What is the difference between content tone and content voice? How do I establish content tone and voice?

Content tone is the emotional context, or attitude, of writing. Content voice is the personality of a piece of writing. To establish tone, think of the emotional needs of your audience. To establish personality, figure out your business’s values.

Tone and voice are used as synonyms in the writing and marketing world. However, they are two different terms with two different meanings.

What is content tone?

You speak differently with different people. The way you speak to your family is different from how you speak to coworkers, and the way you speak at an informal party is different from how you speak at an insurance conference.

Content tone is the emotional context of your writing. In other words, it is the attitude your writing has. For example, if your brand is humorous, the humor can sound good-natured, sarcastic, goofy, witty, or wry, depending on if you are writing a newsletter, an email, a social media post, or a blog.

What is content voice?

You have a personality that people identify you by, and the same goes for your business and content.

Content voice is your writing’s personality. A well-crafted voice communicates this personality and values—it is the representation of your business. A reader, for example, can read a blog and recognize that someone from your organization wrote it.

How do I establish content tone?

Content tone has variables. The best way to establish your content’s tone is to think about your audience’s needs in different situations.

Consider two different examples targeted toward two different audiences: A text to a friend you are meeting for dinner and an email to a coworker who needs to know about an upcoming deadline. They will have different tones because the writing is directed to audiences in two different emotional states.

Type of writing




Text message

Your friend, whom you are meeting for dinner

Happy, upbeat

“Hey! Is 6 pm okay for dinner? Let me know! Can’t wait to see you!”


Your coworker, who needs to know about an upcoming deadline


“Hello. The deadline to turn in the project is in two hours. Let me know if you need any assistance.”

How do I establish content voice?

Your business already has a unique voice, even if you might not realize it. The hard part is classifying and clarifying this voice. To do so, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my core values?: What are the fundamental beliefs of my business? How do I show these beliefs to my clients?
  • Who is my audience?: Who are the clients I serve?

Use the answers to these questions to craft a description of your voice—a voice that you want to represent your brand. Once you have crafted that description, review it for any contradictions or holes—you want your voice to be consistent.

Once you have established content tone and voice, you are ready to use them to write all types of content—from blogs and emails to newsletters and social posts and to create all kinds of content—from videos to podcasts.