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The importance of establishing a tone of voice in recruitment marketing (and how to find yours)

By Claire Wilson, Content Strategy Director at Stratton Craig

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 whose only goal is to, simply, help job-hunters.

Storytelling as a marketing tactic is becoming more informal and, along with an increase in brands using social media to engage with customers, brands need to start allowing for marketing that is ‘less polished’, but more genuine.

Follow these four steps to make sure you’re using your brand’s tone of voice as effectively and impactfully as possible:

Step 1: Find your tone of voice

Your tone of voice is the most expressive and emotional element of your brand, and it should leap off the page as much as any visual identity. 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.

Step 2: Be consistent across your entire brand

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.

Step 3: Speak in your candidate’s language

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.

Step 4: And finally, 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 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.

Creating and implementing a unique, powerful and consistent tone of voice across all your platforms and marketing materials is a crucial aspect of any business’ marketing strategy and this is no different for recruitment brands. In order to attract and engage with potential candidates, job-hunters need to be able to resonate with your brand and, through the use of the right tone of voice, you’ll be on your way to targeting the right candidates much more efficiently.