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EPISODE 44: The ROI of Brand Voice

by Jul 27, 2021Podcast

In this episode we will cover:

  • Why we created the Copywriting Character Quiz
  • The benefits of capturing brand voice for writers
  • The benefits of capturing brand voice for businesses
  • How you can start capturing brand voice

Brand voice is the North Star bread and butter. In this episode, we’ll discuss how we first recognized the power of capturing a brand’s unique voice, as well as the benefits investing in learning about brand voice can have for your business. Then, we’ll tell you how to get started on your own brand voice journey!

 

Why We Created the Copywriting Character Quiz

Our copywriting business had a rocky start. Even though we knew how to create content according to best practices, we noticed a few problems come up early on:

  1. Tons of revisions. Our clients were asking for A LOT of revisions. We realized that even though our content was strategically solid, it didn’t always sound like our individual clients. And this led to…
  2. Low client retention. With the back-and-forth of the revision process taking so long, we didn’t have a lot of clients itching to stick around.
  3. A lot of wasted time and energy. We poured all our time and energy into seemingly endless cycles of revisions… and then had to give even more trying to recruit new clients when the old ones didn’t stick around… only to have the cycle begin again.

 

We realized we needed an actual system to capture brand voice—that if we could focus on learning to sound like our clients, we could break out of an unproductive cycle {and create better content and client relationships along the way}.

Our clients wanted to feel seen, and to know that their content truly represented them. That what they put out in the world sounded like their brand, not like everyone else’s. 

And that’s how the Copywriting Character Quiz was born!

 

The Benefits of Brand Voice

So, capturing brand voice as a writer makes for happier clients who feel their content truly represents them. But what else can diving into brand voice do for you?

Benefits for writers

  1. Reduced revision time. You’ll get content right faster, and with less back-and-forth.
  2. Increased retention. Your clients will be happier with the content you create and your process overall, which means they’re more likely to stick around for more projects.
  3. Increased profitability. After you impress your clients with your ability to capture their unique voice, your credibility goes up. And when you present yourself as an expert, you can charge expert-level prices.
  4. More time and energy. When you stop relying on your intuition for every project and start relying on a specific process, you free up a lot of brainpower, time, and energy you can use on other things.

 

Benefits for businesses

  1. Your content is outsourceable {and frankly, just better}. Once you can define, describe, and duplicate your brand’s voice, you can outsource your content without fear, knowing no matter who writes it, it will sound like you. And that’s way better than sounding like everyone else.
  2. You can regain your time. When you’re confident your writer can sound like you, you can spend less time revising content and more time doing what you’re really meant to be doing for your business.

 

Ready to start capturing brand voice?

Check out our Core Voice workbook—your crash course in capturing voice through Core Messaging, Core Voice, and Core Stories.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Jessi:
Welcome to the Brand Your Voice Podcast, where we’re digging into how you can create personality-driven content that connects and converts. I’m Jessi…

Marie:
…and I’m Marie. We’re the co-founders of North Star Messaging + Strategy, where we support business owners in outsourcing content without sacrificing authenticity.

Jessi:
Every brand has a unique voice that sets it apart. We're digging into how to capture the way your brand communicates from the words you use to the stories you tell. So you can create more compelling content that strategically helps you meet your business goals.

Marie:
And if you choose to outsource that content, you'll be able to do so with confidence, knowing your brand voice is in good hands and you can reclaim your time. We're so glad you're here and hope you enjoy this episode.

