I hear from many small business owners that they don’t have a blog because they aren’t good writers. Can I tell you a secret? You don’t need to be an amazing writer to have a successful business blog. You just need to find your voice. Yesterday I let you in on the ways in which I write a blog post. I didn’t touch on voice because I felt it deserved it’s own post; it’s own time to shine. That time is here.
Here are ten steps to finding your writing voice:
1.) Start reading as many blogs as you have time for.
Make a list of which blogs you want to come back to, which ones you’re going to add to your RSS feed and then try to figure out why. Is it just because of what they’re saying or is it how they say it? Pay attention to the voice in other writings and it will help you understand your own.
2.) Sit down for five minutes and write without abandon.
This exercise is great because at the end of the five minutes you’ll have a piece of writing that is more authentic and more “you” than if you wrote for five hours while trying to sound like someone who has a voice. By not putting pressure on yourself for quality, you’re going to get a more authentic voice.
3.) Read back to yourself what you’ve just written.
I received this advice from my eighth-grade English teacher and I have used it on almost everything I’ve written since. Not only do you catch typos and missed words, you get a better feel for how your words flow and how you write. If you really like this rule, try recording yourself and transcribing what you say. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much quirk and personality will be in your musings.
4.) Have someone who knows you well read what you wrote and ask them if it sounds like how you talk.
Since starting this blog I have heard from quite a few people that I write just like I talk. I take this as a compliment, and I think any blogger would agree. Blogging isn’t about writing the perfect transition, it’s about infusing what you say with personality.
5.) Write what you know.
If I tried to write about auto parts, my posts would not just be short, horrible, and misinformed, but they probably would be written very blandly as well. In order to infuse my voice into what I write, I need to be confident in the information I’m doling out.
6.) Write everyday for a week.
You’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again. Practice makes perfect. You need to get comfortable with writing, and the best way to do that is to write. If you set a goal for yourself, you’re much more likely to complete it than just saying to yourself, I’ll just write when I have time. Make the time to write and your writing will get better.
7.) Don’t worry about grammar or language rules*.
There is a caveat to this. Don’t worry about grammar or language rules – for the most part*. Please make sure to use the right they’re, their, there, too, two, etc. But don’t worry about ending a sentence with a preposition, where to put the comma, how to capitalize. You’re not trying to get the next great American novel published, you’re trying to convey information. And as long as those who read it understand what you’re saying and are entertained by how you say it, then your goal is accomplished.
8.) Write in different formats: lists, paragraphs, bullet points, stories etc.
Sometimes it’s helpful just to change up the usual way you write. I used to only write in paragraphs. Now I like to use lists a lot because it’s helpful for me to organize my thoughts and I think it’s easier to scan and comprehend for my readers. If I hadn’t experimented with my formats, I never would have learned this.
9.) Ask for feedback from a business associate and a friend. Compare notes.
You want your business associate to say that you have done a fine job selling your product or explaining about your company. You want your friend to tell you that it sounds just like you and that you explained what you do in a very relatable way. Basically you want great feedback from both because those who work with you will read your blog, and those who don’t know your industry will also hopefully read your blog. You want to hit both of them.
10.) Edit, edit, edit.
Just because you’re trying to get voice into your blog doesn’t mean you can ramble, and ramble, and ramble. It means that you still need to say what you’re trying to say in a concise way, you’re just put your personality into it. Therefore, the rule of editing still applies and is still extremely important.
What do you think? Would any of these rules help you feel better about starting a blog? Do you need reminding as to why you should be blogging in the first place? Read here. And don’t forget, if you really don’t have the time or confidence to start, contact me and I can do some ghost blogging to get you started and help you develop a voice.