Ways to Improve Your Blogging Voice
So you've started a blog for your family, for a hobby, to update friends, for a business or maybe you're just writing on the Internet. You know how to post and where to share, but now you want to take your blog to the next level.
Have you ever noticed that some people's blogs seem to easily attract tons of loyal followers? How do they do that?
I started wondering that myself, so I started studying the writing on those blogs and I've found that it's all about likability. Popular blogs almost always have a voice that people like and relate to.
On this page I'm going to explore ways that we can improve our blogging voice to be more appealing and likable and attract more readers! Being likable draws traffic to you.
(Image is a picture of me typing away!)
Charisma - A talent I wish I had.
I've always admired highly charismatic people. I have a cousin who is so charming that everyone who meets her falls instantly in love with her. Next to her I felt like the ugly black sheep being totally ignored.
I thought there was nothing I could do about it. She was born with charisma and I was not.
Then I saw this book when I was in line at a FedEx. It says that the idea that charisma is something we're born with is false. It's a skill we can develop.
But would it work when the charisma I most want is over the Internet and not in person? I picked it up so I could find out.
The book focuses more on charisma in person than over the Internet, but I think its lessons are still applicable if we think of our blogs as a room in our home where we invite in guests for good conversation.
There are exercises to help you develop charisma and some really interesting and unexpected tips for small change that will make a difference in how you are perceived.
Even if all it does is help me be more magnetic in real life, I think that does have a lot of value. And it seems like if I'm likable in real life, then it will be easier to be likable online. Right?
Sound Like a Friend
Blogs are an informal source of information and so people expect a personable voice when they visit. Blogs are more like hanging out over coffee with a friend than being a student in a classroom.
So forget the academic writing class where they told you it was important to never refer to yourself and to be as distanced and un-opinionated as possible.
People come to your blog for your opinion and your thoughts told to them as a friend would.
So the more your blog sounds like the way someone would talk in real life, the better. One suggestion I saw was to talk about the subject into a recorder (there are lots of apps for this) and then transcribe what you spoke. You can then edit and tweak it, but the base of it will sound the way that you talk.
People need to like you enough that they want to see you succeed. You can inspire people to want to help you do well just by being likable.
- Young House Love
Young House Love does this particularly well. It started when a husband and wife were decorating and rennovating their first house and decided to blog about it to keep family and friends up to date. Their relaxed, friendly style attracted a massive
My observation is that people deeply respond to honesty. The more willing we are to be vulnerable and admit our weaknesses, the more people respond to us.
Whatever your subject, it's important to write from your heart about it. Rather than writing cliches or what we think people want to hear, write what we really think deep down. Most likely many other people are secretly thinking whatever it is and it's a huge relief to them that someone has admitted it and brought it into the light.
This doesn't have to be negative things!
Tell the real stories from our lives and don't try to cover up your insecurities by glossing past your embarrassing moments. If you admit them and laugh about them, people will feel so much more comfortable about their own mistakes.
The stark honesty of Reasons My Son Is Crying made it a runaway success.
- A Practical Wedding
A Practical Wedding built their success on being willing to examine multiple different experiences people have with weddings. Meg, the founder, was not willing to believe everything she heard about weddings, like that they had to be stressful or you
But Not Bitter
People respond to realness over cliche, but you have to be careful with tone. If you're bitter, then your blog will quickly become tiresome for people to read. You don't want to be that one friend on Facebook whose statuses are nothing but bleak complaints and at first you try to help, but the complaints are relentless and you don't know what to do so you give up.
Humor seems to really help blogs out. To me it looks like the key to a viral post or video is a blend of humor with sincerity.
If you're very articulate, then an angry blog may work. If you're saying what a lot of people want to hear, complaints may work for you. If you're confident in what you know to be right, you can say it forcefully and be successful. You'll provide a voice to those who are on your side of the debate and they will be grateful for it. But it's a high risk way to blog. You may make a lot of enemies and be frequently dealing with screaming matches.
I love the Bad Cripple blog. He makes his points with an unrivaled intensity. He is absolutely brilliant and his posts make me want to shout "Amen!" But sometimes it's hard to read multiple posts because it makes me feel sad and frustrated about the world.
On the other hand, Smart Ass Cripple makes similar points with cutting humor. Because Smart Ass Cripple makes me laugh out loud every time, I am better able to take in his message.
Both are very valuable to the discussion on disability rights, but my preference is for humor along with insightful social commentary and that's reflected in the blogs that I read and recommend to others.
(Please note that I am definitely not saying that "Bad Cripple" is bitter. I've met him in real life and he's not. He is just very honest and to the point).
- Hyperbole and a Half
The woman behind this page is incredibly talented at humor. And also at making us say "Oh yeah, that's exactly how it is." She blends humor with exposing our true foibles as human beings and it would be hard to find a more successful blog. She's got
Invite People In
A lot of times we blog because we value connection and sharing our ideas with others. People without blogs like to do that too!
A good blog usually has a robust comments section with intense dialog.
When you encourage comments and thoughts from your readers, you are welcoming them and thanking them for coming to visit.
- Rachelle Gardner
A literary agent, Rachelle writes useful and educational posts about the book publishing business. But at the same time she encourages discussion and often asks readers to tell about their experience with whatever aspect of book publishing she's talk
Other Quick Tips
- Be passionate. Did you ever have a teacher in a subject you didn't care about who was so excited about the topic that you started to feel excited too? That's the kind of passion we want to have on our blogs: infectious love for our subject.
- Try to assume goodwill in people and avoid being defensive. You'll get comments that seem harsh or attacking, but if you can, try to see beyond the tone and see if the person is just a troll or if they have a real concern that they aren't articulating well to you. I've made this mistake and I've felt really bad for reacting defensively!
- Analyze blogs that you enjoy and try to figure out what about them you like most, like I've done here with my favorites!
- Promotion of your blog is good, of course, but it's even better to have content that people adore. When you have great content, people do your promotion for you and then you don't end up looking desperate. It's like dating! The more confident and chill you can be, the more people will want to be around you. None of the blogs featured here had to scream to be heard.