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How to Use Narrative Voice in Marketing

How to Use Narrative Voice in Marketing

When approaching a new story, one of the very first — and most important — decisions an author must make is that of narrative voice. This determines the perspective from which the story is told and who the audience will sympathize with. The narrative voice, also known as point of view (POV), chosen for a story will influence every aspect of it, from its tone to the emotional impact it ultimately has on the reader/audience. Considering the best POV in fiction is paramount, but this concept resonates deeply within content marketing as well. 

Read on to learn more about narrative voice and how it can help or hinder your brand’s messaging.     

Types of Narrative Voice 

In fiction, certain points of view are more popular than others. When it comes to content writing, the best POV will depend on your end goal. While each type of narrative voice has its pros and cons, it’s important to understand the difference between them — and what each one brings to the table. 

Let’s break it down:

  • First Person — First-person narration uses one distinct perspective for the duration of a story. Events typically happen to the narrator, and pronouns “I” or “we” are used throughout. The reader has access to the narrator’s thoughts, which are often colored by their worldview and past experiences. This POV creates a sense of intimacy or closeness between the reader and the story’s protagonist.
  • Second Person — Stories written in the second person POV insert the reader directly into the narrative, making them a central character (usually the protagonist). The pronouns “you” and “your” are used to address the reader directly. This style is popular for “choose your own adventure” type stories.
  • Third Person Limited — A third-person limited voice sticks to the perspective of one individual or group of individuals, but the story is told by the voice of someone who is not a character in the story. Pronouns include “he,” “she” and “they,” with the reader getting an up-close-and-personal experience of the characters’ lives, yet still maintaining a degree of separation.
  • Third Person Omniscient — This POV offers a bird’s eye view of the characters’ lives while flitting between their perspectives. Audiences watch the events of the story in a more distant, unemotional way, as though simply observing the facts of the narrative.

Narrative Voice in Marketing

The narrative voice used in a brand’s marketing copy may be restricted by branding guidelines or other aspects of the creative process. That said, it’s worth considering the strengths of each POV and how it can enhance marketing copy, depending on the desired outcome. Let’s investigate. 

How to Use First Person POV in Marketing

The first-person narrative voice tends to feel more authentic and personal, which helps build trust between the reader/viewer and storyteller. This perspective is favored for customer testimonials and editorials, as it allows the storyteller to relate their own experiences directly to the viewer. Brands may also use pronouns like “I” or “we” to speak from the collective perspective of employees or customers — a popular marketing strategy for companies focussed on fostering a sense of community around their products or services. 

How to Use Second Person POV in Marketing

The second-person narrative voice has fallen somewhat out of favor in the literary sphere, but it can be a powerful tool when it comes to marketing copy. This POV is active and engaging, and it does an excellent job of speaking directly to customers. Second-person copy is highly effective when walking a customer through a specific experience. 

By keeping the customer at the center of the narrative, this POV is a great option for brands that help facilitate big life changes, such as buying a house, preparing for retirement or starting a family. It’s important to note that second person POV tends to work better in individualistic cultures — such as in the US. Brands marketing globally would likely need to adjust copy and voicing to reflect cultural differences, such as individualistic vs. collectivist.  

Third Person POV in Marketing

Brands that use characters in their marketing strategies can benefit from the third person perspective. This POV helps create a sense of separation and authority, inviting audiences to trust third-party characters, such as influencers and celebrity endorsers. This POV can also help brands keep the focus on their products, showcasing their inarguable utility for everyone, rather than trying to relate to a specific demographic on an emotional level.  

Copywriting: Perspective Matters

Utilizing the strengths of a specific narrative voice across copywriting efforts can help create a cohesive marketing strategy. This, in turn, can help improve a brand’s overall narrative, while building trust with audiences and improving brand recognition. 

Looking for an expert copywriter to help tell your story? Contact the team at Hire a Writer today. 


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