Want to Create Compelling Content? Master These Five Writing Tones

There are 5 types of tone in writing that every content writer needs to know – formal, objective, whimsical, persuasive, and conversational. Are you a master of one or none?

Great content writers put out impactful content – consistently. 

But so do good writers. And the above-average writers. And barely making it count writers. So, what makes the difference? The tone of voice you use to deliver the message. 

Your readers are always analyzing the tone of your writing from the words you use. They are making crucial decisions about placing trust in it too. And that’s why to create compelling content, you need to get the tone right.  

What is Tone in Writing? 

The tone in writing is the underlying emotion a reader feels when reading the text. It could be real or perceived emotion, depending on the context of the writing. But typically, the way you choose words, construct sentences, and use punctuation will define and establish the tone.  

According to Nielsen Norman Group, there are 4 major dimensions to the tone of voice:

1. Funny Vs. Serious

2. Formal Vs. Casual 

3. Respectful Vs. Irreverent

4.  Enthusiastic Vs. Matter-of-fact

5 Types of Tone in Writing and How to Use Them

Here are the five tones in writing and tips on getting it right.

#1 The Formal Tone

How would you address your teacher or a work colleague? With respect, and of course, with a formal greeting? This is the emotion a formal tone aims to evoke.

Typically used in B2B blogs and whitepapers, such a tone helps the writer (and, by extension, the company) sound knowledgeable and direct. Moreover, given that it doesn’t use offensive slang, it is often more respectful to the reader. So now, how do you evoke this tone in your piece?

The easiest way to do it is to include third-person pronouns and jargon and limit slang and contractions.  


Chief information officers (CIOs) and technology leaders must continue to rely on innovative technology to solve business problems and pursue new growth opportunities. And for that, they must be abreast of the emerging trends in information technology.

Sounds like the writer knows what they’re talking about, doesn’t it?

#2 The Objective Tone

Not every piece you write needs to prove your credibility through language. Often, all you need to do is present an unbiased view of a topic to gain your reader’s trust. Think of research reports, product reviews, and case studies.

One way to nail this tone is to avoid using words with positive or negative connotations. Or words that are charged with emotion, for that matter. For instance, words like extremely, good, bad, worrisome, etc. lend emotion to a piece, making it opinionated.


A marketing tool by nature, Drift sought to connect with its customers through its content marketing efforts authentically. So, the company took down forms across its website in 2016.

And now compare it with this.

In 2016, Drift did something its competitors wouldn’t dare to do. It took down its forms from its website.

See how the choice of words in the first case makes the event sound neutral? This is what it means to stay objective when writing.

#3 The Whimsical Tone

If you’ve been in the content space for long enough, you know very well that no amount of objectivity or proof will push your reader to try a product. Instead, what will do the trick is empathizing with them and their problems (emphatically) and reiterating them.

And taking on a whimsical tone can help with it.

To switch to a whimsical tone of writing, you must include hyperboles and metaphors where you deem them fit.


Quips like “The only tool your organization needs!” or “Reclaim your off hours with this tool!” may not be realistic. But they show your reader you understand the magnitude of their issues. This builds trust and helps with creating an impact.

#4 The Persuasive Tone

You’ll need to write pieces with contrarian takes or bold ideas occasionally. For example, maybe you are commissioned to write a thought-leadership-style blog post or a guest post on a partner website. Either way, your goal is to prove your point and convince the reader to agree.

A persuasive tone of writing can help you do this.

The most effective way to sound persuasive is to back up your claims with facts. The second way is to make sure your argument is concise and packs a punch.


Content marketing is crucial to the success of horizontal SaaS companies. It helps with acquisition, activation, and retention. A survey even suggested that 40% of SaaS companies had a content marketing strategy.

Here, the fact that content marketing is key is backed up by the stat showing that 40% of SaaS companies were doubling down on it. It essentially quells your reader’s questions and helps you build trust.

#5 The Conversational Tone

Last on this list is the tone everyone wants to adopt in their writing; one reminiscent of a conversation with a close friend and one we’ve tried to use throughout this post – the conversational tone.

In case it isn’t evident yet, the goal is to build trust with the reader.

And it is most effective when writing blog posts or emails.

Want to adopt a conversational style of writing? Start by using second-person pronouns. This makes your readers believe you’re directly addressing them. 

Want to go a step further? Include contractions. Visit the places your target reader is active. View how they speak to their peers. Then mimic this style in your writing.


If you enjoy bringing characters to life and want to give brands a unique touch, an advertising graphic designer career may be for you.

Master the 5 Types of Tone in Writing

Remember, mastering the five types of tones in writing only comes with practice. Even so, you might find it difficult to switch promptly from one tone to another. In such situations, you can read a few pieces in the tone you want to adopt before starting a piece. This will help you imbibe the nuances of writing and make the process easier.

So, what type of tone is your favourite? 

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