My post on voice mentions Margot Bloomstein’s deck of adjective cards. Because my post appeared before the cards were ready, anyone clicking the link to go buy the cards while my post was fresh would have brought up Margot’s 404 page (a page that announces that the page you’re looking for doesn’t exist). Of course, I let readers know that the link wouldn’t work for a few weeks. I also encouraged them to click the link anyway because the 404 page in itself serves as a delightful example of voice.
In case you missed your chance, here’s a screenshot of the 404 page:
This page could have simply said, “Sorry, the page you’re looking for doesn’t exist”—the same thing you find on lots of web sites. Instead, it presents this message in a way that no one else would.
I find this page wonderfully outrageous. It may not appeal to you, and that’s okay. A given voice, by definition, is not for everyone. Whatever you may think of this page, you know instantly that someone playful is at work – someone who knows how she wants her content strategy consultancy, Appropriate, Inc., to be perceived. You have a sense of what to expect if you reach out to this company. You might think, “Oh, I’d never hire these guys,” or “Brilliant! Get these guys on the phone.”
That, ladies and gents, is voice.