When you're starting a small business, one of the most important things that you need to do in the early stages is launch your brand online. This means building a website for your business, creating a blog, and establishing social media pages at the very minimum.
But before you get ahead of yourself, there is one critical aspect of your business that you need to carefully consider: your brand's voice.
In today's digital world, it's likely that many of your initial interactions with customers will take place online versus in person. For this reason, you'll want to make sure that your brand's voice and personality online is consistent with what a person would experience if he or she did business with your brand in person.
Another important reason to ensure that your brand's online voice is consistent with what you want your business to portray is that it can actually help you to more effectively implement the localized content that you create. This can be very powerful in helping you get results from your search strategy.
The best way to keep your brand's voice consistent is to create a brand voice chart. Don't let that overwhelm you, though. It's actually really easy to create:
Step 1: Pull together a sample of your content.
Even in the early stages of your business, you've likely already put some content together. Content could include anything from blog posts and videos to e-books and your social media calendar. Some of this content will be more generic and could have come from any of your competitors. The key is to identify the content that is unique to your brand.
Step 2: Use 3 words to describe your brand's voice.
What are 3 words that you would use to describe your brand's ideal voice? Are the pieces of unique content that you've just identified consistent with these 3 words? Do the different pieces of content share any unique themes?
Let's say that the 3 words that you used to describe your brand are passionate, quirky, and authentic. By creating "buckets" for each of these 3 qualities, you can sift through your unique content to help ensure that you are creating content that fits within your brand's online voice and message that you want to deliver.
Step 3: Create a brand voice chart.
You'll refer to this chart time and time again to ensure that you are creating content (both visual and text) that consistently matches your brand's voice.
To make your chart, create 4 separate columns. The first column will be for your 3 main characteristics of your brand's voice. The next column will be a brief description of each characteristic, and columns 3 and 4 will include do's and don'ts for achieving this voice in your content.
Step 4: Talk to your team about how to put your brand's voice in action.
Do you have multiple people on your team that are responsible for content creation? If so, you'll want to share this easy-to-understand voice chart with them. Ideally, you'll want to walk through a few examples of content that hit the mark. More importantly, you'll want to share some content that isn't reflective of your brand's voice and share some revisions to correct this.
As a best practice, laminate your voice chart and have your employees keep this at their desks. Maintaining a consistent brand voice is absolutely essential to your business's branding strategy.