Scream in my face with your tone of voice

As a writer, I regularly have to adapt my tone of voice to fit clients’ demands. I also rarely use the sentence opening ‘as a writer’. Why would anyone, unless they’re an obnoxious knob of the highest order?

Tone of voice is important. I’ll assume, if you’re reading this, that you already know that. You’re not here because you’re a novice – you’re here because you’re an expert in advertising, looking to pick up insights from another leader in your field. No really, that’s why you’re here. Really.


So you already know that tone of voice matters, and I won’t go on about it because you’re not an idiot, are you?

What I will go on about, and what the point of this blog post is, is that your individual tone of voice is just as important as that of the brands you work for.

Oh Ash, look at you, throwing in a plot twist like that. You must have an MA in Creative Writing or something.

Well I do, and sarcastic, arrogant remarks like that are what keeps my tone of voice different from the ones I work in. I rarely get the chance to write something like that in the world of through the line marketing, but when I’m writing my own stuff I try and keep that tone consistent.

Why Ash? Do you want people to hate you?

No, imaginary reader, I don’t, but I do want people to know that the words they’re reading are mine. You should want that too. With these next few paragraphs I’m going to explain why it’s important.

Why it’s important.

See, sub-headers never lie.
When you’re working with a brand, you want the marketing to be screaming their name. The audience should be in no doubt whose ads they’re looking at.

The same is true of you, and it’s true for the very same reason:

Standing out.

While your brands want to stand out to sell, sell, sell, and keep their commercial engines ticking over with the profits gained from the sometimes unrelinquishing wallets of their customers, you want to stand out because, well, why wouldn’t you?

If you’re freelance, standing out has obvious benefits. But even if you’re agency side, having a distinctive tone of voice is still bloody useful. Not only does it differentiate you from your colleagues and make you the most witty responder to the all-staff emails, it also gives you a reason to be there.

If you sound exactly like everyone else, you’re just offering what anyone else can offer. If your personality doesn’t stand out, who’s to say your work will either?

Sure, it might be great. I don’t know that, and how can I? Your tone of voice isn’t telling me to expect anything different.

Now there’s every chance I’m talking out of my arse – naively walking down blind allies just to see where I end up is another thing that keeps my tone, erm, refreshing? – but hey, what if I’ve got a genuine point? Wouldn’t that be fun?

It’s certainly true of what I know. I’ve worked with a lot of people, and the ones I can remember all had a distinctive tone of voice. They might have been hilarious, they might have been loud, they might have been so far up their own arse that they formed their own human centipede. Whatever it was that made them stand out, it worked.

Can I remember you? No, we’ve possibly never met, but if we ever do I want to be blown away by your tone. LEARN FROM ME. THIS IS NOT FOR MY OWN BENEFIT. (It is.)