Last time, I wrote about how to develop a brand voice that connects with your audience. Today I’m delving into a related topic: tone. Specifically, let’s talk about how tone in healthcare content should change slightly, depending on the particular subject matter involved.
What is tone?
If your mother ever called you by your full name in a stern voice because you’d misbehaved as a child, then you definitely understand what “tone” is in communication. Tone means the same thing in healthcare content.
Examples of tone in healthcare content
Unlike voice, which reflects your brand’s personality and remains consistent across all of your content assets, tone can change in response to the situation or subject matter. A few examples to illustrate this:
- Serious and supportive tone for difficult topics. I often write consumer health articles that discuss serious health information, such as pancreatic cancer survival rates and prognoses. Subject matter like this deserves a tone that is matter-of-fact but supportive – not breezy and lighthearted. The brand voice remains steady: authoritative, approachable. But the tone changes to reflect the seriousness of the subject matter.
- Light tone for lifestyle tips. On the flip side, when writing an article like “How to Get Back on Track with Your New Year’s Resolution,” I can use that breezy tone I avoided for the pancreatic cancer piece. Nothing about this article screams “life-or-death,” so you can use a tone that has fun with the subject matter.
- Self-deprecation is A-OK on social media. Brands that mock themselves on social media frequently develop huge followings. Providers should tread lightly here, because being too self-deprecating could backfire. Does anyone really want to know the surgeon who’s scheduled to perform their knee replacement clumsily lacerated his finger on a beer bottle over the weekend and then posted the information – accompanied by a DERP gif – on Twitter? Maybe not. But other types of healthcare businesses certainly can employ a mocking or self-deprecating tone in their social media content.
Change up your brand’s tone to add personality and authenticity to your content
These examples represent just a few ways in which your brand’s tone can change to fit the mood of the content you’re producing. Unlike your brand voice, your tone does not need to remain consistent across assets. In fact, quite the opposite! How boring would your blog be if every post read exactly the same, tonally? On your blog, specifically, you should mix up the tone to reveal your personality to the audience. They’ll love your authenticity!
The twin concepts of voice and tone go hand-in-hand to create memorable healthcare content your audience will love. And when an audience loves your content, it means you’re connecting with them. Connection leads to engagement, and… You get the idea.
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