Develop Your Blogging Voice

Just lately the term ‘blogging voice’ seems to be popping up everywhere. What does it mean?

A new technology? Audio blogging?

Actually no. It’s much simpler than that in concept, but quite tough to get in practice.

But you do need to get it, because it forms part of your branding.

Here’s what I think ‘blogging voice’ means:

I recently read one of Jeremy Clarkson’s books and it was written in exactly the same way that he talks.

As I read the book I could ‘hear’ him saying the words. I could ‘hear’ him talking.

It was not grammatically correct in the way you were taught at school, or at any of those business writing courses.

He used one word sentences. And started others with conjunctions (and, but, because, etc).

But I could definitely ‘hear’ him talking to me as I read the book, so that (to me) was his writing voice.

I did not have a blogging voice when I started out, and I’m still only developing it now.

After years of writing reports and presentations in the corporate world I’d become great at writing ‘corporate speak’ – constant use of the passive voice and making sure I never committed to anything.

But that doesn’t work online, and it particularly doesn’t work for the informal world of blogging.

To stand out, to be noticed, you need to be identifiable. And to be identifiable you need to have a personality.

Your blogging voice is one of the ways you express your personality online.

Compare your blog to your home. Your home is probably nicely decorated, well laid out and you’re friendly and welcoming when people drop in.

Make your blog the same. It will encourage people to come back.

Think about how you say things when you talk to your friends. And then write the same way on your blog.

If you’re coming from the legal, corporate or academic worlds, this is not easy. It goes against everything we were taught about written communication.

But you do need to do it.

So here are a few pointers to get you started:

  1. Use the active, not the passive voice. “The team is writing a blog” is much sharper than “a blog is being written by the team” (which is typical corporate speak).
  2. Use short sentences covering only one point in each.
  3. Use short paragraphs – no more than 2 sentences to a paragraph.
  4. Write the same way as you speak.
  5. After you’ve written your post leave it for a few hours then come back and edit it. Ruthlessly.

With your editing, aim to reduce the length of your article by 25%. Cut out unnecessary descriptions and duplications

Writing as you speak can be quite tough, and you have to be ruthless in your editing!

Read your article out loud to yourself. Is that how you’d say it if you were telling a friend? No? Re-write it.

Developing your voice takes time. It won’t happen overnight. But stick with it and you’ll start to develop your unique blogging voice.

For more on writing for the web I seriously suggest you subscribe to Brian Clark’s CopyBlogger.

Martin Malden

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