You know what my ultimate compliment is? When a friend of mine approaches me and tells me she feels like I’m speaking just to her with a blog article. Or if she mentions to me that my recent article felt like a casual, interesting conversation over coffee.
In a blogging world so saturated with opinions and plethora of articles, this is an indication that my blogging voice actually makes an impact. I felt truly honored to know that I’m reaching ears (eyes?) that will listen and appreciate what I have to say. That’s the beauty of developing YOUR blogging voice.
I struggled so much in the beginning with finding my blogging voice. I wanted to be a magazine at first, removed and reporting on facts and figures. Needless to say, I found that incredibly boring after a very short while. I’m pretty sure whatever readers I had at the time found it boring as well (sorry, guys).
Before long, though, I decided to just write like I talk. I mean, obviously, there is more refinement in writing and checking grammar and details. I stumble around a lot more when speaking and use “like” way too much. But, I always imagine I’m speaking to someone when I’m writing- in this case, you.
So, how can we make sure you’re speaking to your audience and keeping them interested?
1. Create an avatar
I’ve spoken about this before, both in my articles and in my newsletters. I like to speak to someone who’s eager to learn and willing to listen. Obviously, because it’d suck to write for someone who doesn’t care. You need to know who you’d like to reach in order to find the right voice.
If you’re looking to reach a scholarly bunch, you might want to apply a scholarly tone. But, if you’d like to simply talk casually with your friends, you need to imagine you’re speaking to one.
Basically, next time you’re writing, imagine you’re speaking to a good friend of yours. Stay true to yourself and your conversation.
2. Work with a structure and with drafts
Always have a structure you’re working with. It should be a rough sketch of how your articles will be organized. You don’t always need to stick to one structure- sometimes you want to go with the flow and write what comes to mind. But, for the most part, stick to some sort of structure and give readers something they can expect.
Don’t be afraid to draft your articles out ahead of time. Sitting on them for a little bit can provide you with a fresh perspective when you read the draft the next day. It also allows you to truly listen to the voice you’re using with your readers.
3. Read it out loud
It’s extremely useful to read what you’re writing out loud. It allows you to hear whether what you’re writing sounds natural and sounds like something you might say. It sounds really simple, but most people don’t do this. It might also be useful to record yourself as you read and replay it. I haven’t personally done this, but it allows you to hear yourself as others will hear you.
4. Color outside the lines (with grammar and language)
Don’t confine yourself with grammatical rules. Obviously, don’t abandon the basics, but feel free to be a little bit loose. Using ‘cuz’ is perfectly acceptable if that’s how you speak. Not in every sentence, but once in a while it’s good to remind yourself you’re not writing a thesis.
5. Write with passion
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. A passionate topic will always produce the most authentic blogging voice. My best articles have been ones where I cared deeply about the subject. Not every article can be like this, unfortunately. I care about everything I write, but certain topics are a bit more how-to. Others have more of me delving into a cause or personal experience which has changed me, allowing more passion.