This guest post was written by Abby Herman.
As a creative entrepreneur, you want a brand that stands out from the crowd. One that really speaks to your audience and the people you want to attract. One that is you, through and through.
And so, you worked with a branding expert and graphic designer to develop that picture-perfect logo, those visuals and that website that you just love to look at.
But that’s where it ended. The visuals.
Developing your brand isn’t a simple, one-and-done process. If you’ve worked with someone who specializes in branding, you know that.
There’s the quizzes. The conversations. The discussions about color. The deep dives into where you want your business to go. It can be an emotional process, but it’s effective! (Kudos to all those superwoman branding experts out there who can pull a dream business out of fellow business owners!)
But when you take your new brand and new website and start creating content for your biz, does something feel off?
It’s hard to take that visual aspect of your brand, or even the personality you have on calls and in in-person networking, and apply it to the text you know you have to use online. You know the words you’d use to describe your brand, but how do you get it down on “paper” (aka the computer screen)?
First of all, I’m well aware that not everyone writes their own content. (I mean, hello, I write content for business owners every single day. Haha!) But you still want your brand to stand out and you still need your voice and personality to remain consistent—no matter who’s doing the writing.
Enter the content style guide. Large publications use style guides to ensure their professional writers write consistently across the board. Think: magazines, newspapers, online journals, blogs, etc.
Your content deserves the same attention to detail. On your own website, you’re creating content that needs to attract your ideal audience—those clients and customers who you love to work with. Consistency of brand and message is key.
When you take everything you know about your brand, your business and the message you want to put out there in the world and put it all in one place, you have your content style guide.
Creating that style guide takes time, and it’s an ever-evolving project that will change and grow as you build your business. But you can start with a brand personality inventory—revising some of those things you know about your brand and your message that you may have forgotten.
- What’s the personality of your brand? What words would you use to describe your brand and the “feel” you want people to get when they work with you or buy your products? This should really be the baseline of what you do and write. As you’re planning and writing your content, ask yourself if it matches with your personality.
- What “unusual” words do you use often when you’re talking to clients and customers? These are words that, when your clients hear them, they think of you. For example, words like awesomeness or heart-centered or jazzed up. So not necessarily words you’ve never heard of before, but words that you “ooze” when you’re talking.
- What is the over-arching mission and/or vision of your business? What do you ultimately hope to accomplish, as a result of being a business owner? Think about the professional and personal goals you have.
- How do you want your audience to feel after they are done reading your content? Inspired? Invigorated? Peaceful? Ready to go out and take action?
- What is your business not? What do you not want to accomplish? This is important to identify because, in reality, we all have bad days and bad weeks. And sometimes what we’re carrying with us in our heads can come out in our writing. So identify what you don’t want to come across in your content—whether that’s being salesy, an aura of negativity, a feeling that you’re an “expert” and know all, etc.
Answering these questions for yourself is just the start of building your brand personality’s voice, and just one part of your content style guide. But it’s a jumping-off point, and one you should revisit regularly to make sure all your content is on point—whether you’re writing it or hiring it out to a copywriter or virtual assistant.
Abby M. Herman is a copywriter and content coach, helping business owners to find and develop their online voice to help attract the clients of their dreams.