Business news

Tone of Voice Nerd's origin story

The short and frank story of why Tone of Voice Nerd exists.

Author
Felicity Wild
Date
15.7.2022

Let’s cut straight to the chase. You know that list of “brand personality” adjectives you find wedged between colour palettes and logo variations in brand guidelines?

Nobody finds these useful to write good, consistent copy. Not even pro-copywriters. And yet frequently, that’s all the thought tone of voice is given.

That’s the short and frank reason why Tone of Voice Nerd exists.

I got fed up of working with clients who’d wasted money on vague tone of voice guides that didn’t help anyone on their team, or contractors like me, write decent copy.

I knew I could do a better job and produce tone of voice guides—or brand voice blueprints, to use their fancy name—people would actually find useful.

They're equal parts tone of voice, editorial style and brand strategy, with everything you need to know to write confidently for a brand.

I’ve been offering this service as part of my freelance copywriting business for a while, and now I’ve taken the leap to expand it into its own entity.

Et voilà—Tone of Voice Nerd.

Since you’re here though, let’s dig a little deeper into the story.

Flying the flag for tone of voice

I’ve been a copywriter for around a decade, and freelance since 2016. In that time I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses, either directly or through agencies.

The most successful projects I’ve been involved with placed equal emphasis on words and visuals. The least successful treated words as an afterthought. Space fillers added hastily once the design was done to get the project out the door.

And that’s a huge wasted opportunity.

In today’s crowded markets, businesses need to do everything they can to stand out. Many have no qualms dropping huge sums on visual branding to achieve this, but completely overlook verbal branding. Which is just as strong a differentiator.

Tone of Voice Nerd is here to take tone of voice seriously. To fly the flag for verbal identity done properly. And to help smart people who know it’s a wise investment develop something truly valuable for their business.

It’s important to acknowledge I’m not the first or only person to think this way—there are people already doing good work in this area. But not enough. Not by a long stretch.

As long as there are brand guidelines out there with less than a page dedicated to tone of voice, our work is not done.

Taking control of the process

Those are the business reasons why I’ve founded Tone of Voice Nerd. But there are some personal ones too.

Over the last few years, thanks to a mixture of luck and hard graft, my freelance copywriting services have been in high demand. Why fix something that isn’t broken, you could justifiably ask.

In lots of ways it was broken, though.

We talk about the feast and famine cycle of freelancing and I’ve been living that to the extreme. I’ve had five-figure months and zero-figure months. Times when I’ve been working on four different projects across four different time zones, taking calls at all hours of the day and night. Followed by periods of burnout when I couldn’t face opening my laptop.

Working on high-profile projects as a freelancer, I’ve been a small cog in a big machine. I’ve had no control over the process. I’ve been at the mercy of everyone else’s deadlines and bad planning emergencies, and it’s simply not sustainable in the long run.

So Tone of Voice Nerd is me taking back control. I own the process. I set the deadlines. I keep projects running smoothly and workloads under control.

This means clients will always get the best of me and my fellow tone of voice nerds. As well as an awesome new verbal identity for their brand, obviously. 😉

Author
Felicity Wild
Founder and chief tone of voice nerd

10 rounds of edits and your copy still isn't right?

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*Available for projects starting February 2023 and beyond

Hi, I'm Felicity Wild

Founder & Chief Tone of Voice Nerd

I started Tone of Voice Nerd because too many of my clients were investing in vague tone of voice guides that didn’t help their team, or freelance copywriters like me, write good copy.  

I knew I could do a better job and produce tone of voice guides—or brand voice blueprints, to use their fancy name—people would actually find useful.  

They're designed to give you clarity on how to speak to customers, the confidence to communicate who you are as a business and the tools to present the value of what you do to the world.

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