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Voice vs. Tone

People tend to get these confused. Remember this: The UB voice should come through in all of our content, while the tone can fluctuate based on the situation of the reader.
  • Voice: informs all written copy and visuals, including your website, brochures, fliers, emails, etc.
  • Tone: changes to suit the situation; a blog post should be different than an error message

Our voice helps readers understand who we are. It expresses our personality and reinforces our brand.

The UB Voice

  • informal and fun but not sloppy
  • smart and purposeful but not complicated
  • helpful and engaging but not overbearing
  • clever and edgy but not trite
  • direct and genuine but not pushy

Crafting Communication

Talk to your reader. You are writing to a person, so speak to them and not at them. Use the word "you" in your writing as if you are having a conversation. Contractions can be used to convey an approachable, friendly tone.

Instead of: Our online database assists students with finding job opportunities that match their interests.
Try this: Through our online database, you'll find job opportunities that match your interests.

Relate to your reader. Write like you speak. Don't use institutional lingo or insider jargon. Avoid acronyms at all times, unless otherwise specified in our Editorial Style Guide.

Instead of: Our student success reporting unit, ABC, incorporates praxis into the educational pedagogy.
Try this: We can connect you with hands-on learning experiences.

Clarify things for your reader. Get to the point you're trying to make. Focus on what is important instead of trying to include every detail.

Instead of: If you or a guest needs special seating accommodations we will be happy to make arrangements for you. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide seat location information in advance, but we do our best to reserve seats so that guests are seated together.
Try this: We are happy to make disability seating available for you or a guest and will do our best to seat groups together.

Motivate your reader. Make your call to action clear to your audience. Use strong verbs so they know exactly what you want them to do, know or feel.

Instead of: Click here if you need additional resources for parents and families.
Try this: Download more parent and family resources.

Enlighten your reader. Back up your statements with facts. Share real, honest stories.

Instead of: Patrons who have utilized our center have reported a significant impact on their professional development.
Try this: Ninety percent of recent graduates reported UB had an impact on their professional development.

Last Published 3/29/17