Do you need a brand voice guide if you’re building a personal brand?
“I’m a personal brand! My brand voice is just my voice! Right?”
Well…yes and no.
As a personal brand, your brand is built on who you are, what you do, and the image you present. How you show up, how you represent yourself online, how you speak, interact, and deliver all come together to form the package that is your brand. Your voice is one of the biggest components of this. Because, duh.
A brand voice guide helps establish the foundation for your brand’s tone across different channels. Your website, LinkedIn, Instagram, emails, all need slightly different tones, but they still need to sound like you. In short? It’s the ultimate how-to guide for brands who want to be recognisable, no matter where they are. (That sounds super lame, but hear me out.)
This is how you'll feel once you nail your brand voice.
Brand messaging helps businesses of all sizes grow - even personal brands.
How? Consistency and clarity.
Creating a brand messaging guide forces you to get crystal clear on who you are as a brand. What do you value? Who do you help? What is your mission? Why must you throw the ring into the fire of Mordor? How can you bring your personality and values to life on your different platforms? Answering these questions not only helps you figure out exactly who you serve, but also how you serve them.
Fair warning: the answers may surprise you (especially if you’re doing the Mordor thing. That’s a killer).
It would have been a lot simpler if they'd just done this instead.
Where is the line?
Whether your brand errs on the side of playful with a healthy dose of humour, or commands attention with authority, knowing exactly how to attract, communicate with, and help your audience under any circumstance takes practice. Showing up takes practice. Being authentic takes practice.
You don’t have to show all your cards to be authentic though, and that’s where a guide can help. Where’s the line with your private life? Where do you stand on politics? Are you team boxers, or briefs? Having an idea of how you’re going to keep showing up - or not - in times when things aren’t rosy helps you prepare for the inevitable internet shitstorms that crop up at least once a year.
I’m looking at you, 2020.
How brand voice helps you grow
So, your brand is built on you and your personality. But what happens when you’re booked out? Not just booked out, but booked out 6 months in advance? Aside from telling you to raise your rates (because girl, it’s time), you might want to outsource some of your workload.
Maybe you need a social media manager. Maybe you need someone to write copy for your website or ads. Or maybe you need someone to send emails, reply to DMs, or liaise with clients and customers.
Enter, your magic brand voice guide (don’t ask me how it’s magic, it just is).
A brand voice guide will help you avoid the trap of sounding like one person in the DMs, and like someone completely different elsewhere. Over time, this consistency helps build familiarity, which helps you nail the trust component of that all-important know, like, trust factor.
How do you create a voice guide?
The good news? Brand voice starts with you. The most memorable brand voices (like Innocent) started with one great writer, and the written voice guidelines came after. They also have something that every great brand needs - a meaningful message.
Poking fun at themselves, while sneakily pointing out the nutritional value of their products? Genius.
Don’t fixate on building formal guidelines straight off the bat. Focus on your mission and your message. Try and sum up what you do and who you help in one sentence, and start building out your voice from there. Sometimes, it’s as simple as having a list of words you love, and words you’d never say.
If you don’t love writing, think about bringing in a brand voice writer (*waves hands furiously*) to help you expand into more comprehensive guidelines, so you can easily outsource work in the future. It’s worth it, pinky promise.
Equal parts crazy cat lady and branding evil genius, Chloe specialises in brand voice copywriting at The Write Chloe. She also can’t handle talking about herself in the third person. Send biscuits.