Today’s guest post is written by Jayme Soulati.
What the heck is voice? The honest-to-goodness answer is … I have no idea!
I’ll attempt a few tips and provide examples of bloggers’ styles that contribute to voice. Afterwards, I hope you’ll have a better understanding on the quest to find yours.
It takes the better part of a year to get comfortable in your own skin. Attaining voice is part of that 12-month blogging journey. (Hints 1 and 2: Have confidence and be time-tested.)
For me, I write the way I speak and I do it with snark and flowers. Is writing the way you speak considered “voice?” Absolutely, if you can pull it off naturally. (Hint 3: Be natural.)
There’s pressure to find it, have it, and keep it, and how does that work? With consistency. (Hint 4: Practice!)
Five Examples of Blogging Voices
These examples of styles, tone, personality, and delivery contribute to blogging voice. (Hint 5: Voice consists of more than just delivery.)
Take a look and hit on one that makes you nod your head. (Hint 6: Voice has a LOT to do with tonality.)
- Snark. Personal flair is sometimes snark. It works for some and not others. Davina Brewer is one of the best at this. She says, “When a smart blogger dares to challenge a ‘social media guru’ or marketing legend, hell hath no fury like fandoms irked when the wisdom of their ‘rock star’ is questioned. And FWIW I really ain’t sure if the ‘star’ status is anything more than a touch of echo chamber celebrity, cloaked in popularity, masked in a bestseller’s book jacket and next week’s speaking gig.”
- Grammarian Aristocrat. Shakirah Dawud at Deliberate Ink uses 50-cent words naturally, with flair, and perfect punctuation and grammar. She says, “The ‘green’ movement in English: Many common words are being reduced, reused, and recycled, as we’ve seen with ‘friend,’ ‘heart,’ and ‘action’ as the verb. There are familiar words transmogrified into new usages that, although subject to ridicule, are used more commonly than we like to admit in some circles, like ‘deliverables,’ ‘pushback,’ and the terrible-to-behold corporate verbs ‘incent’ and ‘action.’”
- Confident. Jack Steiner has been blogging for more than eight years. That experience exudes confidence nearly untouchable. If you try to pull this off without being time-tested (see hint 1 and 2 above), you’ll come across unnatural and arrogant. He says, “What I don’t know is if that skill translates into storytelling on the scale I am trying to do it. This project is officially bigger than any I have ever taken on before. People have told me they like it. Some have said they love it and a few have told me they really dislike it. That is all fine with me and something I expect. I am not trying to please everyone. At the moment the most important person in this equation is me.”
- Natural. Erica Allison, who blogs at Spot On! is a natural blogger in style and voice with ability to create community. She shares her wisdom in a believable way, showcases her personal side, and invites you in with a huge smile. She says in a blog post earlier this year, ”In honor of Valentine’s Day and in the spirit of love, I thought I would share with you my very favorite apps, tips, and tools that make my online marketing efforts ROCK. I don’t think it’s really possible to LOVE an app or a tool (although I’m certain I’ve been madly in love with a fella before who acted like a tool… ‘wa – wa- waaa’).”
- Inspiring. Mature writers speak in a voice that is soft and encouraging. Mark Harai inspires in a heart-felt manner while educating in a positive light. He says, “Having clear goals in mind is so important when you set out on your social media journey. You need to understand how both of these relationships are instrumental to the health and ultimate success of your online business activities. The close online friendships you develop, in many cases, will be those people you look up to and respect. They will teach you new things every day and inspire you to move forward toward your goals in becoming the successful person you know you’re destined to be.”
These bloggers are all very different from each other. Yet, when you read them consistently, you’ll see their voices don’t stray. Whether your emotion of the day is sad, happy, peaceful, or neutral yours should not stray much either. If there are days when you’re forcing it, take a break until the mojo returns.
Voice is something earned, and it doesn’t happen at the get-go. It takes months of practice. When voice is found, the rest of the blogging experience turns positive, too, and your community will respond in kind.