Jessi:
Alright welcome back to another episode. And this is the first episode after we did a series going into each of the copywriting characters or content personalities as we sometimes call them that we use as a foundation for understanding brand brand voice. It's sort of the first touch point where we as writers start to understand the voice of our clients. And I'm mentioning that now, because if you haven't listened to those episodes, I really recommend you go back and give them a listen. You don't need to have listened to them to really get some value out of our topic today, which is the ROI of brand voice. But if you find that you are struggling to truly nail the voice of your clients, those episodes may be really helpful. So I want to just circle back to something we talked about way back at the beginning of that series, which is why we created the copyrighting character quiz to begin with and what it's sort of led to what it's turned into.
So back in the early days of our business, we ran into a few different roadblocks with clients. We were spending a lot of time in revisions and what we noticed over time was they weren't revisions around the structure of the copy or around the best practices of the copy. Marie and I went back then, it was just the two of us. We knew how to create content that really followed best practices. The revision requests you were receiving were really more around voice. They were more around, well, this sounds good, but it doesn't sound like me. And so we started to notice this pattern and realized, okay, there's something happening with our intake process, but we're not really figuring out the voice before we write. We're figuring out the voice after we write. And that's a problem because that means we're spending more time in revisions.
It also means that our clients are less likely to want to come back and work with us again, because the more revisions there are, the more frustrating to this for them. And on top of that, we didn't really have a process to share with our clients. We just had, we're good writers. We know what we're doing. We know how to write for these types. So you should trust us. So overall it ended up being a, not very sustainable system for us. And this is something that I mentioned because it's something that I've seen in other content creators too. Everyone sort of has their thing that they're really good at. And even with that talent, if you can't nail the voice, often it can lead to a lot of frustration on the client end. And so we realized we needed a system for capturing voice. Otherwise it didn't matter how good we were at everything else.
And that's where the copywriting character burst became created. It was just a way for us in a few quick questions to nail down, okay, this person, they're more of a rebel than they are a nurturer. This person, they're more of an architect, whatever it was, it gave us a starting point. And that's really all the copy writing character quiz is as a starting point, the brand voice process we developed from that is much larger and much more nuanced, but at the end of the day, the copyrighting character quiz and the entire system that we developed out of, it really became our way to help our clients feel heard, seen, and represented.

Marie:
And it helped us too, right? Because we were able to reclaim a lot of that creative time and energy that was spent punting things back and forth, going through endless rounds of revision, getting frustrated, right. And it also positioned us as experts so that, and really sort of, you know, that, that missing link that our clients have been looking for when they'd hired other copywriters before. And that meant that we were able to charge more because we had a more valuable service for them. So we believe through our own experience, that brand voice for your clients is fully outsourceable to you, the writer. But it has to be captured first, there has to be system. And once you are able to do that, you become an indispensable service provider or an indispensable member of your client's team. Or if you're a writer who's working as an employee somewhere, right. You become an indispensable team member. It's, that's really, that's the secret sauce. That's the magic thing that a lot of people feel like no one can ever really nail this. And once you do, it really changes the game for your clients.

Jessi:
Yeah. You know, and I know there are some writers out there right now, we're thinking, well, I do nail my client's voice. I just, I do it intuitively and I do a pretty good job of it. And if that's in your skillset, then that's first of all, incredible and great. You know, I think in Marie, in my experience and Ray's experience, we could do that some of the time, usually with clients whose natural voices were a little closer to our natural voices. And I want to challenge you a little bit. If you feel like you're the type of person who can intuitively just nail your client's voice. I want to challenge you to develop that system that Marie was just talking about because the more you grow, the harder it is to hold all those voices in your head at once. So if you really want to create a robust business that is truly supporting your dreams, you're going to want to have not just the intuitive understanding of their voice, but something actually documented so that you can pivot between clients if you are kind of a solo person doing it yourself, or if you ever want to grow your team so you can hand those voices off to other people easily. And having that process allows all of that to run more smoothly. We've found over the years, that the more you try to keep things in your head without documenting them, anything, doesn't just have to be voice the more you're setting yourself up for frustration down the road.

Marie:
Yeah. And, you know, I mean, I certainly suffer from like a sort of, I call it like Swiss cheese brain when I get overwhelmed, like things just start falling out of my brain that were once there things that were once easy for me. Or even like, you know, obviously we don't like this to happen, but if you're having to, you have an extra, a whole bunch of extra content to create, and you're kind of working extra hours and you feel your brains fizzling a little, it's so much easier to get through that when you have a little cheat sheet that you've created for yourself sitting right beside you. And to go back to, I think something you were saying earlier, Jessi, just going back to sales. When you're able to talk about the fact that you have a process, it's not that you're just like this intuitive, magical unicorn, but maybe you are, but then that's led you to create a process that you go through. Now, the sudden you're positioning yourself as someone was frameworks, an expert, a thought leader, not just a content churner.

