Do me a favour – have a quick read through your web content. Sound OK? Did you read every word? And I mean EVERY word on EVERY page. Does your content read like it comes from the same person – or does your website have multiple personality disorder?

Imagine you’ve met someone at a house party. You’re in the kitchen having a bit of banter with them, cracking jokes, admiring their cool T-shirt. Half an hour later you bump into them in the hallway – they’re wearing a suit and tie and they’ve suddenly gone all serious on you. How do you feel? Confused? Annoyed? Desperate to get away?

Your audience will feel the same way if your web content gives out mixed messages about who you are.

Don’t be a Jekyll and Hyde business

I’ve come across lots of Jekyll and Hyde businesses. I’ll read their Home page, which is warm and welcoming, then I’ll click onto their Services page and – whoa! – suddenly everything goes all cold and formal. It’s very off-putting. One minute I thought they were on my wavelength – the next they’ve shut the door in my face.

Two of my favourite copywriting words are ‘congruent’ and ‘consistent’ – and that’s how your web content should be. When you chop and change the way you talk to your customers they’ll get confused. They won’t know who you really are. They won’t trust you. And they won’t want to buy from you.

Manage your microcopy

Personality disorder is rife in microcopy – those teeny bits of content that many businesses overlook. I see it all the time with Contact forms. I mean, honestly, you’ve done so well – your short and sassy content has got your customer this far… then you blow it all with a turgid message like this…

‘Please fill in your details in the form below and we will endeavour to contact you within 48 hours.’

Um, hello, what happened to short and sassy? This is more like it…

‘Pop your details below and I’ll get back to you in 48 hours.’

Or, hey, if it suits your brand personality…

‘Show me your deets to get a call.’

Contact forms, captions, Calls To Action, 404 error messages – whatever microcopy you put on your website, remember to be congruent and consistent. 

Mind your language

A while ago my washing machine conked out so I did an online search to find a new one. Now I don’t know about you but I use a washing machine to wash my clothes. I know, radical! So what’s with all these websites talking about ‘garments’? Never in my life have I uttered the phrase, ‘Excellent. The washing machine has finished, I shall now hang my garments on the line.’ I don’t know who these companies are selling washing machines to, but it isn’t me.

So are you using the right language for your customers – and are you using that language consistently throughout your marketing?

Find the right tone of voice – and stick with it!

Tone of voice isn’t about what you say but how you say it. Your brand’s tone of voice could be casual, funny, serious, sassy, irreverent, edgy, sympathetic, provocative, nostalgic, romantic… And there was you thinking it had to be either formal or informal.

Why is tone of voice so important? Well, it defines your brand and makes it instantly recognisable – and that creates a connection with your audience. It also showcases your personality – which sets you apart from your competitors.

Once you’ve figured out your tone of voice you don’t want to bugger about with it. If you’re feisty on your About page and formal on your Services page you’ll befuddle the hell out of your customers. And you’ll lose everything – their trust, their loyalty, their money!

Keep your copywriter on speed dial

A good copywriter knows all about language and tone of voice and will always factor that into writing content. Quick plug here – I’ve got oodles of experience with this. I spent a whole year on a copywriting project for a High Street travel company with two very different brands, which meant two very different tones of voice were needed to differentiate them. 

In this case, the company had their own language and TOV guide. The guide was huge. Or you could say ‘comprehensive’. See what I did there with the different brand styles?

Anyhow, whether you have a big fat style guide for your business or not, once you’ve hired a copywriter to create your content it’s worth sticking with them. They know you and your business back to front. They know how to talk to your customers in the right way with the right words. They will create consistent, congruent – hell, let’s throw in coherent as well – content for all your sales and marketing communications.

* Want a style guide for your business or some personality-focused content? Give me a bell on 07894 669750

PHOTO: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay