When you’re copywriting, don’t just think about the content. You should also think about the tone.

Content is like the “what” while tone of voice is like the “how”.

Today, we’ll explore 2 types of tones: professional tone vs friendly tone.

[Marketing Tips] Copywriting 101 - Professional Tone vs Friendly Tone

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As mentioned earlier, tone is the way your message comes across to your readers.

In verbal speech, tone is communicated through pitch and inflection. However, in copywriting, you’ll have to convey emotion with word choice and punctuation.

Tone of voice thus shapes the overall feeling of a message. This is especially important in the online world. Because you can’t really see or hear the content, your readers can only infer the feeling from your words.

Bear in mind that the tone is key in brand identity. The tone reflects the image of your brand. Therefore, you need to write in the same tone consistently. If you develop a tone that is uniquely yours, people will be able to identify your brand from the crowd. Try to create a unique writing style that people enjoy reading. This will make your content more memorable and leave a lasting impression on your readers.

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Professional Tone

Some industries are more likely than others to use a professional formal tone. For example, banking and financial services. This is because a serious tone like this builds credibility. People will also feel more assured to leave their savings in these banks. In such cases, the brand image of trustworthiness is of utmost importance so it’s better to stick to a professional tone.

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Tip 1: Use Sophisticated Language

To appear professional, there’s one hack I always use: include difficult words in my copy.

You know those fancy words that make you look smart?

Yup, try to include those words in your content and you’ll appear cultured and worldly-wise.

Here are some examples. Look at the sophisticated vocabulary.

  • Navigate the volatility of the economy
  • Chart your career trajectory towards success
  • Be the trailblazer. Activate change.

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Tip 2: Keep Exclamation Points To A Minimum

As its name suggests, exclamation marks denote excitement, shock or any other emotion that might make you exclaim.

When you’re writing in a professional tone, you shouldn’t be shouting in your audience’s face. Instead, the image that you want to portray will probably be a wise and level-headed old man who has many life experiences and is able to give advice and guide your audience. It shouldn’t be a passionate schoolboy who is easily excited.

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Tip 3: Include Industry Jargon

To appear knowledgeable, you should read widely, especially industry news. By learning and adding industry jargon into your copy, you give readers a positive impression. Firstly, it highlights the depth and breadth of your industry knowledge. Secondly, it shows that you keep pace with the trends and technology. This will position you as an industry thought leader.

You can also learn from your competitors. Analyze their content and examine the language. If possible, look at their ads, sales pages and brochures. This will help paint a picture of the current landscape. It’s good to use similar language. But at the same time, you should also aim to stand out from the competition. Use a tone that is uniquely yours.

Do talk to your customers so your copy resonates with their concerns, problems, pain, motivations and goals.

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Friendly Tone

Friendly tone, which is more casual, conversational and helpful, is great in closing the distance between the brand and its audience.

Depending on your products and services, a friendly tone may be more suitable for your business. For instance, a company selling children’s books, toys or maternity clothes is more likely to use a friendly tone. Such businesses that target children, mothers or just families in general will want to have a warm image. They wouldn’t want a brand image that is cold and heartless. Instead, they want to appear warm and fuzzy. Someone who lends a helping hand to help build a tight-knit family.

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Tip 1: Use Contractions

Contractions are shortened words. They’re frequently used in everyday speech and informal writing, In fact, I just used one in this paragraph~

  • You are > You’re
  • Will not > Won’t
  • Has not > Hasn’t
  • Do not > Don’t
  • What is > What’s

Just like how we use contractions when talking to friends and family, do use contractions in your copy too. Contractions narrow the distance between people. When you include contractions in your copy, it’s like you’re writing to a friend. In this case, your readers become your friends. With the stronger bond between you and your readers, it becomes easier to persuade them.

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Tip 2: Feel Free To Use Exclamation Points As Needed

Unlike the professional formal tone, you can use as many exclamation marks as you need to show your passion, excitement and enthusiasm.

As mentioned earlier, a friendly tone is about closing the distance between you and your readers. And as friends, I’m sure we’re always excited to share good news and great tips with people we love. Imagine that you had a delicious meal at a fantastic restaurant, you’ll definitely want to share it with your friends or even bring them there.

Likewise, keep that excitement in mind when you’re crafting your copy. Add exclamation marks when needed. But of course, you shouldn’t be exclaiming at every sentence. It gets pretty annoying…

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Tip 3: Speak The Same Language As Your Customers

Let’s say you sell beauty products to a younger audience. You’ll want to speak the same language as these young adults. Interview your existing customers, examine the way they talk and analyze their gestures. They probably have some urban slang terms that people of their generation use frequently. The key is to ensure that you’re on the same wavelength as them. Use the same language and jargon as your audience.

From the interview, you can also find out which social media channels they use. This way, you can consider advertising on these social media networks where your customers are.

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Bonus Tip: Always Include “You”

Whether your copy will take on a professional or friendly tone, always include “you” in your copy to incorporate your readers.

By using this second-person point of view, you’re addressing your readers directly. You’re acknowledging their existence and presence. It also shows that you’re talking to them.

Again, this closes the distance between you and the readers. It’s like you’re talking one-on-one with your readers which thus creates a feeling of intimacy. The copy then becomes a conversation that is centered around the reader. With less focus on “we” and more focus on “you”, your copy will talk more about your readers’ needs and wants, rather than a monologue about how good your brand is.

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Now It’s Your Turn

There’s no right or wrong answer. And there isn’t a perfect tone that is better than others. Instead, you should choose a tone that fits the brand image you want to portray.

What tone do you use for your copy? Why did you choose this tone? Do you have any tips for writing copy in this tone?

Remember to use a proofreading tool like Grammarly and ProWritingAid to check and correct your grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes. Or you can attend copywriting classes like Copywriting For Crafters and Write Copy That Compels And Sells. CreativeLive also offers streaming broadcasts of free online classes~


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Nicole C. W. All Rights Reserved.

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