Whether you are a beginner blogger or have been blogging for some time, the key to your success lies within your ability to create a unique online presence. One way to do that is to find your blogging voice.
Reading through blog posts, the one piece of advice you see over and over again is “Write how your speak”. It sounds easy doesn’t it? But because you are so connected to yourself, sometimes it is difficult to know how to do that.
Seasoned bloggers can easily lose their voice over time. They can get caught up in writing posts for more pageviews, wanting to attract brands or creating sponsored blog posts that dictate content.
How do you get back to what makes you, you? With 80,000 blog posts being published every hour, your blogging voice is the only thing that sets you apart from all the others.
Ignorance is bliss.
At least that is how I feel. When I first started blogging, I had no idea what the heck I was doing. Even though I cringe reading through old blog posts, I can’t help but remember how freeing it was to just write without worrying about how it will be viewed. No pressure. Those were the days.
Now after having read a gazillion blog posts about “how to blog”, I sometimes find myself stifled by the rules I have placed on myself.
Writing a blog post now means focusing on crafting the perfect title, graphic, pin and SEO keyword long tails. It is so tedious and literally zaps the creativity and flow of words from me.
Just the thought of having to do all that with EVERY SINGLE BLOG POST is exhausting.
Every word is thought out, pre-conceived, outlined, examined and scrutinized. Where is the fun in that? There isn’t. And that can quickly translate into the overall feeling or impression of a blog post.
That is definitely not good for pageviews or repeat visitors. Personality or voice is lacking, having been replaced with the need for perfection.
Beginner or veteran, finding your blogging voice helps keep your blog fresh and inviting to not only your readers but also for you.
How To Find Your Unique Blogging Voice
1. Practice on Facebook
A great place to practice your writing skills and develop your voice is on Facebook. You are free to do short posts, memes, pictures, observances or share your thoughts with instant feedback. Share what is important to you or be completely silly. Start conversations and get connected with your readers. You can be yourself either on your fan page or on your personal account.
I love Jill Robbins of Ripped Jeans and Bifocals and especially her Facebook fanpage. Her personality shines through. You get a glimpse into her personal life, how she thinks, what she likes and most importantly, what she is all about. Don’t like her, don’t look. She shows her raw blogging voice on her Facebook fanpage. If you feel connected, you click through to her blog for more of the same.
2. Start a Journal or “Morning Papers“
Not ready to practice in public? Then take it old school. Get a real life journal and write away. No one ever has to see it but you. This is a great way to hone your writing skills and let your true personality shine through without reprisal from the grammar police. Don’t worry about structure or flow. This is an exercise in getting your voice on to paper.
Are you a naturally structured writer? Are you loose and fast with structure? Do you write happy, peppy or deeply meaningful content? Now look at your blog. Does it hold the same vibe as your journal or is the feeling completely different?
3. Join a Challenge or Word Prompt Thread
Are you really stuck and don’t know where to start? Join a challenge like #weekendcoffeeshare. You can either write an actual blog post or just share on Facebook. This type of challenge is great for developing your voice because the focus is writing in first person. You can’t help but let your personality shine through.
4. Don’t Over Edit your First Draft
Do you go over and over a blog post till you have cleaned it up so perfect you could hand it in to your 9th grade high school English teacher? Stop removing and cleaning up to the point where you have erased your personality from your writing.
5. Stop Thinking Every Post has to be Epic
It is funny how the posts that I have put the least amount of work in become my most popular. That is because when I am writing it, I am not thinking about perfection or “going viral”.
Those are the posts where my personality shines.
Keep in mind that not every song is a hit, not every book is a bestseller.
Everyone needs a B side.
You are not the Beatles or Stephen King.
Release the pressure of epic and you will be surprised at what you will produce.
6. Ask a Friend
Someone who knows you in real life, knows your true personality. They will be able to criticise your work, not for content but to tell you if what makes you, you, is present in your written word. Use that resource.
7. Stop Over-Thinking Your Brand Image
Over and over again I hear about bloggers who quit or are thinking about quitting. Many times it is because they develop a blogging persona that veers so far away from who they are and what they are about. They no longer write about what they are passionate about but what they think readers are passionate about.
They create a new personality and sooner or later, they quit because they feel trapped and need to shed the voice that does not represent them.
I totally understand that some blog for business and are super focused on creating a brand of themselves but even then, readers want to connect with you, the real person.
The most popular blogs are those in which readers can identify with the blogger and their trials and tribulations. Stop trying to mold or hyper control the image/brand you want to present. Absolutely nobody’s perfect.
8. Share your Personal Experiences
Reality. Right across all of your social media platforms you can find multiple posts about the same thing, no matter what you are blogging about and no matter which blogging niche you attribute your blog to.
The only thing that helps you distinguish yourself from all the rest is your unique experiences. They also help you find your blogging voice. Use the things that happen to you personally and share those occurrences in your writing.
9. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others!
Not only is comparing yourself to others bad for your self-esteem and ego, they also run the risk of you trying to copy someone else’s style and personality.
What works for someone else may not work for you and more than likely, does not fit your personality or blogging voice. Do not mimic another blogger’s technique because you will run the risk of sounding inauthentic.
That is not the blogging voice you want to have.
