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Finding the right tone online

Matthew Burgess

The increasing number of platforms available to businesses to be heard on, bring with them an increasing number of potential customers.

Whether it be on your website, via social media or through more traditional methods, reaching prospective customers has never been easier. However, a common struggle for business is finding the right way of utilising these channels to the best of their abilities.

Watch your tone

One of the most crucial elements is finding the right tone of voice.

Quick recap:

Your voice – what you are saying, the message that you are spreading

Your tone – how you are saying it, the words and type of language you use

The right tone of voice can capture your audience and leave them intrigued to read on, whereas get it wrong and you’ll lose them in the first sentence.

10% of conflicts is due to difference in opinion, 90% is due to wrong tone of voice.

If you’ve ever sent or received a text message or email that you thought was rude, insulting or questionable, that later turned out to be misunderstood, you will understand the importance of making sure your audience gets your tone.

For example, the following two articles are telling their readers the same news story, but due to the different readership demographics, the story is told in very different ways:

­­Article 1 – The Guardian Online

Article 2 – The Sun Online

You can see how everything from the language (‘uni’ v ‘universities’) to the font type and paragraph structure is different in each article.

So how do you find the right tone for you?

Firstly, make sure you know who you are talking to. Ask yourself the following…

  • What age range are your target audience?
  • Where are they located? – rural, central, international?
  • What are their values? (be careful not to insult anyone!)
  • What are their habits?
  • Why have they chosen to interact with you? – what are they looking to get out of this?

Once you have this defined, then turn your attentions to defining what it is you want to get out the interaction…

  • Are you looking to primarily raise awareness, increase sales, drive website traffic…?
  • What is your website offering them? – ability to purchase goods/ service? A place to connect and engage with others?
  • How do you want them to respond? – have you made this easy for them to do?

It is very easy to become habitual and forget these points as time goes on. We suggest a quarterly review and refresh to try and avoid this happening.

If you need any help finding your tone, get in touch today – email hello@phew.org.uk.



31 August 2017 |

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