Jessi:
Yeah. So this goes back to something, we talked about a few episodes ago where we want to encourage you if you're a content creator out there to kind of ditch that freelancer mindset. And that idea that they're a writer is just, you know, a writer for hire. And it's just, you know, someone hires the writer to do the thing, and then it makes them feel more expendable. What you want to be as a content creator is indispensable. You want to be someone who your clients rely on and really have a relationship where both parties feel heard and understood. And everyone feels like they are contributing to the shared success of the business rather than just, oh, I'm writing a blog post and then running away. Or maybe I'm writing a bunch of blog posts, but I'm never really in the, the full picture of the business or the full picture of the client.
And so with the brand voice, this one small piece you're able to do so much more. Yes, you can reduce the revision time means you're getting it right sooner and faster. And in fact, one of the things Marie and I did after we started this process is we actually limited our clients to two rounds of revision and no more. Occasionally we'll slip a third one in under special circumstances, but for the most part, you know, we tell people, you know, we have this whole process at the beginning of our engagement to get the voice right. You're only gonna need two rounds of revision. And for the most part, they do only need two rounds, as opposed to early on where we were doing 5, 6, 7 rounds of revision and pulling our hair out because we felt like we were stuck in the project and our clients felt like the project wasn't moving forward and it was impeding our ability to make sales.

Marie:
Yeah. And so that, that has also allowed our clients pretension rate to go up. So when you implement a process like this to really capture the brand voice of your clients, your clients feel that you're indispensable, they want to come back for more. They want to stick around. They like working with you better. You're able to charge more, right? Like I was saying, you're able to position yourself as the expert. You're able to really free up your time and your energy relying less on just your intuition can really free up that creative brain space and energy for other things. I mean, for us, for instance, once we- it was basically the year that we created our brand voice process, that we were able to finally sit down and write and revise a novel that we co-wrote. I mean, there's no way we would've had the energy to do that with that level of client load ahead of then this, I mean, it's, the benefits are huge for you as the writer, but the benefits are there for the clients too, right? Jessi.

Jessi:
Yeah, absolutely. So if you are listening to this and you're not a writer, but you're thinking about hiring writers, think about how they capture voice. Because if you hire a writer who has a process around brand voice, that means that you're going to be getting better content, right from the, get-go. Not just content that's aligned with their expertise in writing sales pages or writing email sequences or wherever they are an expert, but also content that does that while sounding like you. You'll also because of that, because you're spending less time revising the writers content, be able to spend more time doing what you do best, whatever that is. So if you're a coach, you can spend more time coaching your clients. If you are delivering workshops, you can spend more time doing that instead of looking at the content that you were trying to outsource anyway, and you also gain a trusted team member who gets you.
And honestly, I think that content creators, when you really let them in and allow them to immerse themselves in your voice, which includes stories, they can get you more than anyone else on your team. Because they are charged with representing you and really understanding not just what you do, but the deeper why's behind, why you are doing it, why it's valuable to you, what your vision is and all of that. And so if you find the right content creator, who's really focused on voice and understanding you on that deep level, you're going to get a team member who you do not want to ever let go of.

