Find Your Voice

As our team gathers content for our site, we want to establish our voice and tone. How might we sound to our readers? Informative? Playful? Or perhaps some combination, depending on context? One suggestion that may help you find your voice, and clarify your writing style, is to create a This, But Not That word opposition list. For example, “we want to sound fun, but not childish.” (Kate Keifer Lee, MailChimp)

Ask yourself basic empathy questions: how will your content make the reader feel? Consider your content type and the reader’s emotional state. Read your words out loud to make sure you’re achieving your desired tone. Once you’ve decided on the appropriate voice and tone for your site, it’s a good idea to create a style guide so all content is written from a similar viewpoint. It can be simple or detailed.

MailChimp has done a great job creating a style guide for their employees, and suggests tone for various types of content. The UK-based Macmillan Cancer Support Group has created a downloadable pdf file to guide voice and tone, which is particularly helpful when dealing with sensitive topics.

So find your voice, and be empathetic to your readers.

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