Why it’s important and how it can help you deliver a more effective message
You’ve spent the time establishing your brand, developing your mission statement and fine-tuning your look. But what about your tone and voice? By not using consistent language in your content, you leave your brand open to misinterpretations. The most successful brands are authentic and reliable. If you seem wishy-washy, disorganized or disingenuous, you won’t build a legion of loyal followers. Before you start developing original content, create brand guidelines and best practices to ensure your voice and tone are always on point. Read on to learn more.
Why Language Matters
“Consistency is key to telling your brand story,” says Yakkety Yak Content Strategist Heather Budimulia. “This doesn’t mean that you copy your mission statement verbatim in every post, but you want to ensure you’re transmitting the same main ideas, across every social platform every time.”
Inconsistent language creates variations in your message, which can be confusing to consumers. If they’re not entirely sure what your brand is trying to achieve or sell, they’re going to be less likely to engage with you. Irregular language use will make your brand seem unreliable and untrustworthy. “Your audience should know exactly who you are when they see and read your posts on their newsfeeds,” Heather says. “That comes down to sending a reliable message through consistent language.”
How to Build Best Practices
Back to Basics
Sit down with your team and ask the following: What does our brand represent? Who is our target audience, and what are they like? How do we relate to them? Get aligned on the fundamentals of your brand before fleshing out specific practices.
Consult Your Boilerplate
How did you describe your brand when you first started out? This is an especially important step because you might realize that you’ve evolved and need to rework your company boilerplate. If everything is still aligned, note the language that you used to establish your mission and define your target audience; you’ll want to incorporate this wording into your content moving forward.
Pick Five Phrases
“Brainstorm the first ideas you want associated with your brand,” Heather says. “Use those to develop five fully-formed phrases you want consumers to think when they think of your brand.”
Make sure that these phrases are well-integrated into your boilerplate, and drop them into your style guide. When it comes time to develop new content, read over these phrases so they’re top of mind as you write.
Decide on the Details
It’s not just word choice that you need to be concerned about. Hyphenation, capitalization and numerics have to remain consistent in your content, too! In most cases, these will be personal decisions for your team to make. Will you use ‘2’ or ‘two’? When will you use colons in your headlines? If you’re split on certain decisions, a quick Google search for the most common (or most correct) usage is usually the way to go. Be sure to keep track of your preferred word choice in your style guide.
Data, Data, Data
Track your blogs and social posts–how are they performing? Keep a sharp eye out for the language in successful posts, and try to pinpoint what is working best. Use the data you collect to inform your tone, voice and word choice. Get in the habit of evaluating your content performance and updated your style guide as needed.
If you’ve fleshed out your style guide and still think you might be in need of a brand refresh, give us a call! Our design, content and analytics teams are ready to help give your brand the boost it needs. Let’s Yak!