Every blog needs to have a personality, so it is critical that business blogs have a unique and consistent “voice” when speaking to its web visitors. For a content marketing or public relations firm, finding exactly the right voice for a client’s blog can be challenging.
How can an agency find the right voice for its client’s blog and keep it consistent? The best place to start is with the clients themselves. There will be some key questions to ask.
How does the client want to be perceived?
It is important for content marketers to truly understand their clients. This includes getting a strong handle on each client’s needs, goals, philosophy and personality. Ask the client how he or she wants to be perceived to the public.
Every company is going to have its own view on what it wants to display, and it is important for the agency it hires to thoroughly understand exactly how the company wants to present itself. This, after all, is its public persona — and first impressions mean everything.
What perspective should be used?
There are several ways a blog can be presented. Perspective will matter. If your clients aren’t sure themselves, ask a few questions that can help them determine which perspective is the right fit.
First person: With this perspective, the blog is written as if the company head, or another person in authority, is writing the post. Terms such as “I,” “me,” “my,” “us” and “we” would be used. While first person can be presented professionally, first person voice is more casual than a second or third person perspective.
Does the client want to have a “storytelling” blog, sharing first person experiences? Or does he or she want to share the CEO’s or an employee’s perspective on the topics written about in blog posts? This is important to think about.
Second person: When using second person perspective, content is focused toward the reader. The words “you” and “your” are frequently used. This often works great for blogs because, not only is it conversational and speaking directly to the read; it can also be a good form to use if the goal is to mix formal with informal content.
Third person: Third person perspective is a good option for clients that want to share objective, informational or other more formal information in blog posts. Content that is data-heavy or that contains a lot of statistics is often presented in the third person perspective. The client should understand this doesn’t mean the blog has to sound stuffy. It is entirely possible to write in the third person and still be conversational and friendly in tone.
Knowing one’s audience (i.e., can acronyms be used or do terms need explaining?), along with selecting a perspective that would well represent a brand is vital. Every client will be different.
Should the voice be light or serious/authoritative?
This is a biggie. How an agency presents its client’s presentation and delivery is just as important as the types of content shared. There are an unlimited number of ways to present content. Whatever the choice is, it should be pretty consistent in tone. This is not to say there shouldn’t be any variety — just that consistency is what people often seek when it comes to trusting a business.
Is the blog going to be casual and “chatty” or does the client want to present statistics, research and hard data? The former is probably going to be light-hearted, while the latter will carry a more serious and authoritative tone.
Is it a marketing blog?
The client’s desired level of “marketing” force is important to know when developing a blog. Selling too strongly in a blog post can have a negative effect on readers. Unless they are already absolutely ready to buy, customers generally are more interested in gathering information and respond better to engaging content than to a sales pitch.
There are plenty of ways, however, to discreetly sell products if your clients do not want to appear too “in your face” when marketing their products. For less forceful selling, clients can gently advertise products through their blogs with just a minor mention of their product. An “about” page and a link to a sales page can handle the rest of the job so the blog posts themselves can be strictly informational.
What style guide should be used?
Many business blogs stick to a particular style guide. This means that certain approaches are taken, be it AP style, specific keywords to include, precise product descriptions, etc. Ask the client if he or she has a preference and be sure to note this information so it can be integrated into the content.
Tempesta Media is a managed services provider of original content for agencies that don’t have the staff or expertise to handle it themselves. We help agencies every step of the way in the development of custom original content. With more than 11,000 vetted professional writers in our network, we are able to match our clients with experienced writers to meet any content need.
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