I just return from New Orleans trip celebrating a friend’s birthday. New Orleans is a unique city, and the people are what I love most about it. They aren’t afraid to show off the culture and vibe of the city.
New Orleans doesn’t try to be neutral. It doesn’t hide its notice-me Mardi Gras colors. New Orleans doesn’t serve bland seafood. New Orleans doesn’t slide a watered down drink to you from across the bar. New Orleans isn’t going to softly play its music in the background for you to kinda hear it. That’s why visitors return to N.O. again and again. It’s because we get a chance to understand the REAL N.O.
You should be the same way when you write for your business. Show your personality in your writing.
A lot of small business owners say, “I want to add personality to my writing but I don’t want to seem unprofessional.” It’s clear brand personality is a pain point for small biz owners. You can add personality to your website without getting all Kanye West about it.
Choose to be authentic with your business personality. Gather your ingredients and shake them up like a strong-yet-sweet Hurricane or a spicy bowl of seafood gumbo. Don’t worry if it’s too strong, too sweet or too saucy.
Serve it up and let your ideal customers enjoy it. Messaging and voice are perfect opportunities to add personality to your business brand.
First, a quick note about the fear of offending people.
Don’t worry about offending people. You’re going to do it, even if you think you’re playing it safe. There’s always going to be some lady clutching her faux pearls in response to your ideas about your business. Those people are not your customers. You ain’t Applebee’s. Stop thinking you’re safe by being bland.
Be clear and be fearless about who you’re targeting. And that means you might offend people who don’t fit your ideal customer group.
Messaging and Voice help add personality to your writing.
The way you write your website copy adds a hearty spoonful of personality to your brand. Write in a style the takes your customers feel like you’re talking only to them. Voice and messaging lets you serve flavor through your word choice. Voice and messaging is how you use your words or your tongue to communicate with your ideal audience.
Voice refers to the tone you use to talk with your readers. Maybe they like sugary and sweet. Maybe they need a kick in the ass. Maybe they like no-frills. Maybe they like boastful (you know, like Kanye). Use your ‘brand voice’ to talk to your customers in a way that resonates with them, but is authentic to the brand you’re creating.
Here’s an example. Take a fun brand like Poppin, a company that makes colorful office supplies, targets people who want whimsy in their workspaces. Poppin doesn’t talk to boring corporate types who prefer manila folders and black ink pens. They create and share content like, “ways to color coordinate your desk” and “how to brighten up your cube” on their company social media pages. They make their brand’s personality clear from the first point of contact a customer has with their company.
Messaging is the strategic part of how you talk to your customers. Messaging is the overarching theme you want to communicate. Taking Poppin as an example again, their messaging is probably similar to this: “Work should be as fun and stylish as you are.” Everything Poppin writes about their products supports that idea. Think of messaging as the idea your brand would share if had only one sentence. All your marketing content about your company or products should tie back to that message. And that message should be full of personality. (If you think that messaging relates to your mission statement, you’d be right.)
Your writing gives you a chance to connect with your clients and customers.
Adding personality to your writing makes your customers feel like they’re having a conversation with you. It’s like they’re included in the special thing you’re doing through your company. And like New Orleans, share who you are without hiding the ingredients that make your business unique.