Tone matching is a practice that stellar copywriters have been using since the dawn of time, but the coinage is relatively new. Don’t worry, I had zero clue as to what tone matching is a while back, so I had to work my way through one article after the next to find out and teach myself.
You see, I was happily oblivious to “tone matching” until the term was thrown at me a couple of months ago by a frustrated client. He never seemed quite pleased with the pieces he was receiving and approached me for a different edge. All was well and smooth until he said:
“But what about tone matching? Can you match tone?”
To which I said something vague like:
“Of course, I will do my very best and will be happy to edit if you are not happy with the result,” and went my business of discovering what in the world tone matching is.
So, from one content writer to the next, here is the wisdom I have gained after spending hours and hours researching and reading.
What is Tone Matching?
Tone matching is a practice that shows we understand and embrace the emotions of our audience. For example, suppose your best friend recounts the horror story of how she fell off the stairs at the mall and landed in an awkward, embarrassing position in front of tens of people. In that case, you are expected to be sympathetic and understanding.
Your expressions and your body language will show that you empathize with her. Your tone will match her tone. She feels sad, so you are expected to speak in a soft, compassionate voice, echoing her distress. You cannot burst out laughing, and nor will you offer support in a chirpy happy tone. Your words will show the compassion she is looking for, and a hug, and a glass of wine, will make it all go away. But the magic here is tone matching. It is not so much what you say but how you say it.
Tone Matching In Copywriting
Now that you know what tone matching is, you can understand how difficult it is to achieve it in writing. Think of how often you fell out with a friend over an ambiguous text. It happens to me all the time.
I say - or rather, write- something, the recipient reads it an entirely different tone, and boom! A recipe for disaster. You see, people were not meant to communicate in short texts. In the absence of facial expressions, gestures, the pitch of voice, intonation, and so on, a text can be misread and misinterpreted. Add a dubious punctuation, an unfortunate word choice, and all are game!
So, as a content writer, your task is a difficult one. First, you have to show that you understand your audience’s pain points and that what you say has to offer value and help them with their current situation.
How do you find out what your audience’s pain points are?
Tone Matching and Buyer Personas
To match the tone of your buyers’ emotions, you need to know what these emotions are. Enter Buyer Personas.
If you want to make it in the world of content marketing, you need to know who you are writing for. Therefore, you must create the buyer persona of your ideal buyer. Who is your brand, product, or services aimed for?
Find the demographic information of your ideal buyer and search beneath the surface. What are your buyers’ pain points, worries, dreams, and hopes? What makes them happy? What makes them tingle? For example, knowing that your targeted buyers are middle-class forty-something working males means nothing.
You know that John is 42, a high-school teacher with two kids, working in a suburban high school, and plays the guitar in his free time. But that says nothing about what John’s needs are! How can you create content, meet your buyers where they are at, match their tone, and finally convert if you do not know the more intricate details about John’s life.
For example, how has Covid hit John and his family? Are they struggling to make ends meet? Are they worried about their children? Is he emotionally and psychologically healthy after self-isolating for so long? What support does he need to meet his students’ needs, and his own for that matter? Where in his buyer journey can you meet John and match his tone?
You can see that buyer personas are never static, and they continuously change, evolve and transform as the world around us changes. Therefore, you must craft accurate buyer personas that reflect the latest developments and match your ideal buyers’ needs, pain points, worries, and anxieties.
Tone Matching And You
If you want to become indispensable in 2022, you need to be able to match your buyers’ tone. You need to reflect on their emotions and show that you understand what they are going through and that your brand is here to help them. To do so, you must be able to craft accurate buyer personas. If you are still not comfortable with the process, why don’t you look at our Iris Writing Academy Specials and get the headstart you need to tone match in 2022.