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The secret to creating outstanding content – Expert interview on creating brand voice

Let’s start today with a question: if you’re reading two equally good quality content pieces on a topic, which one do you think will stick with you more?

The secret to creating outstanding content - Expert interview on creating brand voice

The one that’s written using a unique brand voice.

Let me give you an example. The productivity space is pretty crowded. Meaning: a piece on creating achievable to-do lists can quickly go unnoticed.

However, the one thing that can make it extraordinary (plus make all the advice memorable) is when it’s written in your unique brand voice (look at Trello’s blog content, for instance — it stands out a lot due to its brand voice).
Don’t have a brand voice yet? Or it needs a refresher? Don’t worry, I got you. Rather, Voicebox’s Nick Parker’s got you lol.

He’s our expert for the week. And as usual, I asked him three questions:

  • A mistake that Nick’s made when creating brand voices for companies he works with.
  • An actionable tip to get you one step closer to creating a unique brand voice.
  • And, a secret tip to refining your brand voice guidelines.

On we go.

Learn from Nick’s mistake

Treating voice as strategy documents instead of creating practical guidelines.

Nick shares, “When I first started working with brands and tone of voice, I just did what everyone else did. And what everyone else did was to treat voice guidelines like they were strategy documents.

Lots of grand-sounding ‘principles’ (‘we’re human… we’re honest…’ blah blah.) Those things might be true, but they’re not practically useful.”

Instead:

“You need to start from the point that your voice guidelines are a practical handbook to help writers do their day job.”

Do this today

“Start collecting real samples of when your writing is going wrong, and when you’re getting it right, then you can look for themes in both.”

Nick explains:

“The seeds of what’s true, interesting, and unique about a brand’s voice are almost always there already. It’s just that nobody has spotted them, or they need amplifying. (And the stuff that’s going wrong? It’s often for cultural reasons within an organization.)”

The secret tip to refining your brand voice guidelines

Update your tone and voice guidelines with examples that reflect your brand personality.

“A brand’s voice lives in the writing people do, and the writers who do it. Make sure those people are meeting and talking and sharing great work regularly,” says Nick.

“Aim to reach a point where the writing you’re doing and sharing on a regular basis feel ‘more us’ than those first examples you created for the guidelines. (Then update your guidelines.)”

Takeaways

  • Create practical guidelines — don’t just lay out tone and style principles.
  • Find themes in writing that’s done right and writing that goes wrong.
  • Bring your people’s voices together to create examples for your guidelines.
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