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How to speak: Tone of voice in recruitment marketing

You may have noticed an interesting wave of change in the way companies are interacting with their clients and consumers. What was once a world of vapid corporate-speak and gobbledygook jargon has transformed. Now we’re seeing chatty banks, funny and eccentric consumer brands and recruiters trying to help us, not hunt us.

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Verbal identity is just as important as visual identity for recruiters

This change has come with the realisation that a verbal identity is just as important as a visual identity for any brand. It’s called a ‘tone of voice’. It’s a crucial part of who you are and how you connect with people. A way to speak your values to specific audiences across all of your communications. For recruitment companies in particular, a tone of voice is critical. Increased demand for talent has expanded candidate’s options when evaluating potential employers and recruiters, so to make yourself heard, it’s important to speak in your candidate’s language.

How to ‘tone of voice’

Your tone of voice should leap off the page as much as any visual identity. It’s the most expressive and emotional element of your brand. Done right, it’s an opportunity to connect with people in a way that no logo, colour or typeface can. Creating a tone of voice starts with understanding who you are and what you want to say.

The hard part done, it’s important to then establish guidelines that show specific examples of copy that embody your traits and those that do not. Applying this consistently across your communications can help you to attract the right candidates, acting as the perfect culture test for you and them. If reflected accurately, it allows your candidates to evaluate whether they’re a good fit for you, and for you to judge their fit by the tone of their response.

At Stratton Craig, we’ve helped clients like Clydesdale Bank and Metro Bank to develop their tone of voice to be more relatable for their customers. We also work with leading recruiters like Robert Walters and Resource Solutions to apply their verbal identity across a broad scope of communications.

A holistic approach

While there is no argument that companies respect the value of a unique tone of voice, a lot of them fall into the trap of investing in its creation only to tuck it in a drawer never to be seen again. The more savvy marketers will apply it to their immediate ‘designed’ layer of communications. But, look a little deeper to candidate and client letters, template job adverts or within your own HR function, and you will find a fusion of old and new tone.

Just like your visual identity, a holistic approach should be applied to your tone of voice. The more consistent you are applying this across all of your content, the easier it is for people to recognise you. So, whether you’re writing a tweet, a blog, a job advert, your corporate website or even an email, it should echo your tone of voice.

Spread the word

Once applied, your brand and comms teams should live and breathe your tone of voice. But do you work with a content agency, like us, or a freelance copywriter? Is it recruitment staff writing your job adverts or your marketing team? There’s no template for everything you write, and how a verbal identity is interpreted will be different every time. Without proper training to implement your tone of voice, your investment will wind up worthless.

Writer training is crucial in teaching teams to write effective communications in their correct tone of voice. In our writer training workshops, we’ll walk you through suitable and extreme examples of different verbal brand traits, so you understand what works and what doesn’t. We’ll even train you to train others, encouraging you to include brand language training as a part of your own induction process. By doing this, it becomes a part of your culture and who you are and not just something you said.

If you want to talk to our team about your firm’s own tone of voice (or lack of), please pick up the phone and call us on +44 (0)20 7842 8240.

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