We’re always told how important it is to know who you’re writing for but it’s also important to know who you are when you’re writing.
In the course of a day we play a variety of roles: parent, child, friend, colleague, boss, worker, student, and teacher. Most of the time we slip seamlessly between them, often in relation to the people around us and our environment.
When I’m sitting on the floor in my son’s bedroom surrounded by Lego it’s easy to be mum and when I’m in a meeting room surrounded by people in suits I know it’s time to be work me.
However, when you’re sat at the kitchen table on the laptop having just put the kids to bed the lines can become blurred. It can be difficult to work out who you’re meant to be. Unfortunately these are often the only times people have available for doing those ‘extra’ work related tasks like updating website content, writing a blog article or reaching out on social media.
We understand the difficulty of writing from various voices only too well. At Spotty Octopus we’re lucky enough to have a diverse range of awesome clients: from solicitors to manufacturers to restaurants to game developers (as a few examples). This means that in the course of a day we can be writing copy as several different companies with different voices.
So What Exactly Do We Mean By ‘Voice’
Voice is the way your company ‘talks’ – on social media platforms, in your blog articles, emails and on website copy. A legal company may choose a highly professional, informative tone, while a pub may use friendly, jokey banter.
We look at ways to define your company voice and tone in our article Do You Know Who Your Company Is? Find Your Authentic Online Voice. I’d recommend taking a few minutes to do the exercises in the article to identify your business’s voice. Coupled with the steps below, this will help get you in the right mind-set for writing consistent-sounding content.
Getting into Character
Your business is like a character and every time you write as your business you need to be that character. I’m not suggesting you go and change what you’re wearing or how you do your hair (although that could be fun!). We find the methods below are extremely effective (and elicit slightly less concerned looks from our co-workers!).
We wanted to share them with you so you’re in the zone before you start tapping away at the keyboard.
Who Is Your Company?
What’s your company brand, what are its characteristics? To find this out you can use the adjectives from the exercises in the voice post and also by answering the questions below:
- What does your business drink? Is it hyped up on coffee, calmly sipping a camomile tea, running on fruit smoothies or keeping it fresh with plenty of water?
Spotty drinks Moroccan mint tea; bit of a buzz from the green tea caffeine, while fresh and zingy from the mint.
- What books does it read? Does it enjoy a Jane Austin period drama, or the fantasy of Tolkien’s middle earth? Perhaps it likes a bit of celebrity insight with a biography or craves excitement in the guise of Jack Reacher, or maybe it wants to explore other lands with a travel guide.
Spotty, as a corporate storyteller, loves all kind of literature and we’re especially partial to modern day cleverly written and researched books that make us smile – The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden and The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson are excellent examples of this.
- What’s on its Spotify account? Does it even have a Spotify account; perhaps it listens to radio 4 all day, or has an eclectic CD collection?
We work in a collaborative space which means we have a pretty wide range of music playing; everything from Justin Bieber to Metallica. We like to mix it up and keep it fresh at Spotty, so that works for us.
- You could also think about: what food it eats for lunch (does it enjoy homemade hearty soups, delicate sushi or chunky doorstep sandwiches?), where it hangs out at the weekend (farmers markets, latest pop-up street food vendor, trawling craft markets, by the pub fire, walking the dog) and how it gets around (bike, public transport, 4×4, scooter).
Write down a list of questions and answers like the above to remind you of your brand voice. Every time you need to get into that headspace simply read them. (You might even like to make yourself that latte your company likes to drink, or put on a specific playlist.)
If you’re more of a visual person, you may find putting together a collection of images or quotes that remind you of your brand helpful. Creating a Pinterest board is a great way to do this and you can share it with your customers.
We appreciate this may sound a little over the top; you created your company you know it better than anyone else. It’s easy to get distracted by life and the parts we play in it; this will help keep your voice consistent regardless of what you were doing 5 minutes before.
How We Can Help
If you’re struggling to write your blog articles, update your web content or engage on social media it might be for one of the reasons we identified in What’s Holding You Back from Writing Your Business Blog.
In my experience there are three reasons why people don’t blog:
- They suffer from imposter syndrome
- They feel they don’t have the skills
- They don’t have the time
We help businesses tackle these areas every day.
- We can work with you to help discover your unique voice
- We’ll provide guidance on how to write with confidence and clarity as your brand.
- Or, if you prefer, we can do it for you.
What Do You Think?
Do you have any rituals you use to help you get into the zone? We’d love to hear them. Please tell us about your experiences in the comments section, and if you found the article interesting we’d love it if you’d shared (we’ve even added social buttons to make it easier).
And don’t forget to pop over to Twitter and say “hey”