Using a specific tone of voice is a bit like applying a filter on top of written content. It isn’t so much about what you’re writing, but how you’re writing it. Within the beauty industry, a beauty copywriter is often responsible for creating, optimising, or applying a brand’s tone of voice to projects. Learn why it’s important to get your tone of voice spot-on and how to avoid common pitfalls by working with a beauty copywriter.
What is a tone of voice?
When people speak, they use their tone of voice (or TOV) to convey meaning, emotion, and information. For example, at a spa, your therapist’s tone of voice is likely to feel soft and soothing. Or if you’re shopping for makeup, a sales assistant’s tone of voice might sound enthusiastic and confidence-building.
Beauty brands and businesses also use their tone of voice to express themselves. This involves understanding how your brand wants to convey its message. For example, a luxurious skincare brand will have a different tone of voice from a mass-market skincare brand. Where it’s appropriate for the luxury brand to sound self-assured and salubrious, it wouldn’t make sense for a mass-market brand. Instead, the mass-market option should feel relatable and approachable.
What are tone of voice guidelines?
Tone of voice guidelines are internal documents used by brands and businesses across all industries. They outline and recommend how your brand’s copy should sound or feel to its consumers. Tone of voice guidelines for beauty brands usually includes a combination of the following:
- How your tone of voice conveys your brand’s values, attitudes, or goals,
- Words to describe elements of the tone of voice and what they mean to the brand,
- Examples of words or phrases to use and not use,
- When to use or not use specific words or phrases,
- How this all applies to your communication methods or channels.
Remember, tone of voice is different from brand messaging. Think of it like speaking: your tone of voice is the way you come across, and messaging is the point you want to make. It’s also not quite the same as your brand voice, which is more about your brand’s personality and presence.
How important are tone of voice guidelines?
The trouble with tone of voice guidelines is that they’re often too vague, too specific, or too subjective. If your guidelines are unclear or create uncertainty, this will reflect in your brand’s beauty copywriting. However, having clear and actionable tone of voice guidelines helps your beauty brand sound consistent, no matter who is writing for it. If a team member can refer to your guidelines and apply the correct tone of voice to their copy, then it’s done right. Your tone of voice guidelines should boost your confidence to write and deliver strong messages.
Your new brand should launch with a solid understanding of how you want to sound, summarised in a tone of voice guideline. Although it’s likely to change over time, your brand should own its unique tone of voice from the get-go.
As your beauty brand grows, evolves, or shifts, its tone of voice guidelines should be updated to reflect this. It’s also wise to do a regular tone of voice audit. An annual review is helpful for assessing what you’re aiming for, whether it’s working, or if the guidelines need to be adjusted.
What should I avoid in my tone of voice?
It might be tempting to use buzzwords, jargon, or lofty words in your tone of voice guidelines. Sure, they sound aspirational and current, but they could be confusing or conceptual. It’s much better to keep this document simple and easy to understand.
Authentic, passionate, and purposeful are painfully overused words in tone of voice guidelines and should be avoided. Not only are these kinds of words broad and boring, but they do little to help your brand sound truly special. It’s also assumed that your brand wants to sound authentic, passionate, and purposeful. Instead of spelling that out, use your tone of voice guidelines to look closer at how you can highlight your brand’s personality and points of difference.
How does a beauty copywriter apply a tone of voice?
A beauty copywriter can help define your brand’s tone of voice or use your existing tone of voice to write on your behalf. They adopt and apply your tone of voice to copywriting tasks such as product descriptions, website copy, blog posts, brand decks, and promotional or marketing material. A beauty copywriter can write with the following tone of voice considerations in mind:
- How does it feel to read this copy?
- How does this copy reflect your brand’s message?
- How might it come across to various target markets?
- How subtly or strongly does your tone of voice need to be used?
- How does this tone of voice relate to your brand’s overall communication goals?
Tone of voice projects can feel overwhelming, but working with a beauty copywriter outside of your business can help you to think differently about how your brand sounds. If you need to create your tone of voice guidelines from scratch or rework them to suit your brand’s current needs, consider working with a beauty copywriter, like Hadley Co.