Sound It Out
Writers are oftentimes stereotyped as brooding, tortured or starving artists. Such caricatures often describe writers plagued by writer’s block and the inability to “find their voice.” Of course, when one thinks of this sort of writer, poets and playwrights often come to mind. However, in order for any writer to be effective, no matter their medium, they must first find their voice. There is a particular voice for every kind of writing that is produced. For instance, the “voice” of an encyclopedia would be authoritative, assured and even. The voice of a catalogue for fine jewelry would be sophisticated and elegant.
If you have a website, you may ask yourself, “What is the voice of my site?” In order to have consistent, reliable text on your site, your site’s voice is a very important quality to identify. In many cases, website owners and administrators can recognize appropriate content when they see it, but they may never have considered and defined the tone and rhythm of the text they publish. This oversight can create problems when outsourcing content.
Such problems, however, can be largely avoided by determining your website’s voice. Once you have a good definition for the intended voice of your site, you can hire a number of copywriters to supply you with text and still offer consistent content. In order to help you get started, the following are a few descriptions of imaginary websites and their “voices.”
Site: Earth’s Blessing: Natural Gifts for Home and Body – This is a retail site that offers organic, natural, eco-friendly products that are packaged specifically to be given as gifts. They offer baskets of products that range in price from $35 to $180. They also sell some more expensive pieces of home decor and jewelry.
Voice: The text on this site should be calming, uplifting and inspire visitors to purchase products. The hard sell is nowhere to be found in this voice. Rather, product descriptions, blog entries and sales pitches should all focus squarely on the merits of the items.
Site: Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! – This site is focused on helping people find jobs as quickly as possible. It was inspired by the recent economic downturn and hinges on the idea that people simply want to get work as quickly as possible.
Voice: The voice of this site should be fast-paced. It should be short and sweet. It should be to the point. The job descriptions should be brief and informational, with very little fluff. The content should all be positive, motivational and focused on action. It may include numerous sub-headings for easy reading and reference. It may also include lists so information can be conveyed as effectively as possible. In musical terms, the text for this site should be staccato.