There are plenty of posts about finding new readers, taking amazing photos, getting brands to be interested in you. But people often forget about one key thing – your own, unique blogging voice.
It’s true, people can’t hear your voice as they would on a podcast or Youtube channel, but the way you write and the words you choose will make an impression on the reader. You want them to be memorable, in a good way, because you want people to keep coming back, reading, commenting and sharing your content. You want them to know who you are when they see your name.
I’ve put together a few questions and things for you to think about
First of all, why would you even want to develop your blogging voice?
Well, there are millions of blogs out there! Even if you narrow it down to your type of blog – so maybe beauty blogs – there are thousands of people writing about similar topics, all trying to get people’s attention and encourage readers to stay. What will make yours stand out? Ultimately, you may have fantastic content, but you yourself are one of your biggest unique selling points, because there is only one of you!
- What words would you like other people to use to describe you?
What words do you want to come to mind when people think about the person behind your blog? What aspects of your personality do you want to shine? Are you someone who makes people laugh? Are you the caring friend who helps people with their problems, or the practical person who gives good advice? Are you the outspoken one who says things that other people are thinking, but don’t want to say? Are you positive, upbeat, creative, thorough, honest, down-to-earth, or chatty? What words would your friends use to describe you?
Ideally it should be parts of your character that you want to bring out because if the persona you create isn’t really you, it will be hard to keep it up post after post. If you’re trying to be someone else, it can look a bit false. I can think of a site where someone was going for the successful and confident business owner vibe, but to me it just sounded pushy and aggressive. I couldn’t help feeling it was somehow manufactured and not real, which can be a massive turn-off for readers!
Even if you are being real, some people will love your style and others won’t connect with it. That’s fine! You will never please everyone, and why would you want to? It’s your blog after all! If you don’t have anything that defines you as being a bit different, you will just blend into the crowd.
I’ve come from a background of writing for a large organisation. I’ve really had to work at letting my personality show in my blog writing, because this was something I wouldn’t have been allowed to do in the corporate world.
Is the person you’re describing someone that you’d like to be around or spend time with? After all, if someone is reading your blog, they are choosing to spend time there and not somewhere else.
- What do you want to use your blog for?
I have 2 blogs and my writing style is quite different on each because I write them for different reasons.
My first one is part of my business. It’s an educational blog. I provide information on there so that people will come to my site to read about learning English. I work with adult professionals, so I’m not going to pretend that I’m their best friend. The tone is not as formal as the company that I worked for before – I want to be friendly and approachable. I do share stories from my past sometimes if I want to demonstrate a point about language learning with a real example, but ultimately people are there for the information, so it needs to be clear, easy-to-follow, and useful.
My other blog is my personal blog, so I can afford to be more open on there. I don’t naturally find it easy to share my feelings with the internet, but I was touched by the comments I got on the post about my dog who is no longer around. Other people have lost pets that were very important to them too, and they could relate to that story.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have a mixture of content, but understanding what you want to use your blog for, and what kind of readers you want to attract, will help you to find the right tone and words to get across your ideas.
- Length and frequency
I don’t usually write super-short posts. People come to my blogs for the text, not the pictures. I’m blind, which means I can’t take my own pictures. I usually get one for each new post, at least on the personal blog – but if you’re looking for a picture between every paragraph, mine isn’t the blog for you. And that’s fine! I don’t like reading posts that are basically a collection of images with a few words between them.
Of course you’ll have more to say about some things than others, but what’s a comfortable length for you? It’s not true that people don’t read long posts any more, but for some people, anything over a couple of hundred words would be boring.
I try to keep to two posts a week on specific days, more to help me stay organised than because I think people are waiting eagerly for my posts on that day. Whether you stick to a blogging timetable or not is up to you, but if you only write once a month, it will be harder to build up momentum and for people to remember you.
I may do Blogmas in December, but I know that for the rest of the time, blogging every day would be too much for me, and I wouldn’t have enough to say, because I don’t want the blog to be too much of a window onto my personal life, which brings us onto the next point!
- How personal do you want to get?
I find it easier to write product reviews than personal posts, but it’s often the latter that get more views.
I’m not saying you have to open up about your deepest thoughts and feelings, but it is good if you can bring something personal to a story that brings in your unique perspective. If I’d done a post about eye products, it may not have got much attention. I did one about how I do my make-up as a blind woman, and that has been the most popular post on the blog so far! I want to keep it varied, and I don’t want all the posts to be blindness-related, even though that is something that makes my blog different from a lot of the other beauty and lifestyle blogs out there.
You have your own set of experiences, whether that’s as a parent, a college student, or someone who knows about something that most other people don’t know! Use that to your advantage so you can find a slightly different angle on a post that might otherwise not stand out.
- Are there any areas that you want to avoid?
On my business blog, I generally avoid politics and religion. On my personal blog, I may well write something political if I feel strongly enough about it. My language is sometimes colourful in real life, but I don’t generally swear on the blog. I talk about my family occasionally and often make reference to my partner, but he doesn’t want to be in the limelight on the blog, so I don’t go into a lot of detail about our home life.
How do you feel about things like politics, religion, explicit content, swearing, personal details about your past, your children or family? I don’t think there are right or wrong answers, just the answer that feels right for you.
- What happens when you read your words aloud?
How does it sound? Does it flow well, and does it sound like the person that you want people to think of when they think of you?
- And finally….
What’s the one thing you want your blog to be known for
You could maybe ask some friends or readers what words they would use to describe your blog. I did a post on my 10 favourite Youtubers and one of them said she was happy because the way I’d described her channel was exactly what she was going for. I wrote something about chatty videos and feeling like you were just joining a friend for coffee and chat about her latest beauty finds.
So, what would you want people to say if they were to tell a friend about your blog?