Tone of Writing
The tone of writing in a piece of communication expresses the author’s attitude and disposition towards a particular subject and the audience. Just as in speaking with a particular tone of voice, copywriting requires a tone of writing that strikes the right chord with the intended audience.
There are many different tones of writing, from authoritative, enthusiastic, and informative, to concerned, hesitant, friendly, and knowledgeable. Depending on what the piece of copywriting intends to communicate, the tone of writing will have to accordingly apply. The interesting thing about tone of writing is that it’s already present in any written piece. It isn’t something that is added later on. Tone of writing has to be adjusted to fit the intended purpose of the piece. A competent copywriter will accurately and appropriately represent a written piece by selecting a tone of writing that fits with audience expectations. These are some of the factors that influence tone of writing:
1. Is the tone of writing appropriate for the intended audience?
2. Is the level of formality (or register) right for the intended audience?
3. Is the tone of writing consistently applied across the entire piece of copywriting?
The tone of writing communicates, among other things, the attitude of the author. And the author is not always a person, but an organization, a governing body, a council, or an other entity. These entities have brands — personalities that mimic human characteristics — that require just the right attitude to come through across all communication pieces. The tone of writing of every piece has to consistently communicate the right voice of the entity. A personal tone of writing is best served with informal language that adopts a casual, almost conversational voice which puts audiences at ease. It’s a friendly address that may not strictly follow the rules of language, but is easy enough to understand and engage with. A reflective tone of writing, on the other hand, is best used for copywriting pieces that evoke thought and questions, and create a contemplative atmosphere. The register can still be informal but the tone of writing will become more serious depending on the content of the piece. A formal tone of writing will reduce the amount of personal involvement, often using the third person in writing, and will be supported by facts and references. Verification figures prominently in formal pieces and the tone of writing has to imbue a sense of credibility and structure that the intended audience can rely on. A dispassionate tone of writing will also help eliminate personal, more informal engagement.
Whatever the purpose of your communication is, the tone of voice is critical to determining audience reaction and engagement. Consider the piece a speech and adopt an appropriate tone of writing. The best copywriters know how to weave a consistent tone of writing through every piece. It’s the secret behind creating compelling copywriting.