Identify your tone
How to vibe with your audience
Hey there —
Authentic. Unique. Consistent.
If you’re in the worlds of branding or content creation, you’re probably familiar with these words.
And you probably also know that figuring out how to be all these things as an entrepreneur or creator isn’t always easy. 🤔
A good place to start is with the question: What makes you, you?
Your first instinct might be to describe what you do (your area of expertise, your passions, your hobbies) or “who” you are (a parent, a vegetarian, or a dog-lover).
But what really makes you you is your unique personality (serious, laid back, or witty) and the things you value (like faith, honesty, or sustainability).
If you’re building a brand or making any kind of creative content, these are also the things that combine to create your tone.
Tone — a mix of your personality, values, voice, and creative direction — is one major way you communicate who you are to the world. And it’s how you can click with your audience (in an authentic, unique, and consistent way).
As UX consulting firm Nielsen Norman Group defines it, tone is the way we tell others how we feel about our message, which influences how they feel about our message.
Think about the brands you purchase or the creators you follow. A huge part of why those companies and people got your attention was how they made you feel — not just through what they said, but through their overall vibe.
To help you figure out your own vibe, Nielsen Norman Group has narrowed down hundreds of “tone of voice words” into 4 primary dimensions: humor, formality, respectfulness, and enthusiasm.
To make it even easier, they created a set of parameters that can be used like sliders to set your tone:
😆 Funny ⟷ Serious 🤨
Formal ⟷ Casual 🤗
😇 Respectful ⟷ Irreverent 💩
😃 Enthusiastic ⟷ Matter-of-fact 🙂
Consider where you land on the line between each of these word pairs and then try combining all 4 elements into a unique formula. Here are some examples…
Serious + formal + respectful + matter-of-fact
After several failed habit attempts, I realized my mindset has been the cause of the problem.
Serious + casual + respectful + matter-of-fact
After several failed habit attempts, I realized my mindset has been the problem all along.
(Less) Serious + casual + respectful + enthusiastic
After a few more failed habit attempts, I started to realize…oops, I might be the problem.
Funny + casual + irreverent + enthusiastic
After my next few habit attempts went down in flames, I looked in the mirror and thought, “Sh*t. Am I the problem?”
Whether you’re setting up a small business, Substack, or YouTube channel, your tone helps you showcase your personality, connect with your perfect audience, and make a memorable impression.
Defining that tone — and using it as a guide for creating and editing content — keeps your brand and messaging consistent. But even more important, it ensures you show up to every email, blog post, or video in a way that’s true to you. ⭐️
A study in tone through…sandwiches
by Brian Lagerstrom and Matty Matheson
For every one topic, there are hundreds of creators making content. In fact, if we name “food” or “cooking,” we bet you can probably name at least a dozen right now. 😋
To further illustrate how tone can help you break through the noise and establish your own unique style, check out the two videos linked below.
Both Brian Lagerstrom and Matty Matheson are professional chefs, and both will teach you how to make a delicious chopped cheese. But while Lagerstrom’s casual, more matter-of-fact tone will guide you through crafting this mouthwatering sandwich, Matheson’s enthusiastic irreverence is here to hype you up on eating it.
Being creative day in, day out, is really hard
by Chloe Markowicz
If you’re a creative, it’s guaranteed that you know what it’s like to feel stuck, uninspired, and otherwise creatively blocked. 😵💫
In this interview, Adam Alter, best-selling author and professor of marketing at New York University, offers habits and strategies for getting out of a creative rut. (Including how failure, bad ideas, and ChatGPT just might be your biggest allies.)
While some of the interview questions are geared specifically toward marketers, any creative profession or passion will benefit from his tips for combining random ideas, using constraints to spark creativity, and brainstorming long enough to get to the good stuff.
by Components AI
Need some color inspiration for your next design or website? 🎨
Randoma11y is a color scheme generator that helps you find beautiful color palettes with the click of a button. You can let the site make random suggestions, or choose a base color and cycle through the combo options.
The coolest part? Every color combo is designed with accessibility in mind, with each one meeting contrast ratio requirements that ensure text and images are easily distinguishable by people with different types of color blindness and other visual impairments.
I want people to fall in love with themselves and to be really proud and full of joy for the space they take up. If someone else appreciates the space you take up, then that's icing on the cake.
Written by Ashley Martin
Edited by Matt D'Avella