Ask the Expert

9/26/2012

Kristin Lesko, SEO Content Strategist

Q: Can we have several people from the company produce content for us or is it better to have a single "voice" and just one writer generating content?

A: Every brand has its own distinct "voice" for its marketing. For example, Ford's advertising makes it seem like buying a Ford truck will put hair on your chest with its manly, authoritative tone. Or, after watching an inspirational Gatorade commercial, you might feel ready to take on Usain Bolt in a foot race (although you might need two Gatorades for that one). The "voice" of a brand refers to the tone or feeling conveyed through the content. So before deciding who should write your content, it's important to first define what type of voice your brand should carry. Here are some important questions that will help define your brand's voice, and ensure that it resonates with your target audience:

  1. What are the characteristics you would use to describe the brand itself and the products/services it offers customers?
  2. What are some of the characteristics you would use to describe your target audience?
  3. How does your brand want to be perceived by its target audience?
  4. What adjectives describe the current brand "voice" (authoritative, clever, sarcastic, humorous, etc.)? Are these adjectives ones you want to be associated with and, if not, what are ones that you do?

Identifying some of the existing characteristics of your brand and how you'd like to be perceived in the eyes of your target audience will help you to better define the voice and the tone your content should be written in. After you've established how your brand should sound, it's important to get it in writing, in a brand book for example, so that everyone at your company is on the same page. This brand book will act as a guideline that your writers will all need to adhere to when generating new content.

From here, decide who on your team is most qualified to generate content on behalf of your brand, from website static copy and blog posts to status updates on Facebook and "Tweets" on Twitter. While, realistically, this job will likely not completely fall on the shoulders of just one person, everyone writing for the brand should write in the brand's voice – not their own. If you have a team of two to three people generating content, we recommend having an outside party (but still within the company) proofread all content for style consistency. You want your target audience to be able to relate to and connect with your brand's identity. They can't do that if it keeps changing based on who happened to be writing content that day.

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