When it comes to tone of voice, most people – myself included – tend to focus on mechanics like:
- Word choice
- Language devices
And so on.
But there’s another key component of tone of voice that’s rarely discussed, but is just as important:
Inherently, tone of voice is – at least in some ways – a reflection of you.
Your personality. And your writing style.
When I first started out as a copywriter, I thought I had to completely erase my own identity in order to write successfully for specific brands.
This was particularly true whenever I had to work on male-focused brands, or brands that just didn’t quite “fit” with me for one reason or another.
In these instances, everything I wrote felt inauthentic (at least to me).
Deep down, I always felt like some “advertising bro” – who embodied the personality of the brand – could easily come in, rip my work to shreds, and write something 10x better in about 5 minutes.
And if I’m being honest, that’s probably true!
It wasn’t because I hadn’t done my research or put in the hours. And it wasn’t because I was a crappy copywriter.
It was because I wasn’t being true to my authentic writing voice and style.
At that time, I was so busy trying to capture the various tones and styles of my clients that I hadn’t taken the time to develop my own.
When I went freelance in 2015 and started blogging regularly, that’s when my unique style and tone started to shine through and develop.
And once that happened, clients started coming to me BECAUSE of my unique style and tone. They liked the way I wrote and wanted their copy to feel similar.
Of course, I often make adjustments to accommodate variations within brand personality and tone – but these days, the fundamental essence of my style is always there, lurking beneath or overtly noticeable.
Being my authentic self as a copywriter not only makes my job more fulfilling, it helps me produce more effective work.
Because I’m no longer consumed with trying to write in a way that feels forced or unnatural, I can focus on the things that actually matter, like:
- Writing clear and effective copy – vs copy that feels inauthentic or cringey
- Writing with empathy and understanding for the target audience – vs agonizing over whether or not it perfectly matches the brand guidelines
- Building effective user experiences that support my clients goals and the goals of their visitors – vs wasting time trying to seem “cool” or “clever”
My writing style isn’t right for every brand – but that’s kind of the point.
I once thought being a successful copywriter meant being able to quickly and seamlessly mimic every tone of voice in existence – and if I couldn’t, I was a complete and total failure.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Every writer – from authors and screenwriters to journalists and musicians – has a specific style, tone, and perspective.
And that’s why we love them.
We read their books, watch their shows/movies, and listen to their music because it resonates with us in some way.
And that’s exactly what copywriters – or anyone writing copy – should keep in mind when it comes to tone of voice.
Tone of voice is not about pretending you’re someone else.
It’s about balancing who you are (your unique style and voice) with the needs of the business so you can produce something that’s both authentic and effective.
And the best way to get there is by embracing who you are, developing your unique style, and finding your voice.
What’s YOUR unique tone of voice?
Clients and subscribers have described my style / tone of voice as:
- Down to earth
- Easy to understand
How would you describe yours?
As always, thank you for reading. If you found this article helpful, feel free to share it with a friend or colleague.