Tone of voice | Pauhu Translations' marketing blog

A good story is not enough

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The Kuukausiliite monthly supplement to the largest newspaper in Finland is a parade of Finnish journalism, whose excellence has been praised and awarded numerous times. High quality should, therefore, also be expected from the supplement’s ads, which are increasingly narrated content marketing or native advertising produced by the media company itself. But Kuukausiliite's native ads are not appealing reads. Why is that?

If the mere placement of an advertisement costs more than 28,000 euros and the production of the ad comprises an additional hefty amount, the ad purchaser has good reason to demand the best possible quality. No casual result should be eligible for production, but incomplete ideas must be returned back to the drawing board. 

For one reason or another,  I rated two out of the three ads from the monthly supplement that I examined in my Mediaansekantuja blog a while ago as mediocre attempts.

The recipe for an enticing story is no business secret, but it has to be re-invented each time- over and over again.  The journalist's article will entice the reader, if its topic is stimulating and timely.  If the story is a visually appealing entity, the mass of text involved will not immediately bother the reader at the start, trouble has been taken in its illustrations and headings, the story progresses smoothly in time and place, and, in particular, the beginning and end of the story are exceedingly well written. Only a very busy reader could possibly refuse to read this type of article.

The same formula for a good story also runs true in content marketing, but, according to journalistic guidelines, a story that is marked as an advertisement must also crush an internal adblocker located in the reader's head.  Studies have shown that newspaper advertising is considered to be the most convenient way to receive ads.  The reason for this is, at least in part, that advertisements in a newspaper are easier to ignore, nor do they irritate the reader as much as a forceful ad window on webpages or web video ads that cannot be bypassed.

In order to stop and read ads, I should first be taught, as a reader, that advertisements may also contain good stories.  Traditional advertising aesthetics have informed us that ads have  large, great pictures, followed by an inventive slogan.  Before, it was sufficient to take a mere, small glance, but now it should first interest you so much that you wish to delve deeper into it to read.

Not a very easy task for an ad creator!

Additionally, readers should be allowed to share content marketing on social media, in the same way in which news stories are shared.  Only the sharing of stories currently exists.

In my journalistic bubble, content marketing is mainly shared by the authors themselves - I do not remember seeing even one such story in my feeds over the last few months.  The adblocker in one’s head blocks the will to read and share the article.  What could be done about it? 

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Welcome to the heart of Helsinki on Thursday 12 October 2017 from 10 am to 4 pm! The experts at the Marketer’s translation agency Pauhu will let you in on the secrets of translation during an open event for all interested visitors. Our free programme includes refreshments and light snacks.

Over 100 business enterprises have signed up to participate in Finland’s largest simultaneous Open doors event in honour of the Finland 100 centenary! During the Welcome to Meet Us week 9–15 October, companies from around Finland will open their doors and show what the next 100 years of Finland will be made of! The Welcome to Meet Us week is arranged by the Association for Finnish Work. 

Street address:
Käännöstoimisto Pauhu, Simonkatu 8 A, 3rd floor, 00100 Helsinki

RSVP before 11 October 2017.

Inquiries and signup:
Nora Mosander
Account Manager 
tel. +358 40 866 8476

You can also sign up on our Facebook Event Page

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Summer translations from Pauhu

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As the marketer's translation agency, we'll be serving you smart translations in the centre of Helsinki throughout the summer. Get a quote or contact us, let's discuss your translation needs!

View our references here.

Sunny regards,
Linda Ahlblad, Managing Director, tel. +358 40 866 8669,
Nora Mosander, Account Manager, tel. +358 40 866 8476,
Nina Wainikainen, Project Manager, tel. +358 40 866 8041,

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Content = soul, formalities = identity

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Text is just text after all, right? Well, not quite! The anatomy of a good translation is more complex than a bunch of words. There are just so many formalities. Mastering these formalities resolves whether the topic – even if it’s an excellent one in itself – will leave a good or bad impression. To be a good translator, you will have to do the following with consistent accuracy – from the first word to the final full stop.


Show a mastery of the grammar in the target language. No guessing when it comes to what to say, or how to say it.

Master the target language vocabulary with a rich and vigorous touch. No repetition ad nauseum, no poverty of expression.

