BRANDING WITH WORDS

By April 21, 2015 September 14th, 2017 Blogging, Branding, Business, Resources

Branding with words with guest Copywriter Razwana Wahid on Whiskey and Red

I am so excited about today’s guest author! She is truly one of the fiercest lady-wordsmiths on the web today and has such a fresh exciting take on how each and every one of us can develop our brands through the power of the written word.

Razwana Wahid is a copywriter queen, coming to us from Relentless Movement, is dedicated to helping coaches, consultants, therapists and service providers discover, develop, and use their authentic brand voice through the power of words. If you’ve ever wanted to know how to change visitors to you site from passers-by to loyal subscribers through your words alone? Get Raz’s website here!

Be sure to check all her word-wisdom out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Today, Raz has graced us with her brilliance to share with us how to brand our business with words. So without further ado, take it away Razwana!

BRANDING WITH WORDS

WHAT DOES YOUR BRAND SAY ABOUT YOU?

When it comes to branding, we can’t afford for words to fail us.

What does it say about the people you’re attracting?

When someone sees your site for the first time, they’re struck by the colors, the fonts, and the images. This initial reaction is paramount to setting the tone for your brand.

But what happens when the initial reaction fades and this newby to your site starts reading the words? The home page content, the menu items, the email opt-in text?

Do the words consistently reflect the brand?

If your site design uses mostly pastel colors, soft images and lots of white, but the content uses curse words every second paragraph, there’s an obvious mismatch between the design and content. The reader will be left confused and unable to connect with you.

The words you use on your site tell people who you are, what you offer, and the personality your brand has. And more importantly, they tell the audience whether you’re the kind of person they want to work with.

This is why the words on your site are as imperative as the design, and must all tie together to reflect your brand. From the content in each page, to the content in your sidebar, to the text in the footer of the pages. Every word you use has to be carefully selected to ensure your brand is present.

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And in this article today, we’ll go into the details of how you can select the right words that have the impact you want your brand to have.


What words fit your brand?

Notice I used the word brand. Not website. Or business. Or service. Why brand? Because I’m writing for a site dedicated to brand design. The title of this section remains consistent with the voice. And you can only become consistent if you start in the right place – defining the words that best represent your brand.

Deciding which words define your brand is a methodical process. And an ongoing one, since you apply them whenever you update your site (whether it’s publishing a blog post, or editing existing content).

To start with, remember that your website is an extension of you and your business. This means that when someone arrives at your blog, they’re interacting with you, not a website. Your words must reflect that.

So grab a pen and paper, open up a blank document, or download this free worksheet, and create 3 columns. In each column, populate the following (in detail):

  1. Describe the audience you’re appealing to. What are they struggling with (related to the solution you offer)? What are they feeling right before they come across your site? What stories do they tell themselves about the problem they’re struggling with?
  2. Describe the experience your brand brings the audience: Is it fun, unorthodox, calm, or energetic? Why is this the case? What’s the relevance of the mood in relation to the overall experience of the audience when they interact with you?
  3. List the emotions you want the audience to feel when they read your blog. How are these emotions related to the product/service you provide and when they interact with you?

Branding-With Words FREE Worksheet | Julie Harris Design

By now, you’ll have a lot of text. The next step is to refine it by summarizing each sentence with a word. The objective here is not having a list of words that you’ll use in your writing all the time, but a list of words you can refer to, to ensure that every time you write/edit something, the essence of those words is present.


Let’s use an example of how this can work. I’ll use the example of my business, but will keep it brief!

  1. Describe the audience you’re appealing to;
    • Description: Coaches, therapists and consultants who are at the growth stage of their business. They want to be taken seriously as a business owner, both by themselves and their clients. They’re awesome at what they do, but are confused by online marketing and copy.
    • Words: Service. Pride. Guidance.
  2. Describe the mood your brand represents:
    • Description: Being different and shunning run-of-the-mill practices. Standing up for who are you are and being confident there are others like you. Building your business in an honest way that’s true to you. Celebrating every win.
    • Words: Rebellious. Distinctive. Integrity. Wine 😉
  3. List the emotions you want the audience to feel:
    • Description: Comforted by the fact that someone understands them. Motivated to do more and be Confident in their ability to achieve more than the goals they set themselves.
    • Words: Connection. Momentum. Badass.

Now it’s time to get a playful and creative with your words. Expand your list with more words that are relevant to your brand. Some resources you can use to give you ideas are:

  • Wordsplay has a great page where you can search for words that start the same letters
  • Rhymezone allows you to search for words that rhyme
  • Powerthesaurus is a great resource to give you multiple alternatives for the words you use

Remember that branding your words happens in the editing process. If you’re writing your About Page, for example, write the entire thing out first. Then go back and edit words and sentences to reflect your brand.

Let’s use an example of the editing process that translates the same message using 2 different brand voices.

In the voice of Julie, the ‘about me’ section says:

Julie Harris Design is a virtual creative studio where inspiration, creation, and ambition unite, empowering the hearts and minds of the people I work with.

