Content Production

Using voice and tone to create compassionate content

Robert Mills • 2 minutes

This video is the ninth in our Content Strategy Advent Calendar series.

Here, Jasmine Probst from Facebook gives us a refresher in voice and tone to help us create content that’s both useful and compassionate.

#ContentStrategyAdvent: Day 9 – Voice, tone and compassionate content, by @jasminecprobst

Video transcript

Hi, I’m Jasmine. I’m a content strategy manager at Facebook and today we’ll do a refresher on voice and tone. This is foundational for writing in a way that’s empathetic and easy to understand.

A handy way to explain the difference between voice and tone, is through an analogy. In content strategy, voice refers to the language we use to communicate about a brand and in a product. You can think of voice as someone’s personality. At the core, someone’s personality more or less always stays the same. But the way people express their personality changes considerably depending on the context. For example, although you’re the same person throughout the day, you probably act differently when you’re in your professional setting versus meeting friends for dinner.

Similarly as content strategists, we modulate tone to make sure our messages are appropriate depending on the context. At Facebook, our product voice is simple, straightforward and human. Meaning the words we use aim to focus on ease of use, lead with what’s most important and sound like a real person.

No matter what, we always communicate in a way that’s simple, straightforward and human. But we use tone to make sure we’re being sensitive to what people are going through. For example, we use a different tone when we are wishing someone a happy birthday, than we do when we’re helping them adjust settings.

A lot of teams start creating content with an ideal vision for the response they want to evoke. But this negates the messiness of real life and what people may be experiencing when they see that content. Instead, being considerate to how someone may be feeling when using a product, rather than how you want them to be feeling, is the best way to infuse that product with genuine personality.

Understanding the importance of a well developed voice, and the nuances of adjusting tone, is essential for developing messages that are both useful and compassionate. Thank you.

About Jasmine

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Jasmine Probst is a content strategy manager at Facebook, where she’s worked on a diverse range of projects, like ways for people to rediscover memories and support charitable causes. Her current team is focused on sensitive situations, including suicide prevention, account memorialization and harassment.

Jasmine was named one of Fast Company’s 2016 100 Most Creative People in Business. Before her adventure in Silicon Valley started, Jasmine was an independent consultant focused on high-end real estate and lifestyle branding. She has a BFA in electronic media and an MBA in design strategy.

#ContentStrategyAdvent: Day 9 – Voice, tone and compassionate content, by @jasminecprobst

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