Creating personal content that inspires emotion and helps your audience feel connected and engaged will help you establish your brand voice and create more user engagement.
But doing that is easier said than done.
How do you define your brand voice? How do you know what content will inspire your readers?
Here are some tips to help you answer these and other questions to create a branded content guide. You can then use that guide to help writers and marketers create the content that best reflects your brand.
Choose Adjectives that Describe You
You have probably already done this in one way or another, such as when you were writing your business plan or talking with your marketing team about your strategy.
But you can’t just know your brand attributes intuitively – you have to create a list of adjectives and terms so that you can define them specifically for all your employees and those on your marketing team.
Adjectives can include things like personable, sophisticated, innovative, customer-centric, and intuitive.
Make your list as long as you can, and then sort it so that the most important and relevant terms are right at the top. Try to make your adjectives as specific and dynamic as possible.
Define a Style and Tone
Now that you know how you want to be defined, you need to determine what kind of language you want to use to convey your brand.
For example, does “sophisticated” mean that you will use a knowledgeable and authoritative tone or that you will focus on class and luxury?
Define an overall tone for your brand, as well as a tone you want to use when conveying your different attributes. Then define what kind of style you will use.
For example, if you want to describe your brand as innovative, do you want to use a formal style that is detailed about your technical accomplishments, or do you want a fun and irreverent style that gets at how you push the boundaries?
Again, be as specific as you can when defining the style and tone you want your writers and marketers to use for your branded content.
Create a list of style rules that your team can refer to when writing or creating other content for your brand.
For example, a technical company might include rules like “avoid wordiness” and “use specific nouns and adjectives.” Whereas a lifestyle company might advise writers to choose the active voice and evocative adjectives (something a little better than “really pretty”).
Your style guide might also include quirks that are specific to your company. For example, you might always use “them” to refer to the third person instead of “he or she,” or you might ask that all position titles be capitalized no matter where they appear in the sentence, such as “President” or “Director.”
Consider your style guide to be an evolving document. There will be plenty of issues that come up that need to be clarified and added to the document.
Index your guide so that your team can easily reference it when they have a question about style or format.
Create a List of Do’s and Don’ts
As part of your quest to be as specific as possible in your guide, you need to create a list of do’s and don’ts.
These examples will help writers understand your goals better and will provide concrete examples of what is and is not acceptable.
For example, if you have a quirky and progressive style to convey innovation, you may want to tell your writers “DO be funny and whimsical, using puns, anecdotes and plays on words,” but caution them “DON’T use foul language or make inappropriate jokes.”
It would be best if you could create a list of example statements for each rule you create. The more examples you can provide, the better your writers and marketers will understand what you have in mind.
Make your do’s and don’ts section as comprehensive as you like. Do not worry about brevity here. The more explanation and example you provide now, the less worry you will have later with writers and marketers who do not understand what you want or need.
By putting together a style guide for your team, you will better define your brand and you will create clear expectations for the creation of your marketing materials. Your team can refer to this guide frequently to stay focused and to answer any questions they may have about content.
Make it a point to review your style guide regularly – perhaps once a year. You will be able to add any information that you find to be necessary and clarify any points that may have caused confusion. You may find that your style also needs to evolve as your brand values and scope evolve.