Developing a Style and Voice For your Web Content

Got Tone? Tips for Developing a Writing Style

Developing a writing style that appeals to your readers is an art. The tone of your copy is the key to the success of your marketing strategies. Your returns rest largely on the quality and style of your text. For companies in the healthcare, legal and financial industries, this means their text needs to be clean, clear, concise and competent. In fact, the four Cs are favored by most if not all Fortune 1000 companies. For a company that sells sports tickets or toys, a much lighter, conversational tone is the better option. We’ve had clients express concern about matching their tone when their website is completely toneless. This goes to show that tone is a sensitive and important topic. Here are a few tips for developing a voice for your web content.

Who is your target audience? This is the most important factor. A personal injury attorney who is targeting people who have been injured or lost a loved one needs to use a voice that is strong, compassionate and effectively illustrates their strengths. For example, “Contact us today to speak with a compassionate personal injury attorney who can protect your rights and act as a legal advocate.”

Now, let’s consider a restaurant that makes the best barbeque in the city. Restaurants are part of a leisure market. People dine in their free time using disposable income. To appeal to consumers, we must create a tone that actively promotes their delicious food and the lively ambiance.

“At Judge Bean’s Bar-B-Q, we make the meanest barbeque sauce east of the Mississippi and the best pulled pork ya’ll will ever taste. Stop by for a plate-clearing, finger-licking good time.”

On the other side of the spectrum, a gourmet catering company that uses local produce might need a more conservative tone. For a high-end caterer, we might use a more sophisticated, erudite tone.

“From fresh, tender arugula to locally produced cheese, we partner with local farmers to procure the finest and freshest ingredients. We use the highest-quality products and artisan cooking techniques to produce slow-food for large events.”

There is an entire spectrum of literary tones. I like to think of it like a rainbow. On one end, we have a straight-ahead, no-nonsense corporate tone. On the other, we have zany, edgy, off-the-wall. This means that there are subtle differences in tone that are comparable to the visual differences between teal and blue-green. Once you have the right tone, you’ll know it.

You wouldn’t believe how many content mills suggest the most banal and generic tones. Informative and interesting, sales driven and promotional, light and conversational or educational and informative. These are the options that a mass-market content mill will give you. They might as well as say meaningless and bland, boring and stale or light and fluffy. We’re not talking about comfort food or ice cream. Let’s get real. Don’t be tone deaf. The success of your website depends on the quality and style of your content, so you’ve got to make it good. As up-market copywriters, we collaborate, we work with clients, and we infuse our writing with creativity to match our customers’ goals. That’s why our copy is effective.

To develop the right style and tone, consider who your target market is, what you’re selling and what your goals are. Words represent your company, its personality and its products. That’s why it’s important to have a tone that accurately portrays your company’s strengths. On our own website, we like to have a little bit on fun on your text. For clients, we develop a tone based on their individual needs and goals, which are rarely the same from company to company.

You’re welcome to share your perspective on the challenges of developing the right style and tone for your web content.

Content Marketing After Penguin and Panda

Penguins and Pandas: What’s Up with Google?

Penguin-Panda-Update-GoogleGoogle’s search engine algorithms are notorious for their secrecy. While SEO experts and programmers don’t know exactly what changes Google made to their proprietary systems, the effects have been quite revealing. Since April 19, 2012, Google has unleashed a battery of devastating refinements that caused the page rank of many web pages to plummet. The complexity and frequency of these updates only added to the confusion, and had many site owners and developers struggling to determine what affected the rank of their previously top-performing pages. Here’s what you need to know about Google’s infamous Panda and Penguin updates.

  • The Panda update was unrolled on April 19, 2012.

  • The Penguin 1.0 update was released on April 24, 2012.

  • A second Panda update was launched on April 27, 2012.

Basically, these changes are designed to penalize sites and content farms that blatantly duplicate text from other websites, including properties that they might own or control. These changes have sent a strong message to webmasters and developers. In the post-Penguin/Panda climate, websites need valuable, original and authoritative content to survive. Our dear colleagues at Frisco Websites explained that Google is pushing organizations away from cookie-cutter sites and challenging companies to provide a broader range of original content.

Today, Google has very little tolerance for sites that copy content or engage in keyword stuffing to artificially improve their ranking. While the effects of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates are settling down, Google is bound to release further refinements that demand fresh, exciting web content that is valuable to search engines and real readers.

If you believe your website was affected by these updates, visit the Search Engine Journal to discover a practical and simple way to determine what updates affected the performance of your website.