What's in a Word? Tips on Finding the Right Voice
As writers, we face one of the greatest challenges each and every day—weaving incorporeal visions into tangible realities through the magic of words and voice.
While it might be tempting to always (and quickly) write in a voice we find most comfortable for ourselves, it is important to remember that each project has its own voice and identity. But even with the most detailed project brief and perfect means of client-writer communication, this identity and voice of a project might not be entirely clear right away!
So how can writers get past this initial block and create exceptional content for both ConceptDrop and personal clients alike? I’ve come up with a few tips to help get the creative voices singing, and help to make a client’s ideal concept become a perfect reality.
Remember Your Roots. Nourish Your Creativity.
When we are commissioned for a project, it’s not just because we write well—it’s usually because we also have a certain something. It might be an expertise on a particular topic, it might be the ability to enchant any audience with our words, or it might be the ability to research and distill pages of information to fit onto a postcard-sized infographic.
Whatever that "something" might be, it helps to acknowledge it when trying to find the right voice for a project, and use it to drive our creative thinking forward and make something exceptional. If you’re not sure how your "something" can help create the perfect project the first time around, try reviewing the project brief or reaching out to your client for a brief meeting or phone call before you begin.
By opening communication lines, your client can give you direct pointers on tone, audience, industry, and the more technical details of the project so that you can adapt your voice into something more creative, professional and memorable with ease.
Be Bold. Not Provocative.
What most clients do like is being at the frontlines of their industries, boasting the next big thing and having their content seem the most polished and memorable next to their competitors. What most clients don’t like is being called out for the way something is worded—tacky at best, unprofessional at worst.
Like graphic design, writing and language can say a lot about a company’s overall image, level of professionalism, and values. When trying to find a voice for a project, it is important to keep all of these things in mind in order to write punctuated and enticing copy for clients. This means being conscious of things such as industry standards, target audience, and goals specific to the project, as well as to the client.
Hung up on a particular thought or how to phrase something? Do some research and see if you can find past publications or campaigns on a client’s website. Oftentimes, the content on their website most embodies what they feel is bold and effective writing. If there are particular ideas or phrases/slogans that come up often or are highlighted by the company, it might help to take note of those!
Change Can Be Good. Embrace It.
Imagine that you’ve just finished a project, and you’ve sent it off to the client for review. Although you think it’s the best thing you’ve ever written and certainly doesn’t need any revision other than some minor spellchecks and final formatting changes, it’s back your inbox five minutes later chalked up with red highlights and markings.
Sometimes, critical details might be missing from a project brief that results in a final project’s voice not resonating fully with a client, or the client’s vision might have been misinterpreted along the way. As frustrating as it might be for creatives to hear that our work is missing something and that revisions need to occur, it should not to be seen as the client saying, “This is awful!” In fact, it most often means that a client is pleased with our work; the voice just needs a few creative tweaks from you (the skilled writer) to fully embody their complete vision.
When encountered with project revisions, it is best to ask a client where the most opportunity for improvement is. Ask them what is working and what isn’t, framing your questions in ways that require more than a simple yes-or-no answer. As with all kinds of writing, finding the right voice for a client’s project is a process of trial, error, and exploration!
By demonstrating that you are able to find and create a voice for specific project, it shows your clients that you have a mind capable of fostering great ideas concerning just about anything. And that, my fellow creatives, is a very wonderful mind to have.