Apply the correct terms for the same matters consistently throughout the text. Do not confuse the reader.

Keep to the point. Do not use words that do not fit the content.

Make the written whole easy to understand. Do not cause confusion with contradictions.

Tone of voice
Engage the reader in the manner selected from beginning to end. Do not bounce around from one style to another or from colloquial to formal speech and back again.

Grammatical persons
Stay within the selected mode of address. Do not switch from informal to formal styles of personal address in the middle of everything.

Sentence structure
Fluently translate progressive and vigorous sentences. No extended, pieced-together, long-and-winding word streams.

Commas and full stops
Use punctuation marks to highlight sentence rhythm in an easily readable form. Do not forget to use them – the lack of commas and full stops where they are needed can turn a good translation into a bad one.

Use the official professional terminology as required. No machine translation, no Internet sources.


A good translation is a mixture of information, skill and experience. It speaks from one person to another: it is human. It is something no machine is truly capable of doing.


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Blogger and reader – friends?

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“I got to test this product line through a blog partnership – and I must say that it's just wonderful!”

Today, this kind of stuff is what’s written in virtually all popular Finnish fashion, interior decorating and lifestyle blogs. It’s more than a regular thing that a large number of blog postings include advertising links directly to presented products. They are written in cooperation with various companies, whose products received as gifts are presented repeatedly. The cherry on the cake is discount codes for products offered by the blogger’s co-partner.

Corporate cooperation and advertising links have increased tremendously. Blogs have become more and more important as marketing channels for enterprises, and as a result of this, bloggers have taken a professional approach. In Finland as well, the most popular bloggers reap big rewards these days, though no one here is likely to match the annual income of Norway’s most popular fashion blogger Ulrikke Lund, at one million Norwegian kroner (approximately EUR 107,000).

If a company were to publish the same sort of content on its own blog, it would be quickly overlooked or may even be viewed with hostility. A corporate blog must under no circumstances contain purely advertising- and marketing-based material. This, if anything, repels readers – as stated in numerous books on communications and marketing as well as international research articles.

Instead, one should skilfully build a confidential relationship with consumers by offering them content that gives them added value. It is only after long and persevering work that content producers may be rewarded when the consumer buys such products and, in the best scenario, recommends them to friends as well.

Why is it different with fashion, interior decorating and lifestyle blogs?

Because blogs have the capacity of influencing consumers’ purchase choices: readers regard bloggers as a reliable source of information. Elina Pohjonen’s marketing pro gradu thesis, Asiakasuskollisuuden teemat muotiblogeissa “Themes of customer loyalty in fashion blogs” relates the same thing: according to this, readers do not regard blog postings as direct advertising but rather as information coming from a personal source.

Many popular bloggers have succeeded, as a result of many years of work, to establish a close relationship with their readers to the extent that readers even regard them as their friends. This way, it goes unnoticed that many bloggers are entrepreneurs, and the blogs concerned are actually their corporate blogs. The blog is the channel for the blogger’s business to tell about a brand that, in this case, is the same as the blogger.

If the owner of a brick-and-mortar store were to flout the excellence of his products on his company’s blog, would he be regarded as a trustworthy source? Of course not.

How about when fashion bloggers praise products that, indirectly or directly, give them their livelihoods: are readers convinced of the value of the products? According to the research results, yes.

The blog world is changing rapidly, and it will indeed be interesting to follow how the relationship between readers and popular bloggers develops if the direction of the content continuously goes in a more commercial, advertising-based direction. Will a friendly relationship be maintained when stories providing an interface for personal identification are increasingly replaced by poorly hidden advertising – if hidden at all?

General attitudes can change in a flash. For this reason, businesses should closely follow any shifts that occur on the blog front. Although many companies may regard bloggers as perfect co-partners today, the situation may also change rapidly.

In examining the work of fashion bloggers in a study written by Elina Noppari and Mikko Hautakangas,  ”Kovaa työtä olla minä – Muotibloggaajat mediamarkkinoilla” (“It’s hard work to be me – Fashion bloggers on the media markets”), it was already concluded four years ago that enterprises would possibly soon have to look for new operational models. Social media is known to be a very windy place.


The writer is a communications professional who is currently working on her doctoral thesis studying interest group communications occurring via corporate blogs.

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