Any full-service content marketing agency worth its salt pays great attention to the details. In this business, the subtleties matter, and at Coquí Content Marketing one aspect of the creative process we never overlook is the importance of tone.
Attitude and dialogue style always make an impression on readers. This is why websites and social media sites must find the proper tone of voice if they expect to succeed in their communicative missions. To persuade, written language must be persuasive, and establishing an appropriate tone helps convince readers that what you’re saying is meaningful, authoritative and focused on their best interests. Language is loaded with built-in emotional impact, and the way words are chosen and combined determines a major part of the message they convey.
Blogs are effective website additions because of their potential to inform, entertain and inspire. They may attempt to sell a product, service or idea directly; or they may be used as part of a broader marketing strategy, where interesting or newsworthy content is shared with readers to prove the author shares their concerns and their perspectives on the world. Tone is a key aspect of a blog’s appeal, and if tone is neglected, potentially blockbuster blog posts may be rendered null and void.
A Trip to the “Principles” Office
When you hire full-service content marketing experts to script your blogs, important “principles of tone” will—or should—steer their creative choices. And before you hire any company or individual for this task, you should confirm ahead of time that he or she will indeed be observing these guidelines (or at least some form of them). Remember—what he or she writes will define your voice, and you have to make sure he or she is taking that responsibility seriously.
Without further ado, here are a few of the guiding principles our writers rely on when composing blog posts for clients’ websites:
An Authoritative Voice Is Convincing … Arrogance, Not so Much
Brief, brisk, straightforward and un-self-congratulatory prose that relies on real data backed by solid research, with personal opinion and interpretation relegated to the background, is the ideal in most circumstances, for both sales pitches and general, informational articles.
Know-it-alls don’t impress anyone. If even the slightest bit of arrogance or over-confidence sneaks into a blog post, a good portion of the audience will tune the message out and dismiss the author as a self-promoter. The blog posts that appear on your site should intrigue readers by giving them something to think about and consider, not attempt to draw them into a cult of authority.
Don’t Give the Reader a Chance to Pigeonhole or Define You With Provocative Adjectives
After reading a blog post on your website, how will your audience categorize the content? Will they use adjectives like angry, self-righteous, sarcastic, prickly, grouchy, grumpy, confrontational, dismissive, opinionated, judgmental, proud, haughty, incredulous or outraged? If so, you have a problem, because this is not the kind of ground you want to occupy.
There are plenty of successful, popular blogs out there that adopt one or more of these tones on occasion—or even all the time. But those blogs are preaching to the converted, speaking to an audience of fellow-believers who’ve already jumped on the bandwagon. You, on the other hand, are trying to persuade the uninitiated to join your cause or buy your product. You can’t afford to offend or irritate anyone—and if your message is helpful and important, you shouldn’t need to.
Go Easy With the Irreverence
The irreverent voice is extremely common these days. It’s everywhere you look on the Internet, and it’s the attitude that all the cool kids are adopting.
But there are reasons to proceed cautiously here. Irreverence has been overdone, to the point it’s become a cliché. Besides being unamused, some of your readers might find the wisecracks and the sly references jarring or inappropriate if they’re repeated over and over. They might peg you as the type who doesn’t take anything seriously—and they may wonder why they should take you seriously.
Up to a point, humor is appreciated by everyone. But unless you’re running a comedy site, smaller doses are probably the smartest choice.
You need to show respect not just for your audience, but also for your competitors, your opponents and those with viewpoints or perspectives that diverge from your own. Prospective customers/converts/supporters/partners are by definition on the fence, and if you are charitable and respectful, the chances of them jumping off onto your side will increase exponentially.
A positive approach that sells your products, services and ideas based on their virtues and merits will impress the impressionable. Acolytes might applaud you regardless of what you do. But if you caricature or belittle rivals, other belief systems or alternative pathways to success/happiness/achievement, you’ll suppress your growth potential by annoying those who expect something better.
Keep it Open-Ended and Avoid the Hard Sell or Definitive Conclusions
People reading the blog posts on your site will appreciate being informed. But in the end, they will want to make up their own minds.
Overselling, pushiness or presenting the truth as self-evident will only insult and alienate the people you’re trying to recruit. If you present your information, ideas, arguments or sales pitches with restraint and a certain amount of humility, your readers won’t feel pressured and will be more inclined to give you a fair hearing. They will see you as an ally in the search for health, happiness and truth, and not as a self-aggrandizer in love with the sound of your own voice.
Warmth Is Always a Winner
Your blog voice should be friendly, modest, approachable, compassionate, non-judgmental and reader-centered. Some areas on your website should be strictly business, but the content you publish in blog form should radiate a sense of warmth, sincerity and shared purpose. You are here to help your clients, not just profit from them, and if they know you see them as human beings and not just as dollar signs, your chances of finding success will be boosted dramatically.
Build it and They Will Come: Blog It With Gusto and They Will Stay
While the requirements of specific clients obviously vary, these are some of the important rules of composition Coquí Content Marketing blog writers always try to follow. As a standing rule, we do our best to provide you with content that is intelligent, informed and logical, yet still capable of eliciting excitement and enthusiasm.
As we write, the tones we choose are carefully customized to fit the specific needs of our clients. But in every instance our ultimate goal remains the same: to provide each of our customers with a blog voice that is good-natured, persuasive, authoritative and just flat-out fun to read.