Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
The door opened, and the sound of laugher and good conversation spilled out onto the street. I’d waited nearly 20 years to eat at this restaurant again, and in the December tier 2 restrictions, it felt even more special. The kitchen at the back was in full swing, and the diners looked happy.
And then the fateful words.
“If you’d just like to head upstairs…”
Yes, socially distanced tables, but no atmosphere. No chatter going on. Darker.
Like a different restaurant.
Needless to say, the evening didn’t live up to initial expectations.
How does this relate to content?
You create expectations in your customers with everything you do. It will play a part in them buying into what you do. The brand you’ve created stands for something; you’ve done the work to know who you want in your tribe.
If you create a product, then you have specifications, standards.
There’s no reason why content can’t be the same.
It doesn’t have to be restrictive. In fact, it should be freeing as you’re not constantly working out what to write or create, so saving you time. But sometimes we forget parts of our business, and suddenly your customers are in the equivalent of the upstairs dining room.
The corners we forget to look in
When was the last time you read your terms and conditions?
Or the confirmation email for joining your mailing list?
When we pick up things from some of the systems that are there to make our lives a bit easier, such as Mailerlite, then sometimes we accept the default settings. Let’s face it, we’ve all got a lot on, there’s 101 things to do when you own a small business. They’re like things we wrap up and put in boxes, to deal with another day.
But taking care of these small details is what differentiates good enough brands from distinctive brands that love their customers, and are loved by them too.
Here’s some of the things that commonly end up missed, and end up sounding like they’re from a different business altogether:
- Autoresponder messages on Facebook
- Your unsubscribe message
- Invoice messages
- Your out of office message
- About Us page
- Your FAQ
You get the idea.
The fix is simple
In fact, this is one of the simplest things you’ll ever do. You just need to be able to carve out some time to read everything with your business’ name on it.
Even better if you can persuade someone else to read some of it for you as well. They’ll be less attached to any of the existing words, and be able to tell you when something feels a little off.
If you write everything else for your brand, then you’ll probably very quickly get the idea of where you need to spend some time editing.
Keeping it going
Effectively what you’re doing is creating your brand’s tone of voice. There are a million different articles on the subject (actually 526 million when I’ve just banged in “what is tone of voice” into Google).
When I help businesses and brands create their tone of voice, it’s really about helping everyone to recognise what sounds like you. The words you choose, and how you string them together, play a part in how people view what you do, and feel about what you do.
That’s why, wherever and whatever you’re writing, you need to choose words carefully.
By putting your tone of voice down on paper it can help to not have to think quite so carefully every single time. I often come up with a list of words that a business wouldn’t use, and those it would. Often I put them into context, as you can make a word do something very different depending on the company it keeps, how it’s delivered and who delivers it.
Being consistent isn’t dull. Being consistent helps customers to remember why they like you, and why they chose you in the first place. If you’re inconsistent, you run the risk of sowing the seeds of doubt in their minds. There’s enough else that might do that. Don’t do it to yourself.
Don’t overcomplicate it
Some tone of voice documents are like novels. They probably rarely see the light of day, which means the tone of voice has probably got no chance of being consistent.
Keep it simple, and talk to your people about it so you’re all clear. If you’re a company of one, give yourself the odd reminder.
If you need some help or some pointers on tone of voice, then just drop me an email. Always happy to chat about it.
So, go out and look for your equivalent of the upstairs dining room, and make it as appealing as the rest of what you do.
Even The Rock agrees it’s a good thing.
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” Dwayne Johnson