My 3-Step Process to Emulate Your Brand's Voice in My Writing
Earlier today, I was chatting with a web designer about the branding process. Since her focus is visuals and mine is messaging, our combined website efforts can probably take over the world. She asked me about my writing process, and how I’m able to recreate my clients’s voice and tone, especially with new clients who I’ve just met.
Actually, I’ve had several clients tell me how creepy it is that I can emulate their voice when writing on their behalf. I take it as a compliment.
Generally, after I complete a test project, I get one of three responses:
- OMG this sounds just like me! I didn’t even tell you about half of that! How did you know?!
- This is exactly how I had it in my head, but couldn’t get it into words!
- Wow, this is really good.
I’m pretty sure 3 is actually code for ‘This is better than I expected’. I take it as a compliment, especially since they have all become repeat clients on retainer.
Of course, I always ask for feedback when sharing my work, so I can improve my approach, but 9 times out of 10, I do hit the nail on the head from the get-go. Yay me!
I like to think of copywriting as the subtle science and exact art¹ of balancing someone’s unique way of expression with their clearly-defined business goals. That’s not always easy, especially when I’m just getting to know a client’s personality, and we’re still exploring what a working relationship looks like.
But, I’ve found that a few things – specifically 3 things – can help me bridge that gap and identify what makes my client’s language unique, so I can incorporate it into my copy.
1. Have a Super Casual Conversation
Before I do any work, I like to have a chat over the phone or in a video call. Even if we are talking about how our days are going or what we did over the weekend, it gives me a sense of the client’s speaking rhythm and their diction (aka their word choice).
You can tell a lot about a person who says ‘perhaps’ instead of ‘maybe’. These are the kinds of distinctions I carry into my writing, to ensure it sounds just like them.
2. Read Previous Work, Wherever It Is
This isn’t always possible if the client doesn’t already have a website, blog, or email newsletter. But having a body of work to read through gives me a foundation on which to create a content strategy. Even social media can give me insight into their writing style.
Then, I can create a plan for which subjects and sub-topics to explore, as well as how much of their personality should shine through. Not everyone writes the way they speak, so I also like to ask what they like and dislike about their own writing.
3. Question the Business, Not the Content
The last and arguably most important step I take is to ask questions. Generally, I don’t need to know more information about their content, though. Instead, I’m digging into how they run their business.
I ask questions about their business model. I have them describe their target audience in detail, beyond demographics, down to quirks and qualities. I ask why they do what they do, which parts they love, and which parts they loathe. When I can understand how they think about their business, I can write like they would.
This is one of the primary reasons I only work with clients who thoroughly understand their target audience and business goals.
Don’t think I can emulate your voice? Challenge accepted.
¹ Kudos to Severus Snape and J.K. Rowling for that delightful turn of phrase
Author Bree Weber Published 7/10/2018, 11:22:21 PM Permalink