Here at We ❤ Health Literacy Headquarters, we’re always looking for ways to make stronger connections with our audience. And using the right voice and tone is one way to make that connection. So this week, we’re sharing tips to help you figure out your health writing voice and tone.
First, a little refresher on what volume and tone mean. Sound: is permanent. It is a key part of your identity. an expression of personality that comes out of your writing. In the corporate world, it’s often called “brand voice,” but it’s not just for Apples and Fords. Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company, a government agency, or a community nonprofit, you need a consistent voice.
But what? is sound, right? Think about how you can recognize your favorite singer even if you’ve never heard the song before, it’s because their voice is different from song to song (or in our case, health stuff).
holiday, on the other hand, is situational. It varies based on the specific topic, context, and likely emotional state of your audience. So while the voice remains the same across a website or campaign, the tone may change slightly from page to page or tweet to tweet.
Clean as mud? Think of it this way. no matter who you talk to, you are still yourself; voice. But you wouldn’t talk to your best friend the way you would talk to your boss, or your sworn enemy, or your bank’s ATM; tone depending on who you are talking to and what the conversation is about.
So how do you figure out the right voice and tone to use? We often define voice and tone as a set of adjectives, such as “friendly, empathetic, and sincere.” And to really discover the tone, it can be helpful to think about what your voice or tone is and: what it is not.
For example, you might describe the voice of your health communication campaign as follows:
- Optimistic but not naïve
- Friendly but not overly familiar
- Informative but not dry
As for tone, we need to be more specific. What is the theme of health? What is the audience likely to think or feel as they read about it?
For example, a fun, whimsical tone might be perfect for giving general healthy eating advice, but it won’t sit well with nutritional advice for people starting chemotherapy. In that case, the voice can be:
- Motivating but not overly optimistic
- Comforting but not patronizing
- Serious, but not scary
Bottom line: To create a stronger connection with your audience, think through the voice and tone of your health materials before you write
Tweet about it. Want to get your #HealthLit writing right? Being intentional about voice and tone can help. @CommunicateHlth tips: https://bit.ly/3d1ksNJ #HealthComm