Featuring Razwana Wahid
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!
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 newbie 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 on your site are as imperative as the design and must all tie together to reflect your brand.”
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.
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):
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
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!
- 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.
- 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 😉
- 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 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.
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 titled 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!