Help with your tone of voice/writing style?

Posted on April 13, 2017 in Copywriting

Getting the right tone of voice/writing style is an essential part of writing …

Here is an exercise to help you with your writing.  How would you describe these writing styles – there are some prompts below?  (They are all the very start of real reports, although I tinkered with the first one.)  Secondly, what factors influence your decision, and influence a writing’s tone of voice?

Keep reading.  There is a surprise right at the end .. .


❶ To celebrate Reserch4Life’s 10th anniversary in 2017, we launched a competition. We asked users to share with us how HINARI, AGORA or ORAE have improved their work, their life and their community. Sixty entries were received – from across all five continents. Now we’d like to share with you the array of inspiring testimonies, each of which reveals some of the positive impacts brought about by Resarch4Life. Thank you for your support.


❷ As the world slowly emerges from the devastating Financial Crisis, it is time to reflect on the lessons of this turbulent period and think afresh about how to prevent future crises. The Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations focuses on the increasing short-termism of modern politics and our collective inability to break the gridlock that undermines attempts to address the biggest challenges that will shape our future. In Now for the Long Term we urge decision-makers to overcome their pressing daily preoccupations to tackle problems that will determine the lives of today’s and tomorrow’s generations.


❸ We’ll start with the simple stuff: microscopy is pretty much what is sounds like – using microscopes to study small objects. And imaging is the process by which the data gathered during microscopy is turned into an image. It seems pretty basic, but these terms encompass a vast range of advanced techniques. Together, microscopy and imaging are a crack team that have revolutionised science and shaped the modern world.


❹ There is nothing dark, still less satanic, about the Revolution Mill in Greensboro, North Carolina. The tall yellow-brick chimney stack, within red bricks spelling ‘Revolution’ down its length, was built a few years after the mill was established in 1900. It was a booming time for local enterprise. America’s cotton industry was moving south from New England to take advantage of lower wages. The number of mills in the South more than doubled between 1890 and 1900, to 542. By 1938 Revolution Mill was the world’s largest factory exclusively making flannel, producing 50m yards of cloth a year.




Flowing–Laboured; Elaborate–Plain; Concise–Wordy

 Vocabulary / Tone

Direct–Indirect; Remote–Chatty; Neutral–Emotional

Character / Culture

Serious–Playful; Follower–Expert; Independent–Caring


Questioning–Informing; Problem-orientated–Solution focused; Listener–Entertainer



  • Content / Vocabulary – what is included and excluded
  • Grammar – active/passive verbs, contractions, use of pronouns, abbreviations, sentence length
  • ‘Bush strokes’ – quotes, rhythm, senses, etc.
  • Informality – use of asides, jargon and comedy
  • Mood – Here is the surprise … Yes, even your mood (as you write) can affect your writing’s tone of voice. Watch out!


Let me know which style you prefer, or which most closely matches your style.

Not just a Copywriter - Also a Writing Trainer.
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