What kind of blogger are you? Do you advise and instruct, or are you sharing your journey? These tips for finding your blogging voice are inspired by Monica Hamburg, who recently spoke at the Northern Voice Social Media and Blogging Conference in Vancouver (where I spoke, too! SO much fun – can’t wait until next year!).
Before her blogging tips, a quip:
“Confident writers [and bloggers] have the courage to speak plainly; to let their thoughts shine rather than their vocabulary.” ~ Ralph Keyes.
New bloggers (and writers) may feel compelled to wow their readers, instead of communicating clearly. Blogging Tip #1 is to be clear, concise, and direct! If you haven’t started your blog yet, or you’ve let your blog drift away, you might find Create Your Own Blog: 6 Easy Projects to Start Blogging Like a Pro helpful.
And, here are eight ways to let your inner blogger break free…
How to Find Your Blogging Voice – 8 Tips for Bloggers
The main points are Hamburg’s; I’m just fleshing them out…
1. Give yourself time to grow into the blogger you’re meant to be. I’ve been blogging for over two years – I started Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals in January, 2008. Only recently have I allowed glimpses of my personality and life in my writing. I’m not a natural “this is my life” or “this is my journey” blogger, but I am learning that it’s more fun and interesting for both my readers and me to be myself in my blog posts! If you’re struggling to be yourself, remember that it takes time to find your blogging voice. It’s similar to finding your writer’s voice.
2. Ask your friends to describe you. This isn’t just a tip for bloggers, it’s a great way to learn how you appear to the world! Hamburg suggested asking your friends to list your positive qualities. Nurture those characteristics – let them bubble up in your blogging. Let your blog be a mirror of your life and personality.
3. Let your writing suck. This is a tough one; when I look back on my web articles from 2006, when I first started writing for Suite101, I want to flee to the nearest biggest blackest cave I can find. I’m embarrassed by my past writing. In fact, sometimes I’m embarrassed by what I wrote last week! But, as Hamburg suggested, bloggers need to let go of the need to be perfect, and embrace the freedom of letting their blogging voices shine forth.
4. Blog about what you like. The more you enjoy the topic of your posts, the better you’ll write, and the happier you and your readers will be. I love writing about writing and blogging, which is why I have millions of subscribers! (okay I only have hundreds….but several hundreds!). This is a perennial tip for successful writing and blogging: the more you enjoy your topics, the more motivated you’ll be to write or blog well.
5. Get happy; you’ll be a better blogger! Hamburg cited a research study that found that happiness increases problem solving ability, expands thought processes, and helps people become more creative and imaginative. Anxiety, on the other hand, leads to more narrow (boring, stifling, even negative?) thought processes. If you’re struggling to find your blogging voice, chase those happiness hormones.
6. Make a point in your post. Maybe your mom wants to read your random thoughts about your toenails or kitty cats, but most readers want something more substantial! Successful bloggers share something: a thought, an opinion, a story. You don’t necessarily need to be controversial or screamingly funny….just be yourself with a point to make.
7. Trust yourself, your inner voice. What do you most want to write about? Don’t worry if it’ll be popular or commented on. Listen to your gut – and ride the horse in the direction it’s going. It’s your blog, after all…and the beauty of blogging is that we’re free to write about whatever we want!
8. Take risks with your blog. This final blogging tip is the most fun…and the most scary! Experiment with your posts, sidebars, ads, and methods of promoting your blog. Your blog is what YOU – the blogger – make it! If it’s boring, add literal or figurative color. If it’s not getting enough traffic, then try new ways to reach readers. Your blog is (probably) not your primary source of income or health and well-being, so shake it up a little!
Bonus Quick Tips for Finding Your Blogging Voice:
- Figure out your blog’s focus
- Remember that good blog writing is compelling
- Use correct grammar, spelling, sentence structure
- Make your blog visual appealing
- Be concise
Do you have any thoughts or questions on these tips for bloggers? I welcome your comments below…
To learn more about Monica Hamburg, go to MeLikeTheInterweb.com.