Welcome back to our series on how to create a thought-provoking legal blog (a series of blogs that is, not just one or two and then it is forgotten about) that people will actually read. In this article, I am going to talk about creating a tone of voice that reflects who you are as a law firm.
A tone of voice reflects how the personality of your law firm comes through in all your written content. Rather than being about what you say, your organisation’s tone of voice reflects how you say it.
Let’s look at three examples which say exactly the same thing but have different tones of voice.
|Statement||Tone of Voice||Impression on Reader|
|Our residential property department collaborates with key players in property transactions, ensuring a smooth process for all stakeholders involved.||Very professional, highly corporate||What does that mean?|
|Our residential property team has years of experience, providing you confidence your transaction will go through smoothly.||Professional, detached||Great – where’s your proof and what makes you different from all the other firms?|
|Come and have a chat with our residential property folks. We’ll sort you out.||Familiar, matey||Are you sure you are lawyers?|
None of these examples are wrong – when it comes to creating a tone of voice for your law firm’s brand, there is no right answer. My tone of voice is friendly, chatty, and a little tongue in cheek. I have worked for one particular law firm for many years now who have the same style. If I send them something too dry, they send it back with the instruction ‘lighten it up’. However, I have another client who is the exact opposite, promoting a very conservative tone. Neither of these styles are wrong and they reflect the type of clients each law firm wishes to target with its content marketing. The former is a central London firm with an international focus; the latter is based in a coastal town in the South East with an older demographic.
It takes time and effort to develop your law firm’s tone of voice, but it is worth it. A distinctive tone of voice is a vital part of creating a brand, and having a clear policy around it means:
How do I create a tone of voice for my legal blogs?
This is the fun part. An authentic tone of voice does not need to be forced; it already exists and simply needs to be found. One of the best ways to do this is hold a workshop and have those involved (it should include marketing and all HODs) provide ideas as to how they see themselves and the practice as a whole.
Next, differentiate between the words chosen. Someone is bound to say ‘professional’ but what does that really mean? Mark Zuckerberg wears the same type of grey T-shirt every day. Does that make him less professional than say, Philip Hammond who is always in a sharp suit? What does ‘professional’ mean to your firm personally. The same with other ubiquitous statements such as ‘quality of service’ and ‘experience’. Break them down. What do they mean on a deeper level when it comes to relating to clients and the community?
Look at your competitors. What is their tone of voice? What impression does it give? Work out what you like and dislike and then establish where you are different.
Once you have gone through all this, create a document that can be circulated throughout the organisation setting out the tone of voice which should be used in all communications. There are numerous examples available on the internet, or you can hire a professional consultant to help you with the process (this is highly advisable if you are going through a full rebranding process.
Neglecting your tone of voice will not be fatal to your legal blog, but it will make it unremarkable and probably fairly boring. By establishing a smart, dynamic, clear tone of voice from the outset, you are guaranteed to inject more life into your legal blog and connect with potential clients on a greater level, leading them to pick up the phone and start talking.
Next week, we will discuss how to generate blog ideas. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding creating a regular blog, please give us a call on 01691 839661.
The Legal Copywriting Company is dedicated to helping law firms and barristers achieve their marketing goals by creating engaging, SEO friendly content for their website and marketing materials and managing their social media. To find out more, please fill in our contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01691 839661.