Does Your Blog Have Personality? 7 Points to Help You Create Your Writer’s Voice

How to Write Great Content – Part 1 of 2

At the heart of everyone’s advice for creating a strong blog or other form of social media is to write great content. This may leave many prospective and/or new bloggers scratching their heads, or worse immobilized with bad memories of a blank composition page back in elementary school.

First, let’s define what marketers mean by great content. Great content reaches off the page and pulls the reader in without giving him time to think about moving on. A strong voice is integral to creating consistently powerful writing.

For many, the concept of voice is difficult to embrace and put into plain prose.  To that end, here are seven characteristics to help you form your unique blogger’s voice.

  1. Has personality. For social media related information, this often translates to being written by a real person who has real life experiences that are integrated into the writing. (Check out my post on shopping bags and my grandmother.)
  2. Tells a story. Telling stories to each other is what makes us human. They help us understand the forces at work in our lives. Stories have a beginning, middle and end. (For more insights, please see 5 reasons marketing needs storytelling.)
  3. Is contextually relevant. As Brian Solis said at DMA 2010, “Context is King.” This means that your writing must relate to the social conversation both online and offline as well as the content around it in order for people to remember it and draw meaning from it.
  4. Listens and interacts. Don’t be the bore at the party who talks endlessly about themselves and then asks “What do you think about me?” Your writing needs to engage your audience as you would in a real life conversation. If you think that you’re being boring, so will your readers!
  5. Sounds like a real person. While your third grade teacher might read this in horror, it means to write so that it sounds like a person would have said it. If you find this difficult, try recording and transcribing what you want to say. Alternatively, take a page from bloggers like Chris Brogan and Christopher Penn who occasionally do videos instead of committing their words to electronic paper. For another example, read Tony Hsieh’s book Delivering Happiness, which makes readers feel like Tony’s speaking directly to them.
  6. Has a point of view. Think of current news programs or The Colbert Report. These purveyors of information have a distinct agenda. This doesn’t mean that your blog should just be another conduit for pushing your product and/or services. Being self-involved doesn’t work in social media!
  7. Avoids sanitized corporate-speak. This is particularly important for corporate blogs and other forms of social media that must be approved by senior members of your organization and/or legal department. Corporate-speak refers to writing that reads like it was composed by a machine.

If you’re still having trouble, sit down and develop your blogging persona like you would  a product you were marketing. (Remember, you’re marketing your blog or other form of social media!) Here are some exercises that help marketers define their brand because, at its core, this is what you’re doing. While they may sound silly, the point is to get you out of your head and develop your writing voice indirectly.

  1. If your blog was a car, what would it be and why?
  2. If your blog was an animal, what would it be and why?
  3. If your blog was a famous person, who would it be and why?
  4. If your blog was a food, what would it be and why?
  5. If your blog was a movie or television show, what would it be and why?

I hope that this gives you enough material to begin developing your blogging voice. If you have suggestions to help other readers, please add them to the comments section.

Please continue reading Part 2 of How to Create Great Content, 12 Suggestions to Overcome Blank Blog Post Syndrome.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Special tip of my hat to CK Burgess for her suggestion to use the material from last night’s #BlogChat for a blog post and to Mack Collier and the merry band of participants on #BlogChat for inspiring me to add to the conversation.

Photo credit:  2KoP via Flickr

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  • Amazing post! I loved the little exercise so much I decided to go ahead and post my answers here… maybe others can too and we can learn from the insights 🙂

    If your blog was a car, what would it be and why?

    It would be a Hyundai Elantra – Budget car that get’s the job done WELL!

    If your blog was an animal, what would it be and why?

    A turtle, or some other slow moving animal… I take things one step at a time and never stop working.

    If your blog was a famous person, who would it be and why?

    Albert Einstein. He was a creative thinker working in a field of rationalists, standing out in a way that made a difference in the world.

    If your blog was a food, what would it be and why?

    Coffee (if you consider that a food), because that’s the fuel of my blog lol.

    If your blog was a movie or television show, what would it be and why?

    Some documentary meant to inspire. TV isn’t of much benefit to me, so I can’t answer that one.

    I enjoyed this very much, thanks for writing it!

  • Hot points to note, love this site already. Thanks dear!

  • Love these pointers! We all have a unique voice hidden inside somewhere and your advice lays it out so even a newbie could follow along. Thanks Heidi!

    Celene Harrelson

  • What makes your blog authentic is that you practice what you preach. I read the blog about your grandmother carrying outdated gloves in her Gucci bag when she went to Lincoln Center. That one blog covered many of the points you bring up in this blog. You told a story, it was relevant, it was authentic (what’s more authentic than a story about one’s mother/father or grandparent) and you made it interactive by encouraging the reader to think of one’s blog in non-linear terms.

    Nice work.

  • Super list! Serious bloggers should take notes! The main point to me is to make the blog interesting and unique. The only way to do that is with fantastic content coupled with a great writing style. I strive to achieve both on my blog 🙂

  • Heidi, this is a good list of what goes into making your blog your own. And that is the only thing that makes people come back again otherwise they could get that article they just read anywhere. I really need to be better about that on mine.