How to write in the right tone for your customers

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Every so often, a potential new client will ask me to provide examples of my work so that they can judge the way that I write.

While I’m always happy to point them in the direction of blogs or website copy I’ve written in the past, or send over examples of press releases or newsletters, I always go on to explain that I don’t write in one consistent tone or style. This is because each client has a different set of customers they are reaching out to.

The importance of language and tone of voice in copywriting

Exactly who these people are will dictate the language chosen and the tone of voice used for any given piece of work. My clients have ranged from life coaches to high-end furniture manufacturers and from electrical engineers to a company providing personal trainer courses. While some clients need corporate, professional language on their marketing material and online presence, in other cases a warm, chatty, down-to-earth or even humorous approach is required.

Copywriting means writing in different styles

Whether the copy is being written by me or by one of my associates, the important factor is the end result and the impact it will have on the client’s customers, not any perceived individual writing style we may have.

For the same reason, a good copywriter should not write sample work for a company in order to give them an idea of the copywriter’s ‘style’ of writing. Instead, the client should judge from examples provided by the copywriter that show that they are capable of writing in a variety of styles and tones to suit whatever the particular job at hand happens to be.

Some questions to ask a copywriter

As with a design job, the brief is all important. I would not expect a copywriter to start producing copy until they have asked some key questions that will dictate the tone of voice, the style and the language used.

These questions can help you decide on the right tone of voice for your copywriting, whether or not you are writing it yourself. They include but are not limited to:

Who is your target audience? Age, gender, background?

What sort of language will they respond to?

Will they understand technical language or do they need you to explain your products and services in laymen’s terms?

Is your marketing material image led with few words or text heavy?

In other words, it’s important for a copywriter to get to know the client and understand their business before they write a word for them.

Establish your target audience

A couple of points to note: first it’s important to establish the target audience, which may or may not be some or all of the company’s current clients. Note also that shorter copy means that the copywriter has to work harder to get your message over in fewer words, so it doesn’t necessarily follow that a web page with 150 words will be cheaper to produce than a web page with 500 words. In both cases, the copywriter will need to do the preparatory work and make sure that every word works as well as it possibly can for the client.

If you would like to find out more about how using a professional copywriter can benefit your business, give me a call on 01484 430 228 or email michelle@key-words.co.uk.

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