If you’ve poked around blogs just a little bit, you’ve probably noticed that the majority of them are not written in the same style as one would write a book or a research paper. They tend to have shorter paragraphs and are written in a more conversational style. And for good reason.
Some people refer to this as their “blogging voice.” But I’ve got some news for you. It’s much more than that. So how do you refine your own blogging voice? What gives you your you-ness so that you stand out from the other eleventy-seventy-million bloggers?
How do you find your unique blogging voice?
1. Grammar – Yep. I went there! And I went there first because it’s that important. You need to pick a grammar style and then stick to it. Does grammar make your brain hurt? I’ve got an easy fix for you. Install the Grammarly extension on your browser and then obey it. When it says you have an error, go fix it.
2. What makes you you? Your personality will set the tone for your blog! Are you Southern or Northern? Snarky or Sweet? Are you chatty and conversational or more of a lecturer? Are you a highly opinionated windbag or a laid-back diplomat of few words? There’s no right answer. But you do need to be intentional not to create a blog that reads like you’ve got a multiple personality disorder.
3. Be authentic – Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. It will never give you traffic for the right reasons and you’ll never connect with the people who found you for selling out and writing a review for a product you hate or an idea you can’t stand behind. Remember your why? This is where the rubber meets the road, my friend. Stick to your truth. Be you and you won’t have to remember who you’re trying to be.
4. Be conversational – People engage better in a conversation than they do a lecture. In a conversation, you listen and answer. You give and take. You don’t worry about perfectly proper sentence structure–unless you’re having a conversation with your high school AP Lit teacher. You just talk. And that’s what people are going to be more willing to read.
5. Be real – If you took a one-hour class about essential oils, bought the starter kit and now you’re crazy in love with their products and want to tell the world, go for it. If you have cooked paleo food for your family for two years and want to share your recipes, please do. (This girl is tired of eggs and broccoli!)
Unless you actually are an expert with plenty of education to back that up, don’t proclaim that you are one. First of all…that can get you in big trouble–as in shutting down your blog and sending you a subpoena kind of trouble. Especially if it’s got to do with anything that is monitored by the FDA. Secondly, I’d rather know your personal experiences than get “the spiel.”
6. Be passionate – Do you love what you write about? The answer should be yes. YES! Write about what you love and you’ll find the words come quickly and you’re happy about hitting publish. If you don’t love it, don’t write about it. The days when you write for the sake of writing or run a sponsored post just because it means $50 in the bank, you’ll feel like you sold your soul to get a few page views or make a buck. It’s not worth it. Just say no.
7. Break a rule or two – A few of my favorite rules to break include having a few “words” that might not be found in the dictionary but your readers recognize as uniquely you. And starting sentences with the word “and.” And occasionally an incomplete sentence. You could also try using italics or bold to add emphasis. As well as the ever popular Oh.My.Stars! But here’s the thing. Don’t go all out crazy with those or you’ll start to annoy your readers. You don’t want to be the girl labeled as “she brings drama into every conversation.”
8. Create breathing room – Have you ever been in a conversation with a person that just won’t stop talking and you never get a word in edgewise? It’s the worst, right? You try to put a little space between you and them, but every time you back up an inch they scooch forward two. Your writing can have this same effect. And do you know what happens when people feel that way on the internet? They click the little “x” and bounce off your site.
How do you keep this from happening? How do you create breathing room in your writing? Just say no to the text wall…those really long paragraphs. While they’re effective in books, they’re a big turnoff on blogs. People will start skimming and you will lose them if they see super long paragraphs. If they see two in a row, they’re likely to click away. We are bombarded with information on a screen constantly and if it’s not in short, easy to chew chunks, we’ll leave. And please don’t tell me you haven’t done exactly that.
As I’ve already mentioned…blogs are not research papers. Your paragraphs do not need to be 5 to 9 sentences long. Any time you complete a thought, start a new paragraph. Much like in conversations, this creates a pause…breathing room.
Keep your paragraphs short. Three to five lines is best.
Use headers, block quotes, and numbered or bullet lists.
Add a high-quality graphic into the body of the text.
Add a prefab tweet using a plugin like “Click to Tweet.”
9. Parenthetically speaking – I like to think of this as a “Breaking the 4th Wall” situation. It’s kind of like when you’re watching a TV show and suddenly the speaker looks directly at you and addresses you directly to let you in on some valuable piece of information or thought that you need to know in order to understand what’s going on. (Ever watched House of Cards? Kevin Spacey is a master at breaking the 4th wall!) Dropping little extras into parenthesis is a great way to show the reader you want to share an inside joke or explain something a little more in depth. It creates an opportunity to let your personality shine through.
Why is your Blogging Voice important?
How you write and incorporating all of these various factors, is the basis for your relationship with your readers. If they like you, they’ll come back. They’ll begin to recognize your writing and find value in what you have to say. Your words will become a part of your unique brand. And we’ve all heard how important branding is!
This is why keeping your voice and writing style consistent is so important!
Does this mean your blogging voice should not ever change? Absolutely not! Just like you will change and evolve as a person, so will your writing. And that is absolutely okay. But if you write in a snarky tone and use short choppy sentences one day and turn around and write like a Southern darling using long rambling sentences the next, your followers are going to have a hard time engaging with your Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act.
This content was created as part of a four-week blogging course that will be available for purchase later in June. Sign up for updates PLUS you’ll receive access to the Resource Library if you’re not already a subscriber!