How To Make Your Written Content Sound Like The “Real You”By WBR Senior Editor Kat Lewis
I’m going to let you into a secret; something “interesting” happens when entrepreneurs get stuck into writing blogs and books.
Sometimes they overthink, or a perfectionist streak takes over, and they find themselves struggling to get their words out in a way that “sounds like them”. Often when people sit down to write they find themselves trying to be something that they’re not; they want to sound more professional or formal (as though the real them isn’t “quite enough”).
But the potential clients who love the “real you” are the ones who will want to work with you, and the ones who don’t like the sound of you would not create an enjoyable working relationship! You need to sound like you, and that means you need to know (and use) your tone of voice.
What “specifically” is your tone of voice?
Your tone of voice (in person and in writing) captures the essence of who you are. In written form it’s almost as unique as the sound of your voice when you speak out loud.
It’s conveyed by:
- Your choice of words (to swear or not to swear, formal or informal).
- Quirky or specific phrases that you use (for example, one of our clients invites “folks to get in touch”, that level of familiarity is very different to inviting “people to make contact”).
- The structure of your sentences; are you direct? Or do you prefer to be a little more subtle?
Your tone of voice will help differentiate you from other business owners in your industry but it can be difficult to get right (even when you are writing content yourself!). It takes time, but from experience there are many ways you can speed up the process and find (and where necessary fine tune) your tone of voice.
Three ways to find your authentic tone of voice
- Start paying attention to the words you use when you speak to people.
- Record yourself speaking out loud and listen back for key words / phrases (for example if you’re on the phone record your side of the conversation).
- Put your audio into a transcription service (such as Otter) and look for a pattern in the words and phrases you use.
If, as part of this exercise, you discover that you use obtuse words or phrases that won’t make much sense to your target audience you can change them, but change them to something that still sounds like you.
When your content sounds and feels like you, you help your ideal clients get a flavour for who you are and what it’s like to work with you. There are, of course, times when you will read a piece of content and wonder, “Does this sound like me?”
How do I know if it’s right?
If you are not convinced that something sounds like you, it’s really helpful to read your content out loud. If you are tripping or stumbling over the words then the tone of voice is not quite right. You want it to be easy to read and roll off your tongue. You might even know what would come next without looking at the page; that’s because it’s fully you and captured your tone of voice.
Fully embrace you
If you try to be someone you are not, your message is likely to get muddled and you won’t be happy with the final output.
Make sure you come across to your target audience and clients like the real you, own your tone of voice (no-one else sounds exactly like you) and roll with it.
10 second takeaway
Today’s mini challenge is to ask a personal friend, a professional contact, and a client to give you three words to describe you and how you come across. From those words in total you’ll see what words people associate with you. Use this information to help inform your tone; it’s an essential part of your personal brand.
At WBR we specialise in supporting aspiring authors to share valuable content via blogs, books and podcasts. If you’d like support to boost your personal brand and bottom line with incredible content check out our brand and content strategy sessions.