With so much content available online, it’s easy to want to write to extremes. If click bait has taught us anything – it’s that even when something is obviously over-the-top and false, people will react. But over-the-top writing – whether in tone or in substance – is just as likely to put your audience off.

Striking the best tone for your content is a bit of a balancing act. You want to excite your audience – while demonstrating your credibility. The key is using balanced language that’s human and targeted.

Your online voice will most likely be a continually-shifting balance, that’s moderated primarily on the type of experience:

  • Acquisition: Are you trying to get new users, customers, clients, or patients?
  • Support: Are you trying to help solve a problem, or help someone accomplish a task?
  • Entertainment: Are you trying to entertain?

Obviously, in entertainment content you’ll want to pull the lever far on the side of engaging and exciting. Acquisition allows you to demonstrate the “wow” as well, but it still needs a stable base of credibility.  And with support content, being credible needs to take precedence.

Other moderations in tone can result based on differences in:

The user or customer type

  • Prospective
  • New
  • Existing
  • Long-term

The purpose

  • Informational content
  • Support content
  • Transactional content
  • Error content

The delivery method

  • Desktop web
  • Mobile
  • Email
  • SMS

Regardless of how “wow” you get, make sure you identify the information your users truly need, and make that the most prominent information on a page, regardless of how you present it. Use language that gets right to the point, so each content item is succinct and clear.

Vary your tone based on the user’s journey and where they are in the lifecycle, but stick to the overarching voice, and you’ll be able to stay credible and create excitement.