Talk to Your Website Audience Like You're On a First Date

Getting Your Website Tone of Voice Right

Getting the tone of voice right for your website content is very like a first date. It's a make or break opportunity. If you don't connect, you'll never see your potential lover – or website visitor – again.


It's all about chemistry too with your website when it comes to reader engagement. Not only have you got to look good, you've got to convince your audience you're the right fit for them. That you think like them, speak the same 'language' and that there's something about you that just might make their lives a whole lot better. And you have to tantalise them enough to make them want more of you...

You can find out more about getting your website tone of voice right in my free guide to Best Practice for Effective Business Website Content 2016.

It's Not About You

It's best to resist falling into the trap of writing the content that you think you should write. Instead, visualise yourself as your imaginary customers and write what they'd want to read. To help you do this, try to think:

  1. Who exactly are you talking to?
  2. What’s their problem or what do they want/need from you?
  3. How does your product or service answer this or help them?
  4. What or who else is available?
  5. And having considered this, what makes your product or service unique?

Compare it to how you instinctively try to 'fit' with another person on a date. Former Saatchi & Saatchi copywriter and Founder and Head of Voices at Verbal Identity Chris West has it spot on when he says: “Talk like you would on your first date. Aim for a mix of charisma, aspiration, friendliness, and warmth. Don’t confide that your life is in a mess, or you haven’t showered today — that would be too much reality.”

Website Content: It's the Way that You Say It

It's not just what you say, but the way that you say it that makes for a successful date. And it's the same with your website.

A good way to work out your unique tone of voice is to think if your brand were a person, what would they be like? Write down your brand's personality traits and explain why. Mine, for Connected Copy, for example, are these: friendly, empathetic, approachable, knowledgeable, experienced, professional, creative, committed, versatile, straightforward.

Once you’ve got your own adjectives clear in your head, they’ll help you summon up the right words and also how formal or casual you should be in your language.

Get your tone of voice right, and your website will be a first date success. Fail, and your date will walk off into the sunset (or straight into your competitor's site).

Happy dating. And if you want to learn more about figuring out your brand's tone of voice, fill in the thought-provoking 'Your Brand Values' questionnaire in this brilliant free e-book Watch Your Tone! from Acrolinx.