I recently finished the book Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, a book I quite enjoyed. But I’ll be honest: It took me a while to get used to the voice of the author. I’ve not read anything else by her so don’t know if the style of this book was unique or not, but it was different than what I was expecting and unlike anything I’ve read, at least recently.

Once I got the rhythm of the novel, though it was an interesting and rewarding read. And more importantly it got me thinking about the importance of exposing yourself to a variety of voices and writing styles.

In the world of content marketing we talk about “voice” a lot. We want to find the right brand “voice” and make sure everyone has been indoctrinated into it. Publications and magazines do something similar, making sure their writers are well versed in the house style or whatever they call it. Sure, bold-name columnists may have their own style but the rank and file are expected to toe the line.

There’s legitimate value in this approach, which is designed to make the reading experience as consistent for the audience as possible. But there’s also a lot to be said for exposing your readers – and yourself – to a variety of different writing styles and voices.


By letting a handful of styles into the content mix you keep the reader from getting, for lack of a better term, bored. Brand publishers are putting out more content then every before and, with that in mind as well as just how many brands, media companies and others are putting content out there every minute of every hour of every day, it can be important to keep things fresh.

While a consistent and universally-adopted style guide is a MUST for any good program (seriously, if you haven’t gone through this exercise it can change the way you look at marketing-related publishing) that doesn’t need to mean that all contributors are using the same writing style. Let someone who’s a bit funnier explore that side of things. Let someone who is a bit more poetic do their thing. In short, hire good writers and let them be who they are and bring those skills to the program.

Admittedly this approach isn’t for everyone. But some brands will see big upsides when they stop trying to dictate voice and let people’s natural talents and skills be brought to bear on the program.