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How Copywriting Can Build Your Brand Authority

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In this article you'll learn…

  • How to be consistent with your tone of voice
  • How emotion can help improve your authority
  • Why being conversational doesn't mean being unprofessional

When you're recognized as a brand authority, you become the go-to business for products or services in your industry; you can be more selective with clients, and you can charge higher rates that reflect your expertise.

When we hear "brand authority," we usually think about PR, online and offline marketing, public speaking, writing books, being interviewed... Giving thought to what you say is undoubtedly important, but it's often how you say it that establishes your true credibility as a brand authority.

By following these four steps, you'll discover just how effective your copywriting can be in building your brand authority.

1. Be consistent in your tone of voice

All companies have a certain tone of voice. You hear it in their marketing materials, blog posts, YouTube videos, and social media posts. The way companies "talk" can determine whether others want to do business with them, and that's why businesses must get tone of voice right—and keep it consistent.

Consistency in tone of voice breeds familiarity, which in turn creates trust and, finally, brand authority. Here are three tips to ensure you keep your brand's tone of voice consistent:

  1. Define it. How do you want to portray your voice to your audience? Are you a serious blue chip company laser-focused on delivering results? Or are you a fresh new startup looking to shake up your industry?
  2. Own it. Once you know how you want your brand to sound, take ownership of it by using that tone in all of your marketing materials.
  3. Encourage it. Create a style guide and distribute it to all your writers and editors so that everyone follows the same guidelines. You might also provide it to outside agencies that are working for you, as well as to those who want to guest-post on your blog.

2. Make it emotional

Most people think they decide whom to do business with based on reason and logic. Although rational thought does have bearing on our decisions, our emotions ultimately get their way.

Research suggests that our emotional responses to a piece of writing have more influence on our decisions than the actual content of the writing itself. In fact, in print advertising, we're twice as likely to buy from a brand that appeals to our emotions than one that doesn't at all.

The following three steps can help ensure you make the most of emotion in your copywriting to establish your brand authority:

  1. Use emotional triggers. Tug at your customers' heartstrings by appealing to their strongest emotions and tapping into their needs and desires. Some of our strongest emotions are value, trust, fear, guilt, competition, belonging, and pleasure.
  2. Use intriguing headlines. Every successful advert, article, blog post, and email begins with a strong headline. Think about what words will encourage your audience to read on and into the body of your copy.
  3. Include a call to action. Having built up all that emotion, you'll want to direct your customers to fulfill a specific action you want them to take, whether that's making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter.

3. Keep it conversational

Building your brand authority involves a certain professionalism, but that doesn't mean your copy needs to be full of longwinded sentences and obscure words. If you want to stand out from the crowd, your copy needs to speak to people in a way they can relate to.

When crafting your copy, write as you would talk to a friend—directly—and focused on the main points of your message. You can keep your copywriting conversational by following these three tips:

  1. Read your copy out loud. Hearing your voice speaking your copy can help you recognize any shortcomings, including incorrect tone of voice or confusing structure.
  2. Use short sentences. The shorter the sentence, the more readable the copy. If you can say it in one sentence, why use three?
  3. One idea at a time. Keeping each point you want to make within one paragraph helps deliver your messages more clearly and makes your copy more digestible.

4. Make it look easy

Think about how the most successful brands portray themselves to the public. Do they make a point of constantly telling you how hard they work at becoming a trusted company?

The most successful brands make it look effortless. Undoubtedly a lot of effort goes on behind the scenes, but the audience sees only the finished product, presented in a seemingly effortless way.

If your branding comes across as forced, too sales-like, or overcomplicated, you'll find it difficult to attract the kind of customer loyalty that authority brands have. The following three actions can help you make your copywriting look easy:

  1. Use bullet points and numbered lists. Breaking down your copy into small, digestible chunks is a surefire way to simplify your brand message. People are automatically drawn to copy that stands out on a page.
  2. Start with a strong opening line. Use the first line in your copy to make a bold statement that shows your readers you know what you're talking about.
  3. End with a summary. Gathering the most important pieces of information at the end of your copy can help strengthen your content. It also gives people an opportunity to reflect on what they've just read.

* * *

Although following all these copywriting tips will certainly improve your brand authority, bear in mind that sounding unique often what sets a brand apart from the competition. And if that means breaking some of these copywriting "rules," then so be it.

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Jamie Thomson is a freelance copywriter at Brand New Copy. He blogs about marketing on his copywriting blog.

Twitter: @BrandNewCopy

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  • by Steve Fowler Wed Mar 25, 2015 via web

    Good piece - good advice. Not sure you meant this to sound quite this way though:

    "Use short sentences. The shorter the sentence, the more readable the copy.
    If you can say it in one sentence, why use three?"

    Why use three? Precisely because you want to keep them short.

  • by Neil Mahondey Wed Mar 25, 2015 via web

    Most everything in the commentary is well stated, but I have two comments:
    1. Case-histories, where a satisfied customers come forward and explain how your product satisfied their problem are very effective in that they become both a testimonial and a "how-to" example of how your product can help solve the problems other prospects may have.
    2. Generally speaking, I agree with keeping sentences short, but it's important that your copy "flow." Too many short sentences strung together Make the copy choppy. You want your copy to have an even flow so the reader is comfortable with it. Also, use readily recognizable words. Don't send them to the dictionary. You'll lose them.

  • by Jamie Thomson Wed Mar 25, 2015 via web

    Hi Steve.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Although the final article has been edited somewhat, I did mean for the part about short sentences to sound as it does. In the context of keeping your copy conversational, I do find that using short sentences tends to do the trick. Of course, this isn't always the case though and there's definitely an argument for using longer sentences to be conversational too.


  • by Jamie Thomson Wed Mar 25, 2015 via web

    Hi Neil.

    Thanks for commenting.

    I agree. I think social proof is a great way to build your brand authority and also a great selling tool. Like you said, case studies in particular are really effective especially if you're able to quantify the value you gave to the customer.

    I think you're spot on about using too many short sentences within a piece of copy. As you said, it needs to flow and there's definitely a balance to be had. When it comes to making clear points though, I think it pays to choose your words selectively so as not to cloud the meaning.

    Great point about using recognisable words too!

    Thanks for your input Neil.


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