How to find your brand voice
So, you want to write in your brand voice, but you're not sure how to find your brand voice? (And what IS a brand voice, anyway?) In this post, you'll learn 3 steps to help you determine your brand voice, refine your brand voice, and start experimenting with tone to help your market your private practice, group practice, or other health/wellness business. From brand voice examples to brand identity prompt, you'll be writing more consistently and convincingly in no time!
Table of Contents
- Step 1: Create consistency with your brand voice
- Step 2: Adapt your tone to suit your purpose
- Step 3: Test, tweak, rinse & repeat
- Recommended resources
- Let's take action
- Share this post
What’s a brand voice?
And how the heck do I find mine?!
If you’ve ever wondered this, you’re in very good company.
Not only are we, as health and wellness professionals, unaccustomed to viewing ourselves as “brands”…
But many of us also feel puzzled by the thought of condensing our beautiful, complex, and multi-faceted selves into a single “voice”.
That was the spirit of this excellent question one of you posed on Instagram recently:
“I have lots of aspects to myself (funny, bold, calm, empathic) and it’s tough to find the right tone for my website. I tend to go too calm or too bold (but always delete the too bold). Is there a way to get clearer on tone?”
And also: YES.
Read on for 3 steps to help you get clear on your unique brand voice and start using it to market your health/wellness business:
1) Create consistency with your brand voice.
First things first:
Some definition clarification.
When it comes to copy, you’ve got your VOICE. And you’ve got your TONE.
Let’s start with voice:
Your brand voice conveys your brand’s personality. It’s consistent and unchanging.
Think about some of your favorite brands. Chances are, you could sum up their “personality” easily in a few adjectives…
Apple? Minimalist. Confident. Innovative.
Disney? Whimsical. Optimistic. Dreamy.
Coca-Cola? Friendly. Joyful. Nostalgic.
These descriptors are unlikely to change, no matter when you think of each brand. That’s because Apple, Disney, and Coca-Cola each has a clear, strong brand voice.
And the same is true of personal brands (like yours + mine!), too.
Awhile back, I put up a poll on Instagram, asking which words you associate with me and my presence there.
You know which words came up most frequently?
Warmth. Connection. Clarity. Accessibility. Honesty.
And wouldn’t you know? These are all words I’d love to be associated with… any day of the year, no matter what I’m talking about, or to whom.
I aim to reflect these qualities, consistently, in everything I share with you.
That’s my brand voice.
So, how do you identify yours?
This is a process I walk copy coaching clients through in depth. I recommend setting aside some uninterrupted time to work through these prompts.
(Resist the urge to rush through this foundational work! You'll reap the benefits in the long-run, trust me.)
- If you’ve got a mission statement or list of brand values, pull it up. (Don’t have one? Set a timer and spend a few minutes listing out your personal values. Then identify which ones are most representative of how you show up as a healer/helper.)
- Come up with a list of adjectives that point back to your core brand values.
- Refine each adjective further by differentiating it from something you’re NOT (e.g., lighthearted, but not goofy; authoritative, but not condescending).
- Review some of your recent blog posts, Instagram captions, or other pieces of content. Pay particular attention to your best-performing content (i.e., pieces that yielded the deepest engagement). What themes do you notice in your messaging?
- Poll your dream clients. Ask them how they’d describe you. Then ask them how they’d describe your business (e.g., your therapy, your coaching) if it had a personality of its own.
- Organize your key findings in a simple chart, with your core brand voice adjectives on the left, and examples of copy that embodies these adjectives on the right.
Keep your chart handy when you sit down to write. It may take some time to get in the habit of writing in your brand voice, but with practice it'll get easier!
2) Adapt your tone to suit each purpose.
Now that you’ve clarified your brand voice, let’s talk about tone.
Tone is the emotional quality or inflection that you apply to your voice. It adjusts to what’s appropriate for a particular situation or message.
See, tone is what liberates us to show up to each message we share, in all our varied and nuanced glory!
Back to our Apple example:
Apple’s voice/personality (minimalist, confident, innovative) will always come through in its copy.
But the tone will shift from one piece of copy to the next.
We’d certainly expect more excitement in an ad announcing the iPhone 37 than we would in a press release acknowledging the death of its co-founder and CEO. We’d expect the latter to convey a gentler, more reverent tone. (And it did.)
Same with our personal brands as healers/helpers.
For example, I always aim to convey warmth and connection (two aspects of my brand voice) in my emails to you. So, I frequently refer to you as “friend”, because that’s what I naturally do in person.
But, the tone surrounding that word can shift considerably, depending on the situation:
Like when I’m trying to reassure you...
Trust me, friend. You’re so not alone in this.
Or when it’s time for a (caring) confrontation...
Friend, you’re better than that.
Tone enables us to bring more depth and nuance to our writing. But because it’s layered atop the solid foundation of our brand voice, we can speak freely. Trusting that our genuine selves are coming through.
- Brainstorm a list of possible situations you’ll need to write copy for (e.g., new client inquiry, “Friday Introduction” post on Instagram, email announcing a new offering).
- Identify the tone that feels most suitable for each situation. Celebratory? Conspiratorial? Soothing? Sassy? Try to be as specific as you can; it'll make it a lot easier to choose which words to tweak.
- Draft the piece of copy as you normally would.
- Then, make small tweaks here and there, adjusting your word choice until the tone feels right.
3) Test, tweak, rinse, and repeat.
Now, more than ever, we’re confronted with the question of how best to show up for our people.
What do they need from me right now?
And HOW do they need me to be right now?
Please trust yourself, Michaela.
Speak from the heart, in the most natural way you can.
Take your best shot at adjusting the tone (without trying to become anything other than your own wonderful self).
Pay attention to how it’s landing with your audience.
And then try again next time.
That’s it, friend. You’re doing great.
Want to explore more ways to sharpen your copy skills so you can grow your health and wellness business? Check out these blog posts:
- Super-simple copywriting tips for beginners
- How to write great private practice website copy
- Professional jargon on your wellness website?
- 3 sneaky places to find website copy inspiration
- Back to basics: 3 conversational copy tips
Let's take action!
Ready to implement what you learned in this post? I like your style!
- Set a timer and work through the prompts to refine your brand voice and/or tone.
- Keep the momentum going by signing up for my (FREE) #5DayAboutPageChallenge!
- Want more actionable tips + real-life examples to help you reach more of your dream clients? Join my Close Friends list over on Instagram!
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