Editing this to reflect my own brand voice, I’d change it to: 

Julie Harris Design: The design studio for creative rebels. We integrate personality and undeniable skill to build unstoppable momentum in business.

The two messages are saying the same thing – it’s a design house – but in turn reflect two very different personalities.


Who does it well?

Let’s look at an example of a business where the branding is spot on – and why.

Danielle LaPorte has a very distinct brand. It’s evident in the titles of her products, in her blog posts, and videos.

What do you feel she stands for? I see that she stands for heart and soul-centered businesses. More give than take. Connection to emotions.

And she reflects this throughout her site. Some examples are:

  • The pop-up opt-in box states: Come closer. I have something for you. And Unlock for the call to action button. She could have written sign up for free updates and click here but decided to go for words that reflect a connection with the audience and intimacy, as the word ‘unlock’ suggests.
  • The second opt-in box at the bottom of the homepage states: Let me love you. Straight up opinions on kindness, consciousness, and other ideas for feeling sexy and real. She’s using words that reflect the experience the audience will have when connecting with her.
  • Her about page is entitled Here I am, and not the standard About Me/Us we see on most sites. This reflects her open nature and, again, the sentiment of connection.

Does this sound difficult? It is! It takes practice and when you’re done practicing, practice more!


So, you have a copywriter with you today. Tell me – what part of branding with words are you struggling with, and how can I help you right now? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Was this post helpful? Know of anyone else struggling to find and use their brand’s authentic voice? Share this post with them and let’s all take advantage of Razwana’s branding brilliance as we work on branding our business with words.

Sincerely,

Julie & Steve signature.

Julie Harris

About Julie Harris

Julie Harris is the founder and lead designer of Whiskey & Red. Based out of Woodland Park, Colorado, Whiskey & Red specializes in small business branding and WordPress website design. They collaborate with small business owners, at all levels of industry, helping them translate their offline business into an online digital experience.

12 Comments

  • Marianne says:

    Oh wow, your examples are so powerful Razwana! I especially like how you re-worded Julie’s brand message to reflect your own voice and what a difference it was between the two. The first was obviously so Julie: kind and warm and encouraging, while yours was so you: direct, rebellious and fiery. Neither are wrong and they’re both right!

    I also loved your example of Danielle LaPorte’s wording. I have been to her site many many times, but never quite paid attention to the wording til now and you’re right, it’s sooooo her, very sensual! I couldn’t see it worded any other way.

    Hmmm…. gosh my voice is so boring! I really need to work on this haha!

    • Julie Harris says:

      Seriously! Isn’t she brilliant! It was so interesting to me to read my content phrased in my own brand’s voice and then in hers. Such a powerful example. Our brand’s words and phrasing are such a huge part of our brand’s identity. I love that Raz shared such a popular online professional to really showcase how powerful branding with words can be, in everything from subscription boxes, blog posts, about pages, emails, and social networking. I loved the timing of this post and how it really pairs with her other post about how to develop and use your brands voice by sealing form the pros.

      And your voice is SO not boring! I may be a bit biased but I totally love everything about DYOB 🙂

      • Marianne – if there’s one word I’d use to describe your business, it’s: approachable.

        So put that b-word away please !

        Isn’t it interesting what we notice about brands once we take a closer look? The best thing about branding done well is that you *have* to analyse it closely to see why it’s so powerful – there’s nothing blatantly amiss for us to notice. Which is why consistency in message is key.

        And these brands have taken each word and phrase in their business and engineered it to fit with the brand. We must do the same (but I *would* say that !)

  • Kim Brown says:

    I’m struggling with finding 3 words to help brand my at home pastry business. I want to appeal to everyone but I know there are people that don’t like desserts…I know strange..but they do exist. I know what my brand will bring to them and the emotions I hope they get from eating their pastries…but how do I succinctly put that in words.

    • Julie Harris says:

      Hi Kim, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us. I find that out of all the different elements of a complete brand, the brand voice is often the number one struggle for people to define. I so admire your mission to appeal to everyone, but you are completely right, not everyone likes desserts. Try thinking about one specific person or group of people who you are addressing with your brand. Even through you are targeting one specific person/group, that doesn’t mean your message won’t be heard by others. It’s about finding that spark, or contagious element that desserts represent to you and your target audience and then making that element so exciting that no one could resist.

      Write down what you know your brand will bring to them. Describe it in as much detail as possible, and pull out all the most important parts. Answer this: Why do you bake? Why do you love to back for others? Why do others love your baking? What do desserts bring to their life? This might be 3 specific words for you or even 10 words.

      • Some really excellent guidance here from Julie.

        Kim – you wrote that you know what your brand will bring to your customers and the emotions they feel – write all of this down in as much detail as possible and see what emerges from there.

        Write this with zero intention of getting a brand message out of it – just write. Often letting go of the attachment to an outcome can bring the outcome about quicker.

  • Nikolay says:

    Great article. Simple. To the point and powerful. Thank you. I love the exercise as well. I feel like this needs to be reviewed throughout every stage of the project to not lose sight of the customer.

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