establishing the right tone

Set the right tone in your writing

That’s not the right tone – I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve heard this. Then again, when you work at an agency and your client’s products range from scientific instruments to shingles tone can definitely be a challenge. Yes, most clients provide brand guidelines that contain this information, but having successful content that resonates with your audience means sometimes doing some extra research.

Let’s start with a basic question – what exactly is tone? Tone refers to the attitude towards the reader and the subject of the message.

Signs of a successful tone:

  • Prevents you from alienating the reader
  • Influences user’s attitude
  • Helps your message resonate with your audience

The 2 types of tones:


Formal tone means less personal and more complex. Avoid addressing readers as you, try not to use abbreviated words and use longer sentences.


Informal writing is conversational, similar to how you speak every day – it can include slang (I feel old saying slang), figures of speech, contractions and shorter sentences. This approach is more personal, making the audience feel as though you are speaking directly to them.

Determining which tone to use is dependent on what you’re writing and who you’re writing it for. For example, if you are writing for a medical practice, you’re going to use more technical terms and formal language. For instance, I’m not going to go to a doctor with a bunch of words on their website that can be found on Urban Dictionary.

However, if you’re writing for a beauty business, it’s definitely more acceptable and appealing to write in a more conversational tone, using relatable and popular words.

Remember, tone depends on what you are writing about and who you are writing for. If your building a business, it’s about establishing a voice and image. Give your audience a familiar voice of authority once they’ve identified with and acclimated to the tone you will be using in your content.


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