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Survey reveals marketers waste the most time on improving tone


A marketing expert has suggested that almost 50% of marketing teams may need to improve their Tone of voice (TOV) guidelines to improve efficiency. 

This suggestion follows the recent finding that rewriting copy to improve tone is the most time-consuming part of the copy development process, as reported by 44% of marketers. Clearer TOV guidelines would allow marketers to get better quality content into the market faster.

Bynder surveyed 1,002 US and UK marketing professionals to investigate which tasks related to editorial content development take the most time, to uncover areas where efficiency can be improved.

The data concluded that the most time-consuming areas of copy development, ranked in order, are: 

  1. Rewriting to improve tone 
  2. Proofing/checking spelling and grammar
  3. Rewriting to shorten/lengthen text 
  4. Creative derives from longer copy (eg creating a social post from a blog) 
  5. Translating into other languages

Shockingly, almost HALF (44%) of marketers find rewriting copy to improve its tone to be the most time-consuming task. So it may be time for marketers to reevaluate their tone of voice guidelines.

Steve Vinall, Director of Global Brand and Communications at Bynder commented on the findings: “For almost half of marketers that we surveyed, rewriting to improve tone is the most time-consuming part of the copy development process. Rewriting copy is a duplication of effort and it’s of course preferable to get it right the first time. This suggests that tone of voice guidelines are not present, not clear enough, or perhaps too subjective. Thankfully, there are ways to develop TOV guidelines, which should lead to a more efficient copy development process and ultimately, getting better content into market faster.”

Steve Vinall has shared advice on improving TOV guidelines:

“It’s important to get your brand’s tone of voice documented; this provides clear guidelines to help marketing staff get copy right the first time, ultimately ensuring you’re delivering your message in line with your company’s brand in the most efficient way possible. Things to include in TOV guidelines are:

  1. Differentiate tone between channels of communication

“There will likely be different nuances in your copy depending on the channel, such as the natural difference between blogs, data sheets and social media for example. Ensure that this is clearly defined in your TOV document to avoid reworks.”

  1. Use best practice examples

“Detailed, best practice examples are the easiest way to demonstrate your desired tone of voice. Ensure that a number of different use cases are provided for circumstances which may require subtle differences in TOV. Regularly update examples to provide as many best-use cases as possible.”

  1. Dos and don’ts

“Defining a brand by only stating what your tone of voice is does not define the perimeters closely enough. Ensure that your TOV guidelines include examples of both ‘do’s and ‘don’ts. Show examples of best practice and also common mistakes that writers make”

  1. Test and refine

“Make note of areas in your team’s copywriting which often need reworking or addressing; this should indicate areas of your TOV guidelines which are unclear or subjective and need to be reworked.”

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