I often encourage clients to read their marketing content aloud. If you feel like a jerk saying it, then it shouldn’t be part of your website, advertising or other media. Truth is, people don’t want to feel marketed to, they want to feel understood. The way you talk to customers/clients/job candidates should make them feel valued and acknowledged. That condescending marketing voice isn’t going to get them there.
So what is a marketer to do? I mean, aside from reading your content out loud? I recommend taking some time to consider what you want people to feel about your brand. How would you want them to describe it? When I have thought about this for my own marketing, words like “irreverent”, “clever”, “down-to-earth” and “approachable” inspire my style.
By generating these words, you can define your voice; how others experience you via your marketing. Once you document a little about your voice, you can think through how to execute on it via different channels. For example, although my voice attributes are consistent (that consistency helps you build your brand), they are applied differently depending on medium. Irreverence on a blog looks different than irreverence on a website, or an email – at least for me. People are comfortable with a little more sassiness on Facebook, a more casual approach on Twitter. For each channel, consider your audience and their needs and intentions, then adapt your interpretation of your voice accordingly.
Oh yeah, then – whatever you write – read it out loud.