Bloggers, this is a call to arms. The photos, the site design, and the social media outlets are vital limbs in developing a cohesive blog — but at the heart of the whole operation lies the writing, and more importantly, the voice.
In the past I've talked about how to get more readers through better writing, and given tips on how to be the best writer you can be — but what about the loftier, less tangible element of writing? That damned voice.
Finding your writing voice could be the easiest or hardest part of the evolution your blog. It's more than just talking about certain topics, it's how you talk about them. And as blogger Rachel Seville recently pointed out, it seems like lately there's a lot of similar voices regurgitating similarly expressed thoughts on fashion in the blogosphere.
So how do you keep your blog from being drowned out? How do you create a voice that rises above all of the clamoring noise on the Internet?
How to create a strong voice in your writing…
If you want to make a lasting impression with your readers, construct a voice that balances your personality with a personality you would want to read. Maybe it sounds smooth and crisp like a news anchor, or perhaps it's got a rougher pair of vocal chords, a la Courtney Love — however you choose to portray your writing, what's really important is that your voice reigns supremely over your content.
Essentially, your audience wants stability, they want something they can relate to, return to, and read over and over. From the punctuation to the vocabulary, the reader eventually begins to conceive a particular person behind the article, mentally creating a relationship. Like a favorite coffee shop or favorite movie, the reader will want to come back again, which will increase the longevity of your writing (and blog).
Find your voice by asking yourself the following questions…
What personality traits do you want your blog to have? Are you trying to sound professional? Humorous? Sarcastic? Terse? Sincere? Snarky? Make a checklist if it's easier for you to see it visually, then consult it every time you are about to publish a post. Did you portray the characteristics you wanted to?
Who is your ideal reader? Describe them. What other publications do they frequent? Are they likely to pick up the New York Times or People magazine? Are the scanning The Atlantic every morning or Style.com? Or both?
Who are you? What are your personality traits? Does your writing sound like a version of the way you talk? Do your words flow out naturally? If your writing voice strays far from your actual voice, you may realize it's harder to maintain. The choice is yours, but often times writing in your words correlates to the best results.
Use these tools to elevate your voice…
So maybe, like, you totally, like, talk like this, like normally — and perhaps you want to elevate your written speech.
Create an outline of what you want to say before you say it. Knowing what you are writing about before you start the first sentence can help smoothen out your thoughts.
What's your purpose (or thesis)? What you are saying should be exclusive to you, and not a repeat of what something someone else said. Your authenticity will stand out in a crowd of copycats.
A thesaurus can be your best friend… it's ok. Maybe you have an idea you want to express, but don't know how to quite find that one eloquent word you're missing — hit up the big T, it's a cheat sheet you're allowed to use.
Keeping up with your voice after you've found it…
Keeping up with your voice after you've developed it is the fun part; invent your own terminology, experiment with how you express yourself. You better believe there was no phrase such as”man repeller” or “glamourai” before those bloggers coined them. What will be your mark?
Finally, your writing is up to you…
You may never know where it may take you, so use it to your advantage.