From the Trenches

Content May be King, But Don’t Forget the Tone

Will Davis | September 11, 2009

We’ve written on this blog previously about the importance of content and how writing is often undervalued, whether for a press release, website, social media, email or really anything else.  Just as important as having the right content and writing well is having the right tone.

People connect with – and buy from – people, or at least the brand’s personality.  Make sure your approach to your content represents your company’s personality.  If you are a creative services company and a bit irreverent, your tone should reflect that.  At the same time, you probably don’t want your medical institution to attempt to be hilarious.  And, if you don’t know what your company’s personality is, this exercise did a great job fleshing out a bigger issue.

Then, make sure you are consistent.  Mike talked about this a bit earlier this week in his post Fall Cleaning: Clean Up Your Online Brand.  Ensure your content and tone carry over from one vehicle to the next, from your website to your emails, to your interviews.  Too many times we see this sacrificed — the classic mistakes of needing to get an email campaign out now and not having  the time to make sure it’s written right, or the belief that you need as much content as we can throw up there to help our SEO, it doesn’t matter how it reads are just two common examples.  Make sure you take the right approach and stay consistent.

Earlier this week we had a great meeting with a firm.  One of the first things they mentioned was that they wanted to meet with us because our website read just like it was written by them, that the tone was right in line with theirs.

Too often I end up reading content that reminds me of the boring guy in the corner at a party.  Sure, that person may have a lot of facts and information, but with zero personality it’s tough to really make an impact.  Think of that next time you write content yourself or hire a writer, it demonstrates that the tone is often even more important than the content.

After all, didn’t everyone like Norm better than Cliff Claven?

About Will Davis:

As Right Source’s chief marketing technology officer, Will Davis oversees the intersection of marketing strategy, consulting, execution and technology for our clients. He focuses first on business objectives and then on helping clients leverage marketing and technology to deliver against those objectives. A recognized leader in content marketing, Will has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in government and politics and broad experience developing marketing strategies that help organizations reach milestones and grow. You can find Will on Twitter and Google+, connect with him on LinkedIn, or read his other posts.

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