This morning, I was sitting amidst the breakfast dishes and listening to the dogs play (imagine a cacophony of growls, whines & nails on tile….this is my life) and I was thinking about how long it’s taken me to not only find, but be comfortable with my writing “voice.” My style. My brand. That which is unique to me and my Jenna-ness.
Whether or not you notice it, you’re seeing it all the time: it’s a particular style of editing or a unique composition in photos, copy (writing) that is happy and peppy or snarky and fun. It’s knowing who the blogger is without even having to look at the username. Have you ever read someone’s blog post or seen their Instagram post or story and thought I totally need to be friends with this person. Yep. That’s their personality and their uniqueness you’re connecting with.
That, my dear, is branding.
Why do you need branding?
It helps you stand out. It helps drive traffic to your blog. It helps people relate to you and when they genuinely love you for who you are, BOOM! You have an audience. Let’s be serious, we all say we blog for the love of it, AND WE DO. But do you think many of us would continue to blog on the regular if there was no way to make money from it? Doubtful. Let’s face it, traffic and audience are important. I mean, you’re here to make some cash, right?
Let’s look at a few key factors that will help you figure out your own, unique voice. Grab a pen and paper, this may get note-y. (PS see that? I make up words all the time. That’s part of my *ahem* charm(?) and a recognizable part of my online voice)
STEP 1: SHOW US YOUR PERSONALITY
Be the you-iest you that you can be. What words would your friends and family use to describe you? Ask them. Then pick a few that you agree with and make sure your audience gets to see them in action. Are you funny? Are you no-nonsense? Do you love lists?
Don’t dull that sparkle! Write the way you would speak to a friend, because that’s exactly what you’re doing. As a blogger, your audience is your friend. They voluntarily come to your blog and spend their precious time reading your stuff because they enjoy it. When you attempt to write from a voice other than your own, or from a voice you think will sell better, you confuse and throw them off.
Write down 5 words people would use to describe you and besides each one, list a few ways you might be able to showcase that trait.
STEP 2: GIVE US MORE
Make sure to use your unique voice across all platforms. Do you own a travel blog and get really excited about airport bars? I want to see that in your Instagram stories every time you travel! Write an IG post about how you get to the airport several hours early so that you can find the best spot to wait for your plane. Write a blog post on your top 10 favorite airport bars.
Write about things you have a passion for. Your readers can tell when you’re not totally hyped about a topic. Don’t do that to your friends.
STEP 3: DO IT RIGHT
Grammar. Punctuation. These are important. Make sure you’re using correct punctuation so you don’t make us all crazy when you’re writing a really important post but none of us can get behind the actual meaning because every single sentence is a run on and there’s no way for us to distinguish when one sentence ends and another begins its distracting as a reader to not be able to follow along
Get it? GOOD. I’m not talking about being a full-on Grammar Nazi–I’m sure you could find several mistakes in this here post. Make sure you’ve got the basics down when you’re writing, you’ll be able to convey your voice and point much for efficiently.
Drafts. When an idea for a post hits you, by all means write it out! But before you hit that publish button make sure you’ve read and re-read it. Your teachers in school knew what they were doing when they made you turn in 1,000 different drafts before accepting your finished product. Re-read and refine. You’ll be glad you did.
STEP 4: WRITE, READ, WRITE
You’re a blogger, right? Writing is what you do. There is no better way to find your unique voice than to keep at it. Every. Single. Day. Hint: you don’t have to publish everything you write. Not everything will be mind-blowing and that’s OK.
Find bloggers who’s voices you love and read them often. Notice what about their blogging style attracts you to them.
One of my favorite bloggers is Mckenna Bleu because she’s hilarious, sarcastic (relatable) and her pictures are always filled with big spaces and bright pops of color. Her pictures inspire me and her writing always makes me laugh. She is true to herself and consistent with her brand.
“The best way to develop your writer’s voice is to read a lot. And write a lot. There’s really no other way to do it.”Stephen King
People need to hear what you have to say, the way you say it.
Having a voice for your blog is essential to growing an audience. Growing an audience that is legitimately engaged with your content is essential to creating an online business. Finding your unique voice will set you apart from the millions of other bloggers out there.
Who are some of your favorite bloggers/IGers to follow and what about their voice attracts you to them?