A few years ago, NBC introduced “The Voice” to their primetime line up. Even if you haven’t watched it, you get the idea – four well known judges sit with their backs to a singer who belts out their favorite hit. Once one of the judges is impressed enough, they swing around and lay claim to that crooner’s talent for the competition ahead. While similar to other reality star-search shows in just about every way, “The Voice” has one distinguishing feature which is rather appropriate – the contestant’s voice. The show chooses to focus on the singer’s vocal talents first, ahead of the overall performance. A pretty interesting departure – a singing competition that focuses on singing!
With that said, let’s consider your online presence – every day you have potentially hundreds of customers cruising past your site, picking and choosing what interests them. Online judges who really have no idea who you are and what your services entail, other than what you put out on stage. So, you manage to draw them in, hook them with your incredible ranking and sharp visual style. Once they move past the professionally shot staff photos, the showy site architecture, and the well-crafted brand imagery, what is left?
The only thing that truly matters: your voice.
While some products speak for themselves – ala Rolls Royce, Rolex or DeBeers Diamonds – most of us in the commercial world have to spell it out in one way or another. And in that spelling, you as an online seller have the power to either win the judges over or lose them to another competitor. Your voice, for better or worse, lets the consuming world know exactly who you are, where you stand and what you’ve got to offer without ever needing to meet you or see your product up close. And to be clear – your voice isn’t what you have to say, it is how you say it.
So, how does one hone their voice? What does it take to stand out from the din that permeates so much of what we read online each day? A few suggestions:
Dedication – Like the singers on “The Voice,” unless you are committed to providing a unique and truly convincing online performance with each new post or page, your message will fall flat in a very short amount of time. As with everything, practice makes perfect.
Knowing Your Audience – Who are you trying to reach? What is your demographic? Once you’ve identified your audience and tailored your message, you can then fine tune the way in which you deliver it.
Honesty – If there is one thing that both online customers and Google enjoy, it is honesty. People, whether they know it or not, gravitate towards a genuine voice. Look at any successful politician, actor or motivational speaker. It helps if what you are suggesting is truthful, but helps even more if you are delivering it in an honest and forthright manner.
There are tomes of helpful and insightful literature on developing the right tone or voice for your business. How each one helps you greatly depends on your particular situation and product. Ultimately, the main thing you need to consider is – how do I as a business, brand or professional wish to be heard? What is my delivery and does it fit what I’m trying to sell? If you can answer these few questions in a truthful manner you’re well on your way to finding the right voice.