Content is Currency

Developing Powerful Content
for Web and Mobile

by Jon Wuebben - Founder and CEO of Content Launch

What’s your Content Voice?

Putting Together a Content Style Guide

One of the content “sins” that I see being committed almost daily is the lack of voice or personality in website content. Having worked and consulted with hundreds of companies in the past eight years, I can testify that many companies don’t even know what content “voice” is to begin with. And of course, there are always those companies who are straight up rookies when it comes to their websites and actually ask me if we could “just copy some content from another website” for their new site. Whoa, slow down there Nellie! That may be one of the worst things anyone could ever do to a new site, right? Well, lets break through the clutter…

So what is content voice?

It’s the unique brand and/or personality that your company communicates with in the pages that make up your site, the updates on your social media profiles and the blog posts that you write.

Some company branding personalities are upbeat and quirky, others are funny, still others are serious and professorial. The default, of course, is NO content voice. This is what’s known as the dreaded “corporate speak” that you see on most company websites. Its that boring, bland prose that we’ve seen so many times: “XYZ Company is a provider of ABC services and is the largest supplier of these services to companies worldwide, blah blah blah…” This stuff litters the web…its all over the place. And this is not to say that there is never a time to use this approach, just understand this: it usually isn’t very effective.

When my company works with a client to develop a content strategy plan, we will work with them to establish the content voice. This is accomplished by creating what’s called a content “style guide”, which essentially defines your company positioning, voice, offerings, using words, ideas and concepts that communicate your brand story. It serves as a foundation for the website content we end up developing for them.

What are the benefits of developing a content voice for your company?

  • You set yourself apart and start becoming distinct in the mind of your prospects and customers
  • Helps build stronger relationships with your visitors, prospects and customers
  • Helps you compete more effectively in a challenging economic landscape
  • Makes it easier to develop future content
  • All the benefits of branding, from a web content standpoint

Which companies have distinct content voices?  Apple, Starbucks, Method, Origins, and Bliss are a few that come to mind. Also, many ad agencies and other creative professionals do a great job with content voice. What’s a nice and easy way to get started with the content voice process? Brainstorm some ideas. Find out what makes your company unique and interesting. Then write content that communicates to people why and how you do what you do, and what you do better than the rest. Make it original, but not too strange. Ensure that it reflects your brand messaging.

The bottom line: Stop being so bland and uninspiring with your content. Get rid of the industry jargon and catchphrases and be yourself! Get a content voice…today.

 

 


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brendan August 23, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I can’t tell you how many times clients just want me to copy something from another site. I have to explain that’s not what copywriter means.

Then we have this conversation. By the end, when they’ve seen the results that having a unique voice brings, they’re sold.

Good post, I’ll recommend it to my clients.

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