Our tone of voice

Welcome to the Brilliant Noise tone of voice.

We want to share this with you because we think it’s a great way to show our brand personality, so you get a better idea of what it’s like to work with us.

All brands need a robust tone of voice and style guide to help them stand out from the crowd. We use this every day as a guide for making our writing better, and demonstrating our principals to the world.

Consistent style and voice is key to effective content. We like to practice what we preach and love to help our clients create impactful content marketing. This tone of voice guide is an example of how we create value with every sentence we write.

How do we define our tone?

Our tone of voice is always three things:

  • Engaged
  • Clear
  • Bold

We want to create useful, short, sharp content for our audience. We don’t want to isolate people with our writing by being over-complicated, over-formal and over-academic.

It’s important to be engaged to show our passion and enthusiasm for our industry.

It’s important to be clear so we’re easily understood.

And it’s important to be bold in our tone so we land our points in a confident way.

Here’s how we make our writing engaged, clear and bold:

Engaged

We’re friendly: We show that we’re approachable and positive. This means using the odd exclamation point.

Example: A few exclamations points are fine! But when we use them in every other sentence, they can seem insincere.

Exclamation points don’t belong in every kind of writing we do. For example, we don’t use them in proposal/pitch decks.

Example: We’ll increase your organic traffic.

Rather than: We’ll increase your organic traffic!


We show how passionate we are: We’re interested and curious and we let that show in our writing.  

This means we avoid using too many adverbs because they can weaken what we’re trying to say. Instead, we use strong verbs and adjectives to show passion.

Example: We’ll create the perfect tone-of-voice guide for your brand.

Rather than: We’ll create a helpfully clear tone-of-voice guide for your brand.

Clear

We avoid jargon, buzzwords or cliches: We don’t assume knowledge.

This means we use simple language and don’t use analogies or acronyms without explaining them.

This also means we avoid industry-specific words in our writing like ‘backlog’, ‘card sort’ or ‘agile’. If you can think of a more simple word to use, use that. Or describe what you mean.

Example: ‘card sort’ would be: ‘we’ll use cards with different words on them to help you decide what your brand is and what it isn’t’.

Example: ‘agile’ would be need an explanation of what it means as a working discipline if we’re using it in that context: ‘we work in an agile framework. This means we make sure we have minimum constraints for maximum productivity’.

Example: we avoid buzzwords like: ‘leverage’ and ‘safeguard’ and we avoid cliches like: ‘blue sky thinking’ and ‘in our book’.


We use short sentences and short paragraphs: Every word matters. And short sentences and paragraphs have impact. Plus they’re easy to read. We don’t make our readers work hard to understand what we’re trying to say.

This means we always use contractions.

Example: ‘we’re’, ‘they’re’ ‘you’re’

Rather than: ‘we are’, they are’, ‘you are’

And we avoid using complicated, dense sentences.

Example: We will look at how customers currently use the site. Doing this will mean we can understand the search and content opportunities. And we’ll be able to plan a successful strategy based on the data.

Rather than: Looking at how customers and channel partners currently engage with the site will enable us to understand where the opportunities for content and search engine optimisation sit and plan our strategy inline with this.

We make sure every word matters because every word is a chance to make an impact or be useful. This means we try not to repeat the same words or sentiment in one piece of writing.


We use the active voice: The active voice is strong, clear, direct and gets to the point. It makes it clear who is doing what.

With the active voice, sentences follow this pattern: subject (the person doing) > verb (the action) > object (the thing the subject is doing the verb to).

Example: Sarah plays guitar.

In the passive voice, the subject and object switch.

Example: The guitar is played by Sarah.

We talk directly to our audience: We imagine our readers as we write – where they’ll be and how they’ll be feeling. We use our personas to create content our audience will love and we ask ourselves what the value is for them.

This means that if there’s a particular insight we know will be particularly useful for our clients then we say that first.

And we address the readers directly as ‘you’ and Brilliant Noise as ‘us’. This is particularly true when it comes to calls-to-action.

Example: You can email us at hello@brilliantnoise.com

Rather than: Please email Brilliant Noise at hello@brilliantnoise.com


We’re not clinical: Being human means we’re not cold or distant. We’re always approachable and helpful in our writing. We can do this by always giving options for more reading on a topic and avoiding formal language.

Example: Use ‘give’ instead of ‘provide’, ‘let’ instead of ‘enable’ and ‘get’ instead of ‘obtain’.

Bold

We say what we think: It doesn’t mean we think we’re infallible – we’re confident enough to take a position that people may disagree with.

This means we show confidence in our writing by using fewer qualifiers, like “maybe”, “it could be”, “possibly”, “in our opinion” and  “we believe”.

Instead, we make statements.

Example: People are at the heart of everything we do.

Rather than: We believe people should be at the heart of everything we do.


We use the present and future tense: Writing in the present tense shows we’re not passive – we’re engaged and enthusiastic. It gives our writing pace and a sense of urgency. And helps us avoid sounding indirect or vague which takes more effort to read and understand.

Example: Present tense: ‘We’re hosting the Brighton Podcast Meetup, get a ticket here’

Example: Passive tense: ‘The Brighton Podcast Meetup is being hosted in our office. Get a ticket here’


We say what we mean: We cut to the point and call things what they are to avoid ambiguity.

Example:

What we’ll do:

  • Keyword research
  • Content optimisation
  • Develop a Tone-of-voice guide

Rather than:

Activities:

  • Identify and implement content optimisation quick wins across the Buying Energy pages including, metadata and keywords
  • Leading to creation of detailed keyword lists to be able to provide regular updates on their performance
  • Identify and ensure consistency of tone of voice across all content

Useful writing tips and tools

Hemingway app – Paste in your copy and it’ll tell you when your sentence structure is too dense, check for complicated words and the passive voice.


David Ogilvy’s ‘How to write’ memo – 10 tips on how to write in a clear and bold way.

If you like to talk to us about developing your own tone of voice, get in touch below.