Edit Your Copy for Voice and Tone

Pre-Work You Need to Do:

1)  Voice

Voice describes your company’s brand personality and values. It is consistent and doesn’t change unless your company changes over time.

“How does your brand sound?”

 Choose 2–3 words to describe it.

If you need help finding out, answer the following questions:

  • If the brand had one day left before it vanished from the planet, how would it sound?
  • Which fictional character (or real person) does it most sound like?

2)  Tone

Tone is the emotional inflection applied to your voice. It changes based on the situation.

Different circumstances may require different tones depending on the message, the platform, or the segment of the audience you are trying to reach. You have one brand voice and many tones depending on the situation. It can be positive, neutral, or negative.

“What is the brand’s tone?” “What attitude do you want to transfer to your reader?”

If you need help finding out, answer the following questions:

  • What situation is the reader in at the moment?
  • How does she feel right now?
  • How is this content going to affect the reader?
  • How can I maintain the reader’s state of mind or put her in a better one?

Editing for Voice and Tone

Is there a brand voice chart to follow? Some companies have a brand voice chart that you’ll need to consider when writing and editing your copy.

If you are writing your own copy, do the following. Take the three adjectives that better reflect your brand personality, and create a chart with four columns: voice characteristic, brief description, do’s (how to use this trait), and don’ts (how not to use this trait).

Once you have a brand voice chart, edit your copy for voice and tone:

  • Read line by line, start to finish — Does your copy have an appropriate voice?
  • Read line by line, finish to start — Does your copy have too much voice?
  • Read without stopping, start to finish — Does it have an appropriate mood?
  • Go over once more, start to finish, for voice.

Once you have finished, read your copy again to make sure that clarity still prevails.