Posted by Jay Wilkinson

One of the keys to building a successful web presence is to make sure that everything you put out there—on your website, in social media, via email—speaks to your cause in a consistent and recognizable way. You want your messages to sound like your organization, not three or four different organizations.

That’s why developing a consistent brand voice is so important.

If it helps, pretend that you’re having a one-on-one conversation with an important constituent—whether you’re writing website copy, an email, a Facebook post, or even just a headline. Write as if your organization is speaking to an individual, not a crowd. It will keep your messages more personable, engaging and reflective of your brand, plus it’s how people read your communication—as individuals, not as one large group.

This leads me to one of the biggest questions that I get from nonprofits:

How do we maintain a consistent voice?
If you’re like many nonprofits, you might have four or five different people from your organization—volunteers or paid staffers—who are involved in maintaining an online presence for your organization, from writing web copy to social media posts. And you might have one person who writes things one way and another who says things in a slightly different way, and they might be sending messages in two different voices. This is not something that is easy to wrangle or control.

However, I recommend that nonprofits loosen the reigns and don’t worry too much about controlling the voice.
You should be concerned instead with protecting the voice and guiding it. There’s a difference.

It used to be that organizations might have one person—just one—who was the keeper of the brand voice. This person would be the only one with the ability to change or modify web copy or create online marketing messages. Today, many organizations have a team of players responsible for creating content.

The way to protect or guide your brand voice in this case is to simply appoint someone on your staff with the responsibility to read what your team members are writing—and how they’re writing it—and then provide feedback.

It’s basically giving someone the role of “steward of our brand voice.”  You could call that person a brand cop, and he or she would be tasked with the responsibility of keeping your organization’s voice consistent.

There’s no need in this day and age of social media and content management systems to allow just one person access to your brand’s online messages. As long as you have somebody who is being proactive in communicating with any members of your team who are posting thing on behalf of your organization, you’ll be able to create and maintain a consistent brand voice.