Your authentic voice matters more than ever

In this alt-fact, ‘fake news’ era, it often seems impossible to distinguish the truth. Outcry at President Trump and some politicians UK side shows what people respect: honesty.

The words we choose play a pivotal role in this. Just look at the ‘Brexit means Brexit’ kerfuffle… Such meaningless phrases awash with controversy do little to inspire confidence.

In fact, should any word-spinning or double-speak temporarily ‘con’ people into believing a promise, credibility is inevitably destroyed when delivery fails. Why risk integrity?

As business owners, it’s an important lesson – that few things matter more than staying true to who we are. Let’s face it: a broken promise is a breach of trust. Once trust is lost, it’s hard to claw back.

How easy is it for a business to create distrust?

Very. Time and again websites make the same mistakes. Crammed full of clichés or trite phrases which ‘everybody’ seems to use might put would-be buyers off.

Take the commonly-used phrase, ‘We take pride in our professional service.’ What does this really mean?

The trouble with empty jargon like this is that it spells out the obvious. Everyone takes ‘pride’ in what they do, don’t they? Plus the opposite to a ‘professional’ service is downright incompetence.

Far better to capture a real voice which communicates specific values than one which says nothing. Here’s how to start…

How to create your voice

Crafting an authentic voice which people connect with and believe in doesn’t come easily at first. Read this story if you’re stuck: What difference do you make?

Next, list what you do – and then explain what difference each one makes to customers. Try saying ‘so what?‘ for each. It’s easier that you think.

Let’s say you are a counsellor. Rather than promote just the features of your business: ‘You can come to me for anxiety counselling,’ re-write it in a more human way to illustrate what someone could gain longterm.

‘Do you want to step beyond the hurt that’s dragging you down? Starting today, you can break free from worry and live a happier, better life.’ 

Think of your copy as a conversation with a person in front of you. By focusing on the reader’s needs in natural, everyday language, you are more likely to be heard.

Step into a customer’s shoes to find your voice

Let’s look at the example from above: ‘We take pride in our professional service.’ Here’s the point. You really mean this – you genuinely care about giving customers the highest quality service.

But it’s not enough to say you are ‘professional‘  as you are not saying what you really offer. You’re not quantifying it. What helps is to step into a customer’s shoes for a moment. Think: what do you do for them?

Let’s imagine you’re a private tutor. Perhaps as part of your service you create resources tailored to a student’s needs.

What’s the big benefit to parents and students? If you simply write, ‘I create personalised worksheets for all students,’ you stop short of promoting benefits.

Personalised learning targeting a child’s weaknesses can help them address their individual problems straightaway, and equip them with skills they need.

The result? A more confident, happier child who feels more empowered. THIS is what you are selling. THIS is the difference.

In your copy, you might write instead: ‘By getting to know what’s behind your child’s learning problems, I then tailor lessons to your child’s exact needs. The result? No more struggling day in day out as they’ll feel much happier and confident than ever before.’

Once you focus your copy on what the customer can get as a result of what you do, you’ll be closer to creating an authentic voice listened to.

Need another nudge?

Still unsure how to reach out with words? Check out ‘Does your web copy really speak to people?’

And when you need a copywriter who can make your voice heard, feel free to get in touch whether you’re in glorious Sussex, Birmingham or Scotland.


Image courtesy of Yvette Lamidey

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