Whenever I talk to brand marketers, I always make sure to ask them one question: How is your content different than what your competitors create?
It’s a simple ask, but I’ve noticed that people have trouble answering it. And a lot of them sound the same. They mention things like truly caring about the customers and using an authentic voice. If all companies use those goals to guide their creative process, then they’re not really differentiating themselves in a meaningful way.
However, for the brands that do have a distinct voice, this question is easy. Marketers can rattle off specific adjectives like trustworthy, straightforward, or irreverent. Contently’s brand voice, which we aim to convey in every post on The Content Strategist, is supposed to be friendly, smart, conversational, with a touch of humor.
That unique voice has become so important because of how much content gets posted online every day. Brands can control two factors: what you say and how you say it. But the “what” in that equation only has so much flexibility. If you’re a bank or news outlet that covers finance, you have to write about saving for retirement. How you do that is the difference between building a loyal audience and fading into the crowd.
Just take a look at articles from some major publishers to see the options out there. The New York Times has “A Quick-and-Dirty Guide for Retirement Saving.” The Wall Street Journal went with the very straightforward “What Is a 401(k)?” Refinery29 appealed to its audience with a more creative approach: “How Saving $8 Can Make You a Millionaire.”
So how can marketers determine the right brand voice for their employers? It’s more involved than just sitting at a desk until the epiphany hits. At Contently, we’ve turned the exercise into a science, using natural language processing to give brands quantitative data on all of their content. Analyzing content this way has two key benefits:
1. It can identify trends and opportunities in your industry that help brands differentiate themselves from competitors.
2. It makes consistency an easier task if you can measure the tone of a single article against an entire archive of existing content.
To learn more about the impact of tone science and see how it works, check out the infographic below.