Finding your blogging “voice” doesn’t have to be complicated. However you choose to “blog” whether it’s on your own website, on a blogging platform like Blogger or Medium, or as a microblog on Instagram or Twitter, it can be helpful to lay down some ground rules for the type of language you will (and won’t) use.
Discovering your blogging voice is important for a number of reasons:
- Help prevent you from sounding robotic or spammy
- Help prevent you from “over-sharing”
- Help prevent you from over-correcting and sounding like you’re pandering
- Help you connect with your audience in a genuine way
It’s important not to overthink this process too much. Your blogging voice should still sound like “you” after all. That being said, even big corporations should be crafting some kind of voice for their external communications, to keep it consistent in tone across the board and with staff turnover.
A good place to start for any business (big or small) is to create a list of “this but that” rules you’d like your audience to associate with your brand. For example: “relatable, but professional”, “feminine, but sassy”, “friendly, but to the point”, “authoritative, but chatty”. Your target audience plays a huge role in what you’ll choose here. I target time-poor one-woman bands (like me!) so while I want to sound friendly and relatable, I also know I need to get to the point and be clear about what I’m trying to say.
What you come up with as a result of this exercise will ultimately build the framework for how you’ll communicate moving forward. If your blogging voice leans more towards the relatable, chatty and friendly adjectives, make sure all your content sounds like you’re having a conversation with someone. Reading everything out loud helps a lot with this - do you sound like yourself? Or a robot version of yourself?
To Meme or Not to Meme?
Depending on how in-depth you want to get, you may also decide things like your emoji and gif use, whether or not you swear or use slang (remembering that slang is usually regional!), and what your "relatable : promotional" ratio will look like. This is more important if you aren't just a one-woman show; lay down the ground rules for any customer facing staff!
If you’re hoping for more professional and authoritative you’d probably steer clear of colloquialisms, slang and swears. You wouldn’t have any “ummms or errrs” in there and I imagine you might like to stick pretty close to conventional grammar rules. Keep in mind though that is a very corporate, no-nonsense audience. That absolutely works for some businesses, but not mine, no thank you!
You can make the decision about how much of your personal life you’re including; for instance whether you reference your dog or children or make where you live a big part of your brand. What you’re selling may influence this decision as well: if it’s very regional specific, of course talk a lot about your local area. If you sell a variety of lifestyle products or experiences, it probably makes sense to talk about your kids and animals. However, if you only sell to teenagers, your kids (if they aren’t teenagers) probably shouldn’t get a look in. And so we develop our blogging voice even further!
You're Doing Great, Sweetie
Next, think about how your favourite brands talk to you, and what you do and don't like about it. Read through your promotions emails, scan Instagram captions and read blog posts to get a feel for their language style and how it makes you feel. For example, I don't like when major brands call me "babe" or "sweetie". It's a kind of overt familiarity that seems forced to me… like “you don’t know me?”. Of course, other people are totally fine with it; these are the kinds of decisions you'll want to make about your voice.
Above all, keep your voice sounding like you. It can be hard to fake characteristics and consumers will very quickly spot when you're being inauthentic. Returning to my earlier example, I don't even call people "babe" in my real life so I'm certainly not going to start now in my business life!
Let me know how you get on with this one! Get in touch to tell me what you came up with.