Do you know there are 600 million blogs on the Internet?
7.5 million blog posts are published every day.
500 hours of video is uploaded on YouTube every minute.
With so many platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Medium, hundreds of terabytes of data are being injected into the Internet every minute.
At various levels, all these platforms have their highly evolved algorithms to help you find the content that you’re looking for (for example Google or YouTube), still, with every search bringing up hundreds of thousands of results, you need to be able to stand out for people to take note of you.
There is too much noise on the Internet.
What is voice and what is noise?
Your car engine gives out noise.
Your fan gives out noise.
The droning sound of a machine running nearby is noise.
When you sit in a busy restaurant or café, lots of people are talking at the same time; unless someone is sitting at your table, you cannot make out who is saying what.
Therefore, noise is a sound that you can hear but it does not contain words.
Voice is normally referred to as the sound that comes from human mouth.
Voice contains words and sentences.
It is distinguishable.
It contains familiar intonations and vocal ups and downs.
Voice can be a speech or even a song.
You should be able to understand what is being conveyed for it to be voice.
You don’t say, “She is an influential noise in the profession.”
You say, “She is an influential voice in the profession.”
The biggest difference between noise and voice is that you cannot make sense of noise (except for basic things like what is the noise like and where it might be coming from) but you can make sense of voice.
Your friend has a voice. Your colleague has a voice. Your child has a voice.
You understand the meaning of voice.
The Internet is full of noise though.
Not everything is meaningless, but most of it is.
The Internet is like a busy café.
With so much content out there, it becomes an indecipherable chatter.
If you become a part of the usual chatter, your message too turns into noise.
Content writing helps you turn your noise into voice
Your content writing helps you make an impact so that your audience pays attention to your message.
Quality content writing services can help you elevate your brand voice to a level that it rises above the noise and becomes distinguishable.
Why is it important to be distinguishable?
If there is nothing to distinguish you from your competitors, how do you expect people to not just find you but also decide to buy your product or subscribe to your service?
One needs to identify a business to be able to buy something from it.
Your prospective customers and clients should be able to identify your business to single you out and prefer you over other businesses.
You see, the Internet is not your normal marketplace.
There are practically unlimited choices for your customers and clients.
They can decide to go to any website.
It’s all a matter of doing a search on Google or coming across a website’s name on one of the social media websites.
People can also purchase from mobile apps these days.
Hence, you need to stand out.
This can be achieved with quality content writing with a personal touch.
People should be able to identify you for your content.
It can be your unique writing style.
It can be the unencumbered quality that you provide.
It can be your authority over a subject.
Two things are very important:
- A strong sense of identity and uniqueness.
- Uncompromising relevance.
What are the benefits of developing your own content writing voice?
The basic purpose is to sound unique.
The words, the expressions, even the slight liberties that you take with grammar and spelling, make you stand out.
Your copywriting voice helps you reinforce your first impression that you make on your customers and clients.
It helps you make an emotional connection with your readers.
You establish a personality for your brand and you stand out from the crowd.
Developing your voice gives you the following benefits:
- Your business is memorable: It is essential for every business to make a memorable impression. People are more likely to remember you if they can recognize your writing voice.
- It’s easier to identify you: This is very important for highlighting your brand. People should be able to differentiate you from your competitors. They should clearly know what your values are, what you stand for and what your opinions are.
- You build trust: Your customers and clients trust you more if they become familiar with your voice and relate your presence with the values and opinions they hold dear.
Some good examples of good brand voice through content writing
Your content writing voice or your brand voice is a consistent way of communicating your message to your audience.
Language is important. Words are important. They can shape the way people think of your brand.
Many brands carefully craft messages using their own writing style and choice of words. I’m mentioning some of them below:
It’s an Indian company selling shaving and grooming products for men and women (and people in between).
I have been buying razors and shaving foam from them ever since they actively started promoting in India.
In all their promotions they have a very casual, conversational language.
It’s as if they’re talking to you.
They don’t sound like a company or an organization.
Even when they are promoting their products, they are recommending them in such a manner that it is in your best interest to buy them.
Their messaging is unique to them.
They are the perfect example of having a consistent voice when talking to target customers.
They never sound salesy.
