Determining your tone

Modified on Tue, 22 Nov 2022 at 03:20 PM

Why should brands care about tone? 

Tone establishes the human element of the relationship between audience and brand. Whether colloquial or authoritative, playful or academic, tone is the tool brands use to convey a sense of company culture and personality.


Honing in on an ideal tone allows brands to focus on an aspirational goal — whether that’s sounding like The New York Times, or making financial service content fun and engaging.


What is the problem? 

As marketers continue to amplify their content programs, it’s become harder to maintain a consistent brand voice and tone across different channels and publications. 


What is Contently’s tone analyzer? 

Contently’s tone analyzer is a brand governance tool, which means it allows your team to establish a brand voice and maintain it across all of your content. 


Consistency keeps your legal team happy by making compliance easy. It also saves time in the workflow process. It looks like this: If writers are clear about the brand’s voice, this saves editors — and the legal team — time during their review.


How does Contently’s tone analyzer work? 

The tone analyzer breaks down your publication’s unique tone, explaining what each trait means and interpreting your publication’s overall score. 


Contently’s tone analyzer uses machine learning algorithms from IBM Watson to characterize the unique voice of a piece of writing and, when run together, your publication. The analyzer reviews content, identifying linguistic patterns and other cues, and assigns it a unique score based on five key areas: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, emotional range.


While the areas were originally based on Ernest Tupes and Raymond Christal’s Five Factor personality model, Contently’s strategists re-imagined the terms and definitions to apply to editorial situations. Contently’s key areas reflect the personality and values of the author and brand, as well as their attitude towards the subject matter.


Tone Traits

1. Openness – The extent to which the writing is emotionally aware, imaginative, and incorporates a variety of viewpoints.

2. Conscientiousness – The extent to which the writing is organized, disciplined, and purposeful.

3. Extraversion – The extent to which the writing is engaging, assertive, and seeks the attention of the reader.

4. Agreeableness – The extent to which the writing is sympathetic, caring, and trustworthy.

5. Emotional Range – The extent to which the writing incites a strong emotional reaction, passion, or sense of concern.


Why should I be concerned with the 50 percent mark?

The personality areas serve as a spectrum for two opposing traits. The 50 percent mark, then, serves as a threshold, indicating you are more like one trait or another. 


For example, Contently’s publication, The Content Strategist, scores a 78 percent for the personality area “consciousness.” In this case, the higher the number, the more relaxed the tone. Since Contently’s number is on the higher end of the scale, we know its language is colloquial. A publication that scores a substantial amount below the 50 percent mark (say, 28 percent) would register as “academic.” This would mean that the publication’s tone expresses a degree of separation between the reader and writer.


Is my data safe with the tone analyzer?

Yes! 5–10% of the data being evaluated for tone will be randomly sampled and used to make the algorithms better. If you have sensitive data or information that needs to be secure, we can have your publication opt-out of this.


How else can I apply the tone analyzer to my publication?

In addition to brand governance, Contently’s clients use the tone analyzer to find the right creative talent. Tone technology ensures brands are matched with writers that not only have relevant industry expertise, but also write in manner that is consistent with the brand’s voice.


If a brand is at all unsure about what its voice “sounds like,” our technology will quantify it by programmatically analyze all published content. Our in-house team of strategists and account managers then provide example of other brands and publications that match this tone and sets guidelines to maintain it — or establishes steps to change it in case the voice needs to more closely align with brand goals.


Read more about the importance of tone and how you can use the tone analyzer to find the best writers for you here.

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