Everyone has their own tone and way of writing and speaking, that’s what makes us all so unique.
But how exactly do you capture or describe someone else’s voice? Do you focus on their phrasing? The way that they might pronounce certain words? It might be difficult to fully encapsulate someone else’s identity through writing, but public relations requires this skill. Learning and understanding the ways in which your client might write and present themselves to their public is an absolute necessity in our field.
How to Capture Your Client’s Voice
We’ve compiled a “how-to” list to zero in on what makes your client’s voice unique and distinctive — whomever they might be!
We cannot stress this enough and it is number one on this list for a reason. Researching is the key to better understanding your clients. Whether that be research to learn more about their target public and how to best reach them, or going through past writing samples from your client to learn more about their style specifically. This might take time, but so does building a relationship with your client. Be thorough and get deep into what makes this company or person unique in their industry. Try to learn more about their history and what makes them tick. Researching will help you dive into the voice of your client and be more authentic in doing so.
As public relations professionals, there is a certain level of perfectionism to what we do. But finding your client’s voice might take some time and missteps. That’s why we believe that this should be a combined effort. Ask your client questions if you don’t know the answer, try to better understand them as a collective or an individual. Work with your fellow professionals, ask for edits and additional eyes on your work to make sure it fits for your client. Doing this not only makes you a better writer, but can further improve the way you present your company and your client.
Writing in someone else’s voice often requires you to put your own ideas and opinions aside. There will be times in your writing where you wouldn’t necessarily phrase something the same way or present the same concepts as your client. You’re not writing for yourself or even necessarily as yourself, so you have to put those personal opinions on the backburner. Remember to stick to your research, work with your client and try to act in their best interest and in the best interest of their public.
With that being said, you should never compromise major values in order to please a client. In order to raise the public relations profession, you should still strike a balance between being objective and having boundaries. Knowing the difference between the two is an important skill to learn!
Personally, stepping into my client’s shoes has always been thrilling for me. Learning more about someone else and their history is a chance to explore creativity and help create new connections. Writing in your client’s voice doesn’t just have to focus on formal writing, it can also be learning more about how they might interact with their customers, or how they might present themselves on social media. This is another great way to try to better understand your client – try to dive deeper than just technical writing. On your client’s social media account, what colors might they use? What pictures help define them as a brand? Would they ever use emojis or stay more formal? Asking yourself these questions might help you better understand your client and also better understand the relationship they have with their publics.
By writing in your client’s voice and speaking their public’s language, you can create a mutually beneficial relationship and fulfill the core purpose of public relations writing.