Their conversational style made me switch from Gillette to LetsShave, maybe within 10 minutes.
Starbucks takes its content voice so seriously that it has a special guidelines section for the company’s brand voice.
The company insists that its messaging is functional and expressive.
Its copywriters anticipate the audience needs and then create an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
The company takes strong political stands without hurting someone and it uses expressive copy for this.
They also believe in telling “passionate coffee stories”.
I’ve used the MailChimp service on and off, but I have always found their branding voice quite fascinating.
In the beginning they used to have a chimp cartoon on its home page with various funny captions (due to them being MailChimp).
These days they mostly showcase their customers who have used the email marketing service to create their businesses.
MailChimp has a separate section on “voice and tone” where they explain how empowering content can be written by being aware of one’s voice and tone.
They use a conversational voice to convey their messages.
They use plain language.
They also copiously use humor.
Content writing tips to turn your noise into voice
“It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.”
If you are a seasoned reader of literature, you can identify writing styles of Hemingway, Charles Dickens, or a famous copywriter like David Ogilvy.
There is a certain texture.
There is a distinguishable tone.
There is a certain rhythm in words and sentences.
Read a few paragraphs and you can recognize the voice of your favorite writer.
Can you develop a similar writing style that is unique?
Yes, you can.
It is not as difficult as it may seem.
Also, whether you are writing content for your own website or for your client, it is important to sound unique to stand out.
If you just sound like the others, your voice becomes the usual chatter and then why should people pay attention to you?
Just like you’re sitting in a restaurant, what the others are talking about becomes “white noise”.
You either need to raise your voice, or you need to say something people really need to pay attention to.
Here are a few things you can do to change your noise into voice when writing content.
Develop a strong opinion
Have you noticed, when you have a strong opinion, the way you speak changes.
You speak with conviction.
There is confidence in your voice.
Even the words that you choose to express yourself are quite forceful.
People around you pay attention to you.
Since you speak with confidence, your sentiments rub onto your listeners, and they easily believe you.
The same happens when you are writing content or copy with a strong opinion.
Your opinion must be informed.
You should form an opinion after thorough research and reading.
When copywriting for a company, do thorough research.
Find out about their product or service as much as you can.
Not just features and specifications, but also the benefits that they can deliver.
How can their product or service change people’s lives?
Gather information about the target audience.
Read about competitors, watch the videos.
The more you know, the stronger will be your opinion.
Without knowledge, without information, without research, your opinion will sound hollow and unconvincing.
Empathise with your readers
Whom are you writing content for?
The simple answer is that you may be writing content for your own website (hence, for yourself), or for one of your clients.
You are writing content for customers or clients – whether your own, or of your client.
You write content to increase engagement level.
You write content to inform and educate people so that they turn into paying customers and clients.
Hence, no matter what you write as a content writer or copywriter, your ultimate readers are the prospective customers and clients.
How do you empathise with them?
Understand their concerns.
What questions and doubts do they have about your product or service?
What problems are they are facing right now?
How pressing are those problems?
What is the biggest benefit your product or service delivers to them?
How can this benefit transform their lives?
Understand their language.
Try to find out the words and expressions they use when they talk about their problems and probable solutions.
Then write your content using those words and expressions.
This will help you speak to them in their own language and consequently, help you find your content writing and copywriting voice.
Do some research and pick their dialect and accent.
Start compiling a list of words and expressions you want to use in your writing
The words and expressions that you use in your writing can have a lasting impact on your voice.
Take for example Nike.
They are targeting sports persons and athletes and people who intend to use lots of physical activity to keep themselves fit.
Their motto is “Just do it”.
Most of the marketing messages from Nike are inspirational and motivational.
They use lots of words like “believe”, “inspire”, “sacrifice”, and “hardwork”.
You find these words repeatedly appearing in their ads.
These words are a big part of their content voice.
You can have a similar list of words and expressions that truly represent the voice of your business.
There are many other ways you can develop your own content writing voice including
- Practice writing every day.
- Write mostly in the first person.
- Write in active voice.
- Write as if you are having a conversation with your readers.
- Avoid using unnecessary words and sentences.
- Establish a rhythm – use a mix of varying sentence length.
- Don’t try to impress; write to inform and educate.