"What Did You Say To Me?" Does Tone Matter In Your Copywriting?
"What were you thinking?"
"Do whatever you think is best."
"Is that what you're going to wear?"
Three written sentences.
Several different ways to interpret the meaning behind them.
If you're in person or on the phone, it's easier to understand the meaning behind the words. You can listen to inflection or watch body language to decide if the person is angry, indifferent, etc.
But how do you figure out the true intent of a message when it's written in your copy.
It's all about your tone.
What exactly is "tone" in copy?
Tone in copy is the choice of words we use in a sentence to show our attitude or emotions in a specific situation.
Tone also helps you to be more relatable to your audience. It builds an emotional bridge between you and your customers. It helps you to connect with their emotions, needs, wants, and interests. The better you can relate to them, the more they will engage with your content and messaging.
How Do You Choose Your Tone?
Okay, so you know you want to connect with your audience emotionally using tone. But how do you create tone in content writing?
Keep in mind that your tone shouldn't be the same in every piece of content you write. While you want your brand voice to remain consistent, your tone will change depending on the subject.
For example, your brand may be upbeat and friendly in nature, but you wouldn't have a bubbly tone if you were discussing the plight of the homeless.
Consistency plays a factor again once you've decided on the tone of your subject. Keep that consistent tone from start to finish in your individual piece of copy.
So when it comes to determining the tone of your copy, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
1. What are you trying to achieve with your messaging? Is there a certain reaction or response you're trying to get? Is it to generate sales or make others aware of a cause?
2. Who is the audience you're trying to reach? Are you talking to a single twenty-something, or are you trying to connect with another business owner? Knowing your audience will determine how you speak to them.
3. How will the tone influence your audience? How will it bring about an action or motivate them to a specific call to action?
Which words do you think of as you answer these questions?
Are they formal, friendly, educational?
Are they happy, serious, professional, funny, sad, angry or motivational?
If you're talking about kids' toys, you're likely not going to have a serious or formal tone. And you aren't going to write with a silly tone if your brand markets itself to corporate professionals.
The best way to figure out tone is to think about how you'd talk in person to your audience about the subject. Then use the same tone and emotion in your writing.
How Do You Write Tone?
You've figured out the delivery tone you want for your copy, but how do you actually write it out?
You need to think about your diction and your syntax?
Pardon me, my WHAT?
Diction refers to the words you use (slang, jargon, emotional words).
An example of diction would be the difference between "she laughed loudly" and "she cackled at the top of her lungs."
Both sentences deliver the message, but one would be appropriate to tell in a meeting, the other would be more appropriate for happy hour storytelling.
Syntax is how you string those words together to communicate pace, inflection, and pitch in your writing.
Let's look at another example.
"She laughed so hard she shook."
"She shook from laughing so hard, shaking uncontrollably with each breath and giggle."
Both sentences say the same thing, but the first one is more informative. The second makes you FEEL it. It's more descriptive.
Neither sentence is better than the other. Each one is appropriate for a certain situation.
Finally, be unique and descriptive. The tone of your copy shines through with the use of stories and examples. It helps your audience grasp the information and the context. It strengthens the connection between you and your audience, and gives you greater opportunity for engagement.
Why Is Tone So Important For Your Copy?
Let's face it, we're just living sacks of emotions. We make the majority of our decisions using emotion over logic. One of the hard and fast rules of business is to appeal to a customer's emotions if you want to drive sales.
Tone is what triggers and creates the emotions that drive us to make the decision to buy. Whatever our call to action might be, tone is the vehicle to get your customer to answer it.
So if you aren't getting the results you're looking for in your business copy, maybe you ought to check your tone.