Your blog’s tone is the impression your words leave behind. Nailing your blog’s voice is every bit as important as what you write, your site’s design, and your content marketing strategy. The most successful blogs create connection. These bloggers churn out content that mimics the style of the weeks, months, and years before.
As with all things blogging, it takes practice to figure out your tone. Mull over these tips so you can create a blog tone that “sticks.”
Who Are Your Heroes?
Think about the last great blog you read. Did you feel like you wanted to be the blogger’s new BFF? Did the blogger make a perfect mentor?
When a blogger gets it right, you want to consume whatever they publish next. It’s what makes you want to click the “follow” button and find their articles everywhere.
Look at Design for Mankind. Erin Loechner is like a good friend, comforting and familiar. Her lifestyle blog breaks all the rules.
Consistent social network updates? Nope. Frequent blog posting? Not even. Erin set the breezy tone for this blog and its associated channels — and it works.
Go through your favourite rite blogs and randomly search for a few new ones. What makes a blog a “win” to you? Most likely, the blogs you prefer carry the same voice throughout, from individual posts to social networks and email newsletters.
Everything fits together like a backyard s’more. It can take a little practice and it’s messy getting all the pieces in line, but once it does, there’s nothing better.
Look to your blogging idols as inspiration without becoming a copycat. Bloggers with a unique voice grow an audience.
All About Style
What do you want out of your blog (other than ways to make money blogging)? How will you make your blog feel approachable? Craft a quick style guide as a reminder.
Your blog is a conversation, not a lecture. Jot down a few adjectives describing your blog’s ideal tone. These words will serve as reminders of how your blog is supposed to flow.
Consider descriptive words like helpful, entertaining, real, engaged, humorous, inviting, controversial, or empowering (to name a few). You don’t need to whittle it down to one word.
What’s your natural way of writing? Be consistent. Don’t alienate your readers — write to your readers.
Take a look at the Stuff You Should Know podcast. The hosts, Josh and Chuck, tackle what could be perceived as boring topics. Yet podcast after podcast, they make it entertaining, fun, and not to be missed.
What do you want your audience to learn from you? What’s the best way to present your information?
Be a Rebel: Break the Rules.
Your grasp on grammar is so firm, the grammar cops can’t touch you. Ditch your grammar guide and academic tones to embrace the messy way we humans have of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
Blogs are like the best cocktail parties. Just like in a face-to-face conversation, we sometimes flip-flop words or speak in sentence fragments to entertain or snag our listener’s attention.
Take a look at author and speaker Rob Bell. His books, social posts, and podcasts (robcasts) unexpectedly use space and pauses to emphasize his points.
Wake up your audience with the unexpected.
Keep Writing...and Writing...and Writing
The blank page or blinking cursor is the worst. Get over the fear of writing, type anything, and then keep going.
If you aren’t sure what tone you want your blog to take, keep writing to tease it out. Just like in school, your first attempt is a rough draft. Fine-tune it.
Step away from it. Look at your work with fresh eyes. Edit. Edit again. Learn to cut your words without grieving.
The more you write, the better you’ll get at unearthing your blog’s natural tone. Don’t fight it. Go with it!
Listen to Your Work
When you aren’t sure if you’ve got a post “just right,” reading a blog aloud helps you hear where its lacking before you publish your post. Turn to your dog, your cat, or your stuffed narwhal and read the whole post. Yes, it’s goofy. You should feel ridiculous. That means you’re doing it right.
You’ll hear if your work becomes too academic or too precious for your online audience.
If you find yourself stumbling over words, it’s a sign you’re forcing it. Try again. Swap paragraphs. Delete sentences. Add in new ones.
Don’t Give Up
Never be afraid to try something new. Developing your blog’s voice takes time, especially for newer bloggers. The more you write, the more natural your writing will become — and the more apparent your tone.
The way you write the things you do differentiates your blog from the masses. And that is something worth writing for.