Marie:
Yeah. So true. So we've talked a lot about the benefits, if this is sounding intriguing to you, and you're probably wondering how do I implement it? The rest of this episode's for you. So, as Jessi mentioned, our copyrighting character quiz for us is the first piece of our larger brand voice process. It's really just the first step. But we've created a really holistic expansive system for documenting the brand voice of our clients. This includes three different major components, which is core messaging, core stories and core voice. But we revisit this document periodically because we're always learning things. In fact, we thought we pretty much perfected it. And then here just a few weeks ago, we're in there adding a few more tweaks updates, you know, things that we used to improve it, right? This document has become the go-to resource for sounding like our client.
And so some of the things that we recommend you do is actually ask the questions in a meeting. Don't just ask them to write down, you know, who their audience is, or, don't ask, you know, don't just look at their current website, copied it, figure out the answer to this. And don't just take like an op-ed that they've written for their vision. Right. Actually have a conversation because they're going to be self editing themselves a lot more in writing than they are when you're talking, because you can't roll back time, right. In a conversation.

Jessi:
Yeah, absolutely. And if you really don't know where to start, you have not ever thought about documenting brand voice, or maybe you have, but it feels intimidating. Feel free to use our quiz as a starting point. I want to caution you not to have that be the only thing you do, because it, it does give you a really great strong starting point. And you can dig into those past podcast episodes for more information on how to leverage the voice of your client based on those archetypes. And we really want you to create a process that you can own. That is your processes is based on what you as a writer need for your clients. And so that's where follow that quiz up by getting on a call with your client, ask them those questions and not just listening, but also listening to what they're not saying.
What's what's happening between the lines, where are they maybe holding back a little bit and document your findings, keep it written down somewhere. It doesn't have to be fancy just in a Google doc somewhere, make sure it's written down. And if this is a client that you are retaining for a long period of time, maybe you work with them on a monthly basis and you're writing consistent content for them. Make sure you have a note in your calendar somewhere to revisit that document a couple of times a year, and just add new stories that you found, add new words, new, anything that ties into their voice. Keep that document as a living breathing document because no business is static. Your business isn't, your client's businesses. And the voice is going to change. The stories are going to evolve and you want to make sure that that document is representative of that.

Marie:
Yeah, exactly. So we have a resource. This can be your homework, if you desire. I mean, a, your homework can be to just start, start doing this, right. You can start with the copyrighting character quiz if you'd like, but regardless, just have the questions in a conversation with your client and record your findings.
But if you're looking for some specific guidance to support you, I mentioned that we have three different components of our brand voice process, core messaging, core stories, and core voice. We've developed a workbook for you as a writer for the core voice component. This will help you come up with that process of your own, that you can use to ask the questions that are needed to really illuminate at least begin really illuminating what is the brand voice of your client. This digs into specifics around like words and phrases that they hate, because trust me, a lot of them have really strong opinions on that. And it goes into higher level things where you do need to exercise those reading between the lines skills. So how do they get at the core of voice work book Jessi?

Jessi:
Yeah, absolutely. So this gives you interview questions to start with. And so if you go to northstarmessaging.com/core-voice, you can access that workbook. It is a 47 as of this recording, dollar product, but you can get $10 off with the code brand voice. And so that's, one word by the way, yes, one word brandvoice, and that'll be in the show notes as well. So it is northstarmessaging.com/core-voice, and the $10 off code is brandvoice.

Marie:
One word, keeping it simple for you. Don't feel like you must pay money in order to go through this process. Just know that that resource is there for you. If you'd like that support. And you'd like to get there a little bit faster and you'd like to lean into the things that we've learned honed. And, I don't want to say perfected, but honed over the last number of years. They've been really supportive for us. So regardless of how you approach it, I hope that you are really believing in the ROI of brand voice at this point for you as the writer and for your clients. It's really all in all one of the most important pieces of our work. And I think if it's something that you're leading into intuitive process right now, or something that you feel like you don't have a grasp over yet, going through this process very intensionally is going to have huge dividends for you and your business and for your clients.
Thanks for joining us for this episode of the Brand Your Voice Podcast. Make sure to visit our website, northstarmessaging.com, where you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Spotify, and more.

Jessi:
If you found value in this episode, we'd love for you to leave us a review on iTunes and share it with your friends. Thank you, and happy content creating.

For additional content strategy and branding tips, check out northstarmessaging.com/blog. Also, please tag us on Instagram and let us know you’re out there! @northstarmessaging 


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