Copywriting: how to write to suit your audience and your brand

What is copywriting, tone of voice?

It’s a term that people sometimes confuse with the legal term ‘copyright’. This term relates to the ownership of intellectual property. That might be a logo, a tagline, or a product design.

But copywriting, as used by marketers, relates to the text on your website, advertisement, sales letter, brochure, or signage.

Copywriting has a job to do. A clear purpose.

That job is to persuade the reader to do, think or feel something.

The job of good copywriting is to sell an idea. Most often, its aim is to sell a product or service.

Trying to cover the topic of copywriting – how to do it well – would fill a book. So, I thought I’d address the issue of how to strike the right tone to reach your target audience.

Writing well means you need to know your customer well

When you’re writing any sort of communication, you need to know your audience.

Always keep in mind that you can’t be all things to all people. A wise old marketer once said that if you try and appeal to everybody, you end up appealing to nobody.

Of course, it helps if you have the opportunity to speak to clients directly.

  • What do they want? Do they like to try new things? Save money? Impress their friends and colleagues?
  • How do they feel? What’s on their mind now? Are they under pressure? Ambitious? Protective? Hopeful and optimistic?
  • How do they live or work? What are their habits? Their problems?

Answering these questions will help you understand your audience and know how you should communicate with them.

Developing a persona can help cement the picture. A persona is a detailed description of an individual who represents a typical customer

What’s the right tone of voice for your copywriting?

Another important element of effective writing is using a tone of voice that suits your brand.

The tone of voice is all about your brand’s personality. It helps your brand connect with your audience through consistency, character and value.

According to user research company Nielsen/Norman Group, there are four dimensions of the tone of voice. They are:

  • funny vs. serious
  • formal vs. casual
  • respectful vs. irreverent
  • enthusiastic vs. a matter of fact

The words you choose reflect your brand.

For example, you might expect a financial institution to use a more formal and respectful tone than a local personal fitness trainer who is enthusiastically trying to sell you their personal services.

Once you’ve worked out your brand personality, your copywriting flows much more easily.

As an example, take a look at Fremantle-based Little Creatures Brewery. Their funny, slightly irreverent tone fits with their ‘home-grown’, larrikin image.

Another example to look at is the WA Police Next Step website. Developed by a local brand agency, it was created to help educate high school students on the topic of policing as a career. The website’s creators use a mixture of gamification, first-hand stories and resources and the right tone of voice, to appeal to young people.

Writing ‘business to business’ versus ‘business to consumer’

If your copywriting remain true to your brand’s tone of voice and fits your audience, you shouldn’t stress about whether your audience is another business (B2B) or a consumer (B2C).

Remember that no matter what, you’re always communicating with another human. Your copywriting should reflect that and avoid corporate buzzwords or marketing-speak.

If you’d like to know more about effective copywriting and how to use the right tone of voice in your marketing communications, please get in touch. Just call Katarina on 0415 128 804.