Imagine if the world was inhabited by a humanoid species, not completely different from our own, except that all of these creatures sounded exactly the same. Without variance in tone, pitch, or inflection, verbal and written communication becomes simply an exchange of information. These creatures’ uniformity is the cause of many of a series of systematic problems. Chief among them are that these creatures cannot discern when they are being addressed, unless specifically called by name. What speaks to one speaks to all, and despite personal preferences, language becomes code.
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We’ve all heard some variation of the phrase, “Just give me the facts.” This is usually a request for more direct communication or a call out for the truth. But with facts and information interpreted differently by every single person, variation in tone and voice becomes necessary to convey more than just facts.
For businesses to convey these nuances of human interpretation to their target audiences, two tools become necessary to create a unique voice when writing: vocabulary and sentence structure. Here are some ways to utilize these important tools to take your copy to the next level.
As a language, English has one of the widest vocabularies used today. This is mainly due to the heavy outside influences of other languages, and English’s proclivity for borrowing words from other cultures. The result is that we speak a language where for each word, there is usually at least one synonym that can be used in its place. Because of cultural associations, many of us make without realizing it, those synonyms can often have vastly different connotations.
For example, look at the differences between these two sentences:
- He gave me his hearty thanks and took my hand.
- He offered his sincerest gratitude and clasped my palm.
Both say the same thing, but they both deliver quite different interpretations. This is because they draw vocabulary from different sources. The first example uses words from native roots, giving it a down-to-earth, direct tone. Meanwhile, the other sentence appears more delicate and sophisticated.
So, how does this help you write better copy? Well, think about who you are talking to. What is their vocabulary like? What don’t they sound like? These are the kinds of considerations that can come in handy with a target market analysis, and can make your copy more effective and more memorable.
The other main consideration to make when developing voice for your copy is how to structure sentences. In general, you want your copy to be readable and direct. This means simpler sentences. You aren’t writing a novel after all, but are we talking about longer thoughts or short ones?
Again, this goes into your target market analysis. How you build your sentences will depend on who your intended audience is, even and especially when it comes to stylistic choices, like the use of fractions. Fractions, while grammatically incorrect, can work well for establishing rhythm or for drawing attention to a specific point. Like most grammar rules, you should only break them when you are trying to draw attention to something. If every single line in this paragraph was a fraction, it would be completely unreadable.
Your voice is your brand. It’s the difference between your audience accepting what you have to say, and them not. When writing copy, you should always pay special attention to your voice to ensure it will resonate with your target audience. By considering vocabulary and sentence structure, you can better tailor the voice of your organization’s copy to the target audience.
Looking for ways to spruce up your copy and take it to the next level? Contact CATMEDIA today!
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).