This can sometimes include data points like:
The range of potential brand personalities is somewhat more limited than that in your actual social circle—companies aren’t typically introverts—but it can run the gamut from whimsical to aggressive to serious and beyond.
In some cases, you’re given clear brand guidelines that outline exactly who your brand is and how they want to speak to customers—sometimes including catch phrases, favorite adjectives, and even specific guidelines on punctuation.
In others, it’s up to you to figure out the brand’s voice. For starters, you can check out the following resources:
For bonus points, you could even subscribe to their email newsletter or check out their YouTube content. As you look over their recent assets, make mental notes about the brand persona. Keep in mind that you don’t have to like the brand personality; you just have to understand it.
Once you’ve identified the brand’s voice, the next step is figuring out how to capture it in your article.
So you’ve figured out that you’re writing for a recycled cotton underwear brand that aims to be sexy, edgy, and irreverent—all while writing an SEO blog post on the thrilling topic of “How Long Does Polyester Take to Decompose.”
If you’re not sure where to start, try implementing voice at specific parts of the writing process.
Before you start researching, imagine where the brand’s voice and the article topic might intersect. Start with a blank piece of paper (or a blank document) and write down potential points of intersection.
At this stage, don’t worry about staying completely in the brand voice—feel free to come up with options that seem too conservative or too over-the-top. You won’t know when to rein it or amp it up until you’ve seen the full spectrum of vocal possibilities.
Introductions should always be highly relevant to the article topic, but they’re also a great place to introduce a narrative scenario.
This often entails imagining why the reader googled the subject in the article title, and at first, very basic scenarios might come to mind for a topic like the above:
Expand on these basic ideas to pose a question or create an anecdote spoken from the brand’s point of view.
Headings should tell a coherent story, serving as a quick and easy-to-skim outline of the article.
But that doesn’t mean they have to be boring.
As you outline and write, consider where to add extra value to the headings.
For example, a simple headline like “Downsides of Polyester” can easily become “DTMF: Why You Deserve a Wardrobe Refresh.”
If you’ve introduced a narrative scenario in the introduction, it should be easy to loop back to it in the conclusion to tell a complete story (again, in the same voice).
Once you’ve gotten into character in your introduction, headings, and conclusions, it’s easy to take off running (and writing) in your brand’s voice.
Wondering if it’s possible to go too far with voice?
The short answer is yes.
The first purpose of an article is always to provide information that’s highly relevant to the topic outlined in the title and meta description. In some cases, voice can support this mission. In others, it distracts and detracts.
Use the following rules of thumb:
At Copycat, we have our own distinct ethos and personality. To that end, we challenge any other copywriting collective to match our level of cute (again, just look at these cats).
But we also know that the trick to voice is listening with a finely tuned ear so that we can craft pitch-perfect articles that match a brand’s voice.
Want to learn more strategies to help expand your own range? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe to our newsletter to get more tips and tricks of the trade.