Our websites need to be many things. Findable, usable and valuable all come to mind. Part of providing a valuable website is creating one that is unique from all the rest.
You can create a unique site by having a unique set of products or services, focusing in on a niche, or having a cool approach. Those are are all fantastic, but sometimes you’re stuck with what you have. What’s a marketing manager to do if they can’t influence what the business offers?Every site has an opportunity to be unique! It’s just a matter of finding your voice.
Regardless of what you do, what industry you are in or what products or services you offer, your site should stand out by the content you publish.
When people think of publishing content, they often think of blogs, whitepapers, etc. But any content you publish is valuable content, and all should be written in your site’s unique voice. Whether it be blog posts, product or service descriptions, about us pages or your mission statement; you can write content that stands out, giving you a style and perspective that is perfect for your audience.
Whenever I give a talk about content strategy, I usually do an exercise that helps the audience understand how different voices sound. I take a dry (but usable) paragraph and rewrite it eight different ways, using a different voice each time. Here is what I came up with:
Initial Content: We offer a wide selection of long-lasting batteries designed to deliver enough power to start any vehicle in any weather condition. We sell durable batteries you can trust.
Humorous: Our car batteries are durable, long-lasting and deliver enough power to start any vehicle in the harshest winter environment. Your escape from the in-law’s is guaranteed every season of year.
Serious: Our car batteries are durable, long-lasting and deliver enough power to start any vehicle in the harshest winter environment. You’re guaranteed to get power to your vehicle when you need it most.
Whimsical: You want a durable, long-lasting battery? Yeah, we got that. There is no natural force in the world that’ll keep our batteries from doing their job. When you need power, we deliver.
Snarky: When headed to the in-law’s you want to be equipped with one of the most powerful car batteries money can buy. Come hell or high water, you’re getting out of there alive!
Flowery: Our car batteries are designed to withstand whatever forces of nature that heaven above (or you know who below) can throw at it. When you turn that key, you’re vehicle will roar to life without so much as a cough or sputter.
Thoughtful: Let’s face it, batteries only fail at the worst possible time, in the worst possible location. We’ve built reliability into all of our car batteries so they deliver the power you need when you need it to get you to where you would rather be.
Brutally honest: Your boss is a jerk, your wife can be a nag and your friends act like idiots. Everybody needs an escape. Where you escape to is up to you, but how is up to us. Our car batteries are durable, long-lasting and deliver enough power to start any vehicle any time any where. We’re ready to go when you are.
Down to earth: We know that you can find cheaper car batteries from those other guys. We’re not competing on price, we’re competing on quality. Our batteries are durable, long-lasting and deliver enough power to start any vehicle in the harshest winter environment. Can you really put a price on that kind of reliability?
Depending on your target audience, not all of these will be appropriate for you. But I’m sure there are one or two options above that will work nicely for your audience, giving you a distinctive voice from your competition.
The point here isn’t to necessarily pick one of the voices from above, but to find your own voice. Be real with your visitors. Whatever voice you use, make sure it builds confidence to your readers that you’re going to take care of their needs. Even the most snarky voice can still present themselves with authority on any given topic.
Whatever voice you choose, and no matter how many writers you have, be sure to use that one voice consistently throughout your site. Products, posts and informational pages should all be utilizing the same voice. You want to create a seamless user experience as your visitors move from page to page on your site.
In the end, your visitors shouldn’t really be able to tell you’re using a voice because that voice is the true you. Use the voice so they can get to know your company in a way that fits their needs.