10. Don’t Write for Pageviews
Yes, as bloggers we want to feel like we are sharing our writing with the universe and that we are being heard. Don’t get stuck in the trap of writing strictly for pageviews.
We all know that the quickest way to go viral is to be controversial. Controversy can be a huge draw but if that is not what you are inherently about, you will become entrenched in a style that is not your own as well as constantly being in battle with the commenting trolls.
Write for you and your ideal reader. That’s it. Write about what you are passionate about and your personality and blogging voice will shine through. The readers that connect with you, will and the rest will find someone else. That’s ok. You can not please all the people all the time.
11. Write in your Most Comfortable Place
Where are you when you are most connected to your own thoughts? Where do you find it easier to write? Is it in that brand new office you just set up for yourself or is it in your favourite chair? In nature? In a coffee shop?
Find your most comfortable place to write and you will find that it is easier to express yourself and your unique blogging voice.
Remember that people come to your blog to connect with YOU! You are your blog. Share your personality, your thoughts and your experiences. No one else can do that but you.
That’s what will make your blog unique and stand out. That’s what will help you connect with your ideal readers and grow your audience.
I hope you find your blogging voice and love the community you build in the process.
Have you found your blogging voice? Share your tips and exercises you use to keep your blog authentic to who you are.
Don’t have a blog? Start one in less than an hour! Follow my step by step guide here.
I couldn’t agree with you more Elena! Everyone of us blogs for a different reason and we all have a story to tell, it’s how we tell that story that counts. I enjoy writing as if I’m talking to someone. It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison trap and writing for the wrong reasons. I think the prompt method is underestimated and I still enjoy doing these from time to time, it’s usually a more personal post which gets traction. Thanks for your sensible and realistic blogging advice!
We should celebrate uniqueness and stop being so intent on following a proven blog formula.
Yes I certainly agree with that but do you think it will ever change for bloggers?
What will change?
The way bloggers seem to think they have to follow a certain formula and stifle their uniqueness while doing so? Can bloggers just be themselves? I’d like to think so.
It depends on what you want from your blog and who your audience is. If you want to go beyond other bloggers reading your blog, there are certain “formulas” you should follow but that doesn’t ever mean you have to be a conformist.
Great post for newbies – starting is always the scariest part, however, clarity comes with action and once you get started, it’s gets easier and hopefully more exciting.
Best advice after “Just Start” is “repeat, repeat,repeat”.
Awesome post Elena! I have recently started to imagine I am just talking to one of my sisters, sounds silly but someone told me to do that and it seems to be helping! All of your tips were great though, and I will have to try them as well!
Thank you for the shout out! These are all really great tips. I especially like the one about prompts – I find groups who share prompts to be very helpful – and not comparing yourself to others. And the part about me – because of course – HAHAHA!!!! xoxox
You are too cute! I only give credit where credit due. You are awesomesauce.
80,000 blog posts per hour….. yikes!! I still struggle with this. I sometimes feel I write about things no-one else wants to read, but I guess we all feel like that at least some of the time! My next post for instance, is about benches. Yep….. benches. I just had to write it because I saw a lovely picture of a bench in a beautiful park, and I had all these immediate thoughts about what a bench symbolises. Probably one of the easiest posts I’ve written because the writing just all came out in one reasonably short hit of around 15 minutes. It’s also the post I’ve enjoyed writing most all year. We’ll see how it goes! I’m hoping that because I’m interested in it, and I’m sort of my own ideal reader if I wasn’t writing my own blog, that my kind of ‘people’ will like it too!
Regardless of how it is received, it is always great to write a piece that flows so easily. It is so uplifting and encouraging. There are so many hard things about blogging, embrace the few that come easy.
Such good advice. The keyword thing can really stifle me if I let it. Don’t compare yourself to others is the best advice ever.
Envy can zap your energy and creativity. There is room for all of us and everyone has something vital to say.
So true, I say that it is a constantly evolving enterprise. I try to put me in every post and there is so much value in developing a style that is consistent. I admit I look at the pageviews but don’t let the posts stress me out so much with keywords, perfect graphics etc.
It is always changing and evolving but that is part of the fun! Keep blogging!
This is spot on, Elena! too many times in the past I lost my voice. I swore this time I wouldn’t no matter who likes it or not. Passed it along. Everyone needs to remember to be Unique.
Good for you! Stay true to yourself.
These are all so true Elena – I wish I could say that I had them all mastered, but I don’t think that will ever be the case – it’s nice to know that I’m heading in the right direction though – and that it’s okay to be your own person with your own voice and to hell with the rest 🙂
You are definitely heading in the right direction. I love you blog and you have a great, easy style.
Good post Elena, and so true. When we first started blogging years ago, we told the funny, the serious, the every-day comments. Today, we end up saying things we wouldn’t normally say because we need to up our SEO count. Okay, I’m saying “we” – but if I was to use my own voice, I would say “I!”
Ha! Good one! Don’t you just hate the should-have’s?
Great tips. Morning pages really helped me to find my voice. Even though the pages themselves are supposed to be your opportunity to get the crap out of your system, I found myself writing in a style that was natural to me……a style that I’d lost with all the report and appraisal writing I had to do at work.
That is so awesome to hear! I love the whole concept of morning pages but I am not very consistent. 🙁