Working with an Agency to Navigate the Nuances of Company Messaging


When starting with clients, our team works to understand their voice – both the corporate tone and that of spokespeople representing the brand. It’s part of messaging, but it’s also bigger. We want to capture in a sentence, in a paragraph, in 300 words, in 150 characters what a company or an exec will say in a way that resonates with its audience.

Take Time to Explore and Understand Your Company’s Voice.

We often think about the message – what we need to communicate – but defining the voice is as crucial as messaging. How will it resonate with your audiences? Does it fit the image of your brand? Defining your company and exec’s voice and effectively communicating to represent your organization requires thoughtful evaluation, planning and execution. Is it conversational? Is it short and simple? Is it long and complex? Every company needs to be unique in the way they find their voice. And that’s what we consider with a new client, a rebrand or spokesperson adjustment. What does that need to sound like? And there are a lot of things to consider when you’re making those decisions. It’s critical to think about vocabulary, syntax, style, and tone tailored to relate to target audiences. 

Crafting Voice Requires Patience.

Our team works to accurately create the company’s or executive’s voice early in our process. Unless the company has clear guidelines and many previous examples they already love, the process takes time, patience and collaboration. When a client doesn’t like the first draft, we need a lot of communication and feedback, especially with new clients. 

Why isn’t the piece right? Important questions come into play and need collaborative answers. Here are some things to consider, even before the comms creation happens.

  • What are the goals for creating the comms piece?
    Is the piece designed to sell, educate, inform a specific vertical, or drive engagement via social channels?
  • Who is the audience?
    Are you creating internal communications for your employees or sharing executive communications for the board? Those are two different things. The same questions apply if you’re writing for marketing vs the research department or a bylined article for a magazine. Is that magazine targeted for B2B or B2C? Every audience is unique.

Communication is complex, and the audience’s needs should always take precedence. Finding consistency and the brand flavor that is your organization and your expert is tricky.

Relevance Matter.

One of the biggest complaints we hear from an overall communication perspective is that most communication feels irrelevant to audiences. When we create talking points or write for clients, our first thoughts are, “How do I make this relevant for the audience? Why do they want to read it?”  

Let’s also mention talking to reporters. In a previous uptake, we remind clients that “it’s not always about you.” It’s about being newsworthy. It’s about what you bring to the issue or what you bring to the conversation. That’s why we work so hard to get your story and your voice right so that what gets said or written doesn’t come across as a hard sell. Regardless of the outlet or audience, our goal is to showcase your company, your leadership and your offerings in a way that provides insight, value and depth.

Our job is to find our client’s voice, uncover the relevant and essential information to satisfy the client, the right audience and journalists, and share it in a way that showcases the brand we represent and helps the client achieve their goals. That’s a big task, but we’re happy to share that we do have success stories!

Our Clients’ Time is Valuable.

We want to create less work for our clients when creating content. When the material is complex, our team likes to hop on a video call, hit the record button, and hear, in our client’s voice, exactly how they would discuss the topic. It gives us a perfect starting point to take the information and fine-tune it for the final product. 

We also look at other places our client has appeared, such as podcasts or former interviews. These help us understand the client’s voice, sound and style. Once we have a better idea of the client’s voice, goals, and audience, we can ask them to create some simple bullet points and take it from there. 

Don’t Copy the Competition.

It’s important to consider what the competition is doing. Our clients’ competitors probably talk about similar, possibly even the same, topics, and we want to sound different from them. Sometimes, the competitors communicate incredibly well, and copying what they do is tempting. No matter how creative the competitors are, staying original and promoting your organization’s strengths is critical. We’ll help by researching competitors’ communications, considering where they’ve been published and reviewing executive quotes. Our task is to complement what’s already been done, add relevant content unique to our client’s business, and help the business stand out. 

First Drafts Won’t Be Perfect.

That’s why they’re called “drafts.” First drafts may have a lot of space to fill in more details; they may even feel nebulous. It’s like creating a piece of music, starting by getting the drum beat down and a simple melody. The rest gets filled in as we go.

With any new client, idea or concept, it’s crawl, walk, run. We expect feedback, and we expect edits. We want our clients to be brutally honest and tell us where we missed the mark. We’ve been in this business a long time and don’t take constructive criticism personally. It helps us learn. We want clients to share what needs to be different and tell us what they like and don’t like. And then we can take it from there. As we work with clients over time, our drafts get better and better, so eventually, the first draft has only a few edits, not the horrifying column of comments that can come with the very first piece we draft for a client. 

In the review process, we’ll tailor the comms to the audience. If we’re writing for TechCrunch or Wall Street Journal, the tone and details will differ from a detailed white paper. Clients need to understand how authenticity can be supported in every piece, even if the voice changes slightly based on the audience. 

How Perfect Does Communication Need to Be?

After receiving feedback and making one or two revisions to create effective communications for our client, the pieces are approved 99% of the time. Once in a while, we have a client that is never satisfied. Sometimes, this is analysis paralysis. Occasionally, it comes from unrealistic expectations or a misunderstanding of the audience or type of communication. 

When working with communicators, consider how difficult it would be to change the final work. How sticky is the piece? Will people read it a year or five years from now? Who and how large is the audience? How important is the piece for your organization?

If the piece is for a printed publication or being emailed, ensure it’s as close to perfect as possible. Proofread, rewrite, edit, hire a second and third set of eyes, and make sure everyone is delighted. Once it’s printed and published, or once you hit send, it’s harder to change. You can change it easily if it’s a webpage or a blog post. 

Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis for a blog post, social media post, or even a press release. Make sure all the information is accurate. Carefully check names and titles; dot the i’s and cross the t’s. But pay attention to the back and forth and use common sense to decide when to stop editing. Don’t allow perfection to be the enemy of progress or cause a missed opportunity.

Let’s Wrap this Comms Article Up!

Patience, communication, and trust between internal and external team members are essential in defining and refining a company’s voice and working effectively with your PR team. Navigating the complexities of messaging and ensuring alignment with organizational goals is a big task. Hire experienced professionals to ensure your communications stay authentic while meeting the objectives of your organization and remaining relevant to your target audience.

If you’d like help with your company’s voice, reach out to us! We’d be delighted to learn more about your business and explore how we can support your PR and communications needs.