Are you struggling to produce content that captures the attention of your target audience? That isn’t, well… boring? We might hate to admit it, but sometimes we have a content problem. Dozens of blog posts and downloadables mean nothing if no one wants to read them.
But what causes boring content? The biggest culprit we see is a lack of brand voice. Brand voice is the personality that your company adopts in its communications, including the style, tone and phrases you choose to use. Unfortunately, while many b2b companies have spent a lot of time on their brand positioning, this doesn’t always filter down to the content they produce. The result is blogs and downloadables that lack a unique voice that engages and delights their reader.
So how do you create an awesome brand voice that will bring in leads by the hundreds? First things first, let’s make sure that brand voice is the cause of your content woes.
Signs your content lacks a unique brand voice
- Low engagement in newsletter and on social media. If no one’s clicking through to your website or liking/sharing/commenting on your posts, then you may have a case of boring content-itis. Without a unique brand voice, your content risks just being more of the same - and no one’s interested in that.
- Nothing differentiates your content from your competitors’ content. If your blog could be published on your competitor’s site without any changes, then you’ve got a problem. A strong brand voice will make it clear that this content is written by you and not anyone else in the industry.
- Your sales team won’t use your content to engage leads. Great content should help your sales team, particularly in answering the questions and concerns of leads at the top and middle of the funnel. But if your sales team is ignoring your content, it’s probably because it’s addressing key concerns of prospects in the sales process.
- There’s a disconnect between your brand values and the tone of your content. If one of your brand values is “human and empathetic”, but your content is always written in the third-person (eg. they, the business, the client), instead of first or second (eg. you, we, us), and has a neutral or emotionless tone, then you’re likely coming across as aloof and robotic - the complete opposite of your brand!
Now that we’ve identified what the problem is, here’s how to treat it.
How to improve your brand voice
- Run a point-of-view workshop
Do you know what your company voice or perspective is? An important aspect of a brand voice is having strong opinions, personality and a unique perspective in your industry. This is what sets you apart from your competition. Running a content point-of-view (POV) workshop is, therefore, a great way to improve your brand voice if you lack a clear or unique perspective on industry issues, or other issues that are important and relevant to your target market.
A POV workshop has two aims:
- To develop a company POV/voice for your current marketing
- To agree on a company perspective on current industry issues
At the end of a POV workshop, you should have the information you need to produce brand content that will foster discussion, prompt better engagement on social media, empower your staff to contribute to industry discussions, and enhance your thought leadership.
By defining your POV in this way, you can ensure that your brand voice is consistent, strong, engaging and unique - and that you don’t shy away from important issues. After all, in our modern social and digital landscape, saying nothing can be the same as picking a side.
- Align your brand values with your content themes
A good writer knows that it’s much easier to write engaging and unique content if you’ve got something interesting to say. Start writing about themes that align with your brand values, positioning and POV, and you’ll see an immediate change in the content you produce. From boring, generic content to engaging, unique perspectives on real issues.
Perhaps sustainability is a core value for your company and products. Good news - it’s also a growing concern for consumers and the businesses that sell to them! Creating a series of blog posts that explain how businesses can achieve sustainable outcomes could set you apart from your competitors. And when they start looking for a sustainable version of the product or service you offer, you’ll be front of mind.
Still not sure where to start? Take a look at our 4-step content creation plan for more insight into how to come up with interesting and engaging topics.
Final note: While you might feel pressure, particularly in a traditional sales-driven company, to focus only on content that is promotional or product-driven, this only caters for people towards the bottom of the sales funnel, when you need to produce content for every stage of the buyer’s journey. So push back!
- Create a language guide to set standards for your brand voice.
Any halfway-decent writer will research a company’s voice and/or ask for guidance before writing for a new brand. It’s the only way to ensure that the content they produce is consistent with your brand and other content.
If you find that there’s inconsistency between your brand and the voice your writers are adopting, creating a language guide can help. A language guide outlines how your brand promise and positioning is conveyed through your brand voice. It gives specific examples of what is and isn’t the brand voice, and how to achieve it through different editorial choices.
For example, if your brand promise includes being ‘open and transparent’ with your clients, your brand voice may be described as ‘straightforward and easy to understand’. Consequently, your language guide should recommend avoiding long-winded sentences, prioritising simple, jargon-free language instead. You could clarify this further by saying that simple doesn’t mean patronising or flat, but does mean open, personable and human, and provide examples of this in action.
By translating your brand promise and positioning into clear guidelines about your brand voice, your content will not only be stronger, more engaging and unique to your company, but you will ensure greater voice consistency from one writer or content producer to the next.
Brand chemistry creates brilliant content to get your brand in front of the right people. With lifecycle strategy, whip-smart word wrangling and striking visuals, our content marketing gets you results.