Pitch-Perfect: Copywriters Spend The Most Time Finding The Right Tone

Copywriting teams spend more time trying to perfect their tone than they do anything else, according to a study by Bynder. 

Of the marketers polled, 44% say writing to improve tone is the most time-consuming task. In general, they rank these tasks as their most labor-intensive: 

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

Email copywriters are, of course, familiar with all these challenges. And they have the additional ones of writing subject lines, calls to action and personalized offers.  



 “For almost half of marketers that we surveyed, rewriting to improve tone is the most time-consuming part of the copy development process,” says Steve Vinall, director of global brand and communications at Bynder. “Rewriting copy is a duplication of effort and it’s of course preferable to get it right the first time.” 

How do you avoid this waste of time? By creating Tone of Voice (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,” Vinall adds.

Vinall suggests the following:

  • Differentiate tone between channels of communication, and ensure that this is clearly defined in your TOV guidelines. 
  • Use best-practices examples for a variety of use cases.
  • Dos and don’ts — Your guidelines should specify both best practices and common mistakes.
  • Test and refine — Email and direct mail copywriters are well familiar with this practice. It’s not simply a literary exercise—it is based on actual audience response to the copy.  

Indeed, Vinall notes that 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.” 

Bynder surveyed 1,002 US and U.K. marketing professionals.


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