It is up to you as a writer to establish the tone in your writing that will influence how the reader feels after reading what you have to say. How can you determine tone, though? What’s more, how can you use tone to your advantage in your writing?
What is the Tone?
The attitude that the writer portrays through the words on the page is referred to as “tone” in writing. This tone could be lighthearted, serious, professional, or informal.
When people speak aloud, the tone of their voice conveys their sentiments and attitudes. When they are passionate about a topic, they may put vocal emphasis on key phrases, become louder or softer, or modify the tempo of their speech to demonstrate how serious or casual a topic is.
When it comes to conveying tone in writing, though, we must use a different set of techniques. We’re forced to rely on the words themselves to convey the tone we want to send through the message.
You must master being deliberate with your tone in order to be an effective writer. So, what are the first steps you should take?
Understand Your Audience
Know who you’re writing to before you start. Who are you attempting to talk to? Are you addressing your message to educators? Owners of small businesses? DIY enthusiasts?
Or are you writing to folks who have faced or accomplished similar challenges in their lives? Recognize what unites your audience and what they have in common. You can better comprehend the tone to use when conversing and relating to them after you grasp their commonalities.
Once you’ve determined who your audience is, you’ll be able to choose what tone your writing should take.
Know the Content
Know what you want to accomplish with your writing and what message you want to send.
Is this a critical message you’re sending on behalf of an organization? Or are you going to start with a light-hearted narrative about pumpkin pie before moving on to a handmade pie crust recipe?
Instead of detracting or distracting from the message you’re trying to convey, your tone should coincide with it and complement it.
Make sure your tone aids you in achieving the objectives you desire in your writing.
Learn the Intended Tone
What is the goal of the company you’re writing for? Unless you’re writing for a publication as yourself, you’ll need to know the voice of the client you’re writing for and the tone they want to convey.
Companies frequently have a style guide that defines how they want to be represented across all platforms. They might use terms like professional, positive, respectful, or passionate to define their communication tone.
If they don’t have a style guide, have a look at their online presence to see what tone they use on social media, in blog posts, and on their website pages. Take note of whether they write in a casual or professional tone.
If you have any questions about your client’s intended tone, it’s usually a good idea to check with them before you start writing.
Read Your Writing Aloud
Read your work aloud to yourself. When you read the words, how does your voice naturally lean? Does your message come across as informal, as if you’re conversing with a friend? Do you come across as more professional, as if you’re chatting to a group of business associates? Make any necessary changes to your writing after hearing it to ensure that it conveys the correct tone.
Use this time to search for items that detract from the attitude you’re attempting to communicate. Remove any words that focus on negative acts or sentiments if you’re aiming to write an uplifting post that motivates the reader to take action.
If you’re trying to convey a serious tone for a melancholy message, make sure there are no run-on phrases, unnecessary paragraphs, or anything else that takes the reader’s attention away the focus of the message.
Don’t Forget to Practice
It takes a long time to perfect the art of detecting and utilizing tone.
Spend some time in your writing to learn identifying and then setting the tone. Take note of how other authors convey the tone of their written words by looking around. You’ll get better at identifying the tone of what you’re reading as you get better at identifying the tone of what you’re writing.