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The power of authenticity and getting your tone of voice right

Watch the replay and read the summary of our session with Steven Bartlett's Head of Content on finding your personality on social.

Sophie Thompson
7th November 2021

86% of consumers say authenticity is a key when deciding to trust a brand. With paid posts and influencer culture at a peak, finding genuine opinions on social media can be difficult - even more so for the people who write the posts!

Few people know this better than Grace Andrews, who heads up Steven Bartlett's social media. Steven has an audience of over 1.2 million on Instagram alone, a thriving podcast, and is the latest Dragon to join BBC business show, Dragon's Den. Grace works across all of Steven's channels, adopting his tone of voice, navigating paid partnerships and her biggest KPI - bringing in new engagements and opportunities.

Most Content Marketers have experience copywriting for brands, but how does the transition to copywriting for another person with an existing tone of voice and personality? To share her first-hand advice on how to nail your tone of voice (whether writing for a brand or a person) and how to build your own personal brand at the same time, Grace joined us for a virtual discussion packed with actionable tips.

__Watch the replay below, or keep scrolling for the summary:

Why is personal branding important?

The short answer: Increased exposure = increased opportunity!

This can be applied to personal circumstances and growing business too. If you watched our webinar with Steven Bartlett earlier this year, you'll know the main reason Social Chain was so successful was because of his own personal brand. In fact, 70% of Social Chain's early-stage revenue came from Steven's speaking slots and paid promotions!

Following in the footsteps of her new boss, Grace landed herself the role as Steven Bartlett's Head of Content as a result of her own personal branding (she even submitted her cover letter for the job as a TikTok video). Grace says the main benefits of building up your profile are:

  • Better job opportunities (Hiring managers may even come to YOU if you're at the front of their mind)

  • Paid promotions and paid speaking opportunities - these are often linked to follower counts and engagement

  • Establish expertise in your field

  • Work experience! Personal branding is essentially on-the-job experience for a content marketer that you can't get with the traditional route

"Personal branding allows you to reach people you never thought you could have reached before"

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The keys to personal branding success:

  • Be consistent! Create a social media strategy in the same way you would plan brand content. Decide How many times a week you're going to post, when you're going to post, and establish a look and feel for your posts that will be instantly recognizable

  • Start by setting goals! If you don't know what you want the end result to be, you can't get there. It can be a numerical value, or even something as simple as achieving more speaking engagements

  • Be yourself! You're not offering anything different by directly copying others. Make people like you for you!

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How to craft your tone of voice (or someone else's!)

__1. Make decisions

Important decisions such as who you're targeting and their persona breakdown is essential when it comes to deciding the language and tone you'll be using. It can also be helpful to come up with content pillars (broader topics that every piece of content should fit into) and decide the purpose of your content - whether you want to entertain, inspire, inform or even be the first to share news.

How to define your social media audience for 2022

__2. 2.Strategy...and research - lots of research!

Particularly if you're crafting a tone of voice for someone else, research is essential. Unlike a brand, there can be less room to completely start from scratch - because a person already exists! You need to familiarise yourself with that person, including their hobbies, the type of language they use and most importantly, become an expert in the field they're trying to breakthrough in.

Grace did this for Steven by immersing herself in his book, watching interviews and previous content he'd created, taking notes about the way he spoke and really getting to know him on a level that a typical viewer of his work wouldn't. Grace and Steven now work closely together every day so she can continue to build on this.

__3. Experiment!

The beauty of creating for a person over a brand is that you can push boundaries! Grace champions that trial and error should be part of every single strategy. That doesn't mean controversial opinions (that never ends well) but trialing different content formats and having an opinion that lets you add something new to the conversation, can help shape your long-term strategy in the most effective way. Consider implementing a social media policy to make sure everyone you work with knows your boundaries.

One of Grace's favourite brands on social is Innocent (watch the replay of our awesome webinar with their Social Media Manager on experimenting with content), Innocent are the champions of taking risks and earning the rewards.

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How to write an authentic branded post

"It's a lot easier to be authentic when you're being yourself".

People buy from people - specifically people they like. In the psychology of influence, authority sells. For example, having over one million followers adds trust to your message, as your audience becomes your validation - you need to keep that trust by not pushing messages that could damage it. There's no going back!

Steven made a super interesting point around authenticity in our previous webinar when it was just him running his social accounts:

“I made the decision to walk through the office every day with a camera and there was a concern that my colleagues would think I was a narcissist,” he told us.

“But, at no point in my journey was I being anyone other than myself. The guy you’re speaking to today, is the same guy my colleagues work with, the same guy you saw in videos, and the same guy you hear on my podcast.”

Being yourself and choosing who you work with on partnerships based on ethics, tone of voice, and content pillars over money is the only way you'll keep that trust alive.

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Grace's top tips for keeping branded content authentic:

  • Go back to your initial goal-setting - do you want to entertain? Inspire? Inform? Whichever it is, make sure your messaging always comes back to that! Grace even has a set group of emojis she uses on Steven's posts that are uniquely identifiable as him speaking!

  • Keep your tone of voice aligned to the platform you're using - don't speak the same on LinkedIn as you would on TikTok, you are talking to two very different audiences.

  • No one is scrolling through their feed looking to be sold to. Avoid sales-led copy and make promotions blend seamlessly with your other content. The brand chose you because they like YOU! Not because they want you to become them.

Grace's key takeaways:

  • The secret formula to nailing your, or someone else's, personal brand is: goal setting, research, planning and experimenting!

  • Increased exposure = increased opportunity! Building your own personal brand alongside that of your businesses benefits you both in the long term

  • The perfect branded post should be collaborative, conversational, and authentic. Do this by amplifying your own tone of voice and not looking to others for inspiration! If you're copying others, it's not authentically you.

During the session, we shared our 2022 toolkit packed with templates and resources to help with your planning for the year ahead. Download it now and get started!


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