I am Stefani Lefler, the owner and designer behind Stefani Jessica: a Michigan based design studio that serves business owners worldwide. Through design, strategy, and content creation, I create a confident branded voice that speaks to your audience.
I share business, design, and copywriting tips with a bit of resources that I use and brand reveals mixed in.
For the final installment of the Custom Brand series, I wanted to share with you the biggest lesson I’ve learned within my own business through my own rebrands, launches, and transformations. It has to do with the content I was sharing. In the span of 3 years in business, I’ve worked under 3 different names. I know…branding 101 mistake right there. But now that I feel fully connected under my current name, I looked back and my name and brand didn’t have as much impact on my business as I would have thought, in the negative sense.
I was still able to build a following, work with awesome clients, and have the ability to be a full-time business owner. The one facet of my brand that has stayed consistent is my voice. And I don’t mean my actual, comes out of my mouth voice. The way I speak to my audience and my message has been the same because my heart never changed.
I spoke a little bit about your brand voice in part 3 of the series last week, but I’d like to expand on that today because you actually need a branded voice much more than you think.
A brand voice is the combination of your word choice, tone, and message when communicating with your audience online. Pulling from the way you naturally speak in real life is the best place to start when trying to come across authentically. Keeping a similar tone and message throughout your content creates not only consistency, but a connection with others reading your content.
Your brand voice can also be used when you are creating video content for your brand. You wouldn’t want to have a disconnect from your written words and how you speak on camera when it’s a business-related video.
My clients usually have the hardest time with establishing their voice during our process. This causes them to feel unsure of what content to create for their business. I’ve tried to simplify the steps we take to alleviate their stress. There are 3 basics to keep in mind when thinking of how you want to sound.
Including (but not limited to) greetings, farewells, and how you address your audience, using certain words consistently creates a pattern that your audience will start to notice and pertain to your content. A good place to start when crafting a list of words you’d like to use often is your everyday speech. Are there phrases you say constantly? Things you quote or say so much that your family and friends roll their eyes when you open your mouth? Awesome! Start rolling those voice quirks into your writing.
Melyssa Griffin is at the tip-top of her game when it comes to keywords. She uses similar phrases when she writes and when you view her videos and webinars. Her about page gives a perfect preview of her personality through keywords like, “yo” and fun phrases like, “get your learnin’ on” when presenting her online courses. You can tell she is being genuine and has a fun personality while still keeping it professional.
The way you choose to come across can vary greatly depending on your type of business and who you’d like to attract as clients. Tone consists of the flow and little surprises within your text that share a bit of your heart. Word choice is again important, but this is more of an overall way you speak to your audience than keywords.
For instance, you can have a quirky and hilarious tone like Laura Joseph Huston of Paper & Honey. Laura’s tone and content will make you smile, laugh out loud, and feel like you have to hang out with her in real life. (I mean, she introduces herself by mentioning she has a lot of “paper-feelings”…) Her personality is front and center.
On the other hand, Lauren Hooker of Elle & Co. has a very different tone. She is more measured in her words, always staying professional. But she always has a way to infuse warmth and understanding into her writing. You feel that she gets you. Lauren’s drive to provide help to you when you’re feeling stuck just feels like something a friend would do. I love her way of turning around any type of information she shares back to you, the reader (like when she asks, “Maybe you can relate?”).
The final and easiest step is keeping a consistent message through your content. When you start a business and figure out your WHY, mission statement, all that good stuff, there is almost always a deeper purpose to your business. Being a small business owner is hard. I mean, really difficult at times. But there is something that drives you to keep going. Infusing your message and purpose into your content is the way you can truly connect with your audience. Whether it’s on your website, social media, or a sweet handwritten note in a client gift, being open and creating from the heart can be the best way to build a cohesive brand voice while you’re working through the other, more difficult stages.
If you know Kat Schmoyer, you know she is passionate, kind, and #allthethings (that are wonderful). Her heart is truly in serving others and her message, tone, and keywords all come together to make it feel like you’re always speaking face-to-face with her. I read her newsletter or see an Instagram story from her and I just know it will be focused come across as kind and has a feminine southern charm you just fall in love with. She shares the not so glamorous moments to build a connection. Her message is that we all don’t always have it together. But follow your heart, and you’ll be going in the right direction.
As you can see, you’ll be using your brand voice the most of any element of your brand (even more than your visuals or strategy!). Use your words correctly and you can build trust from your audience and be seen as an expert within your industry. And remember, you’ll be using content in a lot of places in your business. Just a few examples: website, blog, newsletter, social media captions and comments, handwritten communication, email, videos, webinars, live videos, etc.
Do you notice yourself using certain words and phrases frequently in your writing? Let me know in the comments what you favorite phrase is to use. Mine is usually whatever meme is current and hip at the time I say it.