Should your agency have Tone of Voice guidelines?

When working with larger companies, I've often been given a very handy set of Tone of Voice guidelines.  Perhaps you're wondering if this is something your agency should invest in?  Let's take a look.

What are Tone of Voice guidelines?

Tone of Voice guidelines set out how you want your brand to sound.  It's all about creating a consistent language to be used in all your written content, from websites to social media to brochures and everything in between.

These guidelines will encompass how you want to sound, your style choices (fonts and punctuation, etc.) and overall personality.  

They are not a list of words you can and can't use.  They're exactly what they say they are - guidelines to help you and your writers choose the language that fits your brand.

Do you need these guidelines?

Tone of Voice guidelines will help you keep your content consistent.  They're especially useful if you regularly bring freelancers on board - it's incredibly helpful to be given some guidance when you start writing for a new client.

Having a consistent voice means your brand will be more distinctive and easy to recognise.  

What's involved in creating these guidelines?

Before any actual writing takes place, we would need to set down on paper how you want your brand to sound.  I'd need to ask you a lot of questions and, once I had the brief right, I'd ask you to sign off on it to ensure we're all on the same page.

Once we know what we're aiming for, I'll get started writing the guidelines themselves.  

These may include:

  • Why a tone of voice guideline is needed and who it's for.
  • Three words that describe your tone of voice.  For example, warm, welcoming and wise.  
  • What those three words look like in reality and why they're relevant to your brand.
  • A guide for writing copy that's on brand.
  • Information on style.  For example, one space after a full stop or two?  US or UK English? 
  • Optional: any words or phrases you absolutely do not want used.

These guidelines don't have to be of Shakespearean proportions.  I'm always in favour of keeping written information as short and snappy as possible - thus making it more memorable. 

Should your agency or organisation invest in guidelines?

Fill in the contact form or send me an email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and we can discuss whether this is a service that's right for you.