Copywriter and Blogger Jen Miller shares how she found her voice as a writer and explains that you must share your voice as a writer. Taking care to explain the difference between industry jargon and words that readers understand, Jen delivers tips and stories that speak to content marketers and business owners alike, all in under 10 minutes.
Hello and welcome to Be Seen Blogging! I’m Jen Miller and on today’s episode, Episode #8, we will be discussing How To Share Your Voice as a Writer. I’ve been in the content business as a journalist, copywriter, website builder, and blogger and have insight to share with you that will bring you traffic, help you to engage your site visitors and increase your goal conversion.
As I mentioned a minute ago, today we are going to talk a little more about writing like you speak. As an online content producer, it is especially imperative that what you write sounds like you. Your tone or voice is why readers will be returning to your website.
If you were asked to present at an academic conference, you probably would use different words than if you were speaking at a pep rally. If you were having lunch with friends you would talk differently than if you were being reviewed by your employer. Different occasions require us to adapt and present different although authentic sides of ourselves.
The same is true when writing.
When I blog as an accountant, my writing voice is very different from the one I use for an outgoing real estate broker or public speaker. If I am blogging as a construction contractor or pest control company, I use different words that I would use when writing as a classical musician or photographer. Each profession, each individual has their own, very unique voice.
Have you found your voice? I found my personal writing voice when I was 18 years old and really have not deviated from it since. I remember the day well. I had been pulled off the police beat to write a community “fluff” piece on a local salon. It was challenging because my story had to have heart, not just the facts. It was very different from the writing I had done up to that point. I really struggled with it. It seemed that everything I came up with was just too dry.
I consulted with my editors and writing friends and each shared tips, but when the publisher suggested I just write as I speak, I had an a-ha moment. Suddenly I knew what to do.
I started writing about how the business was run by people devoted to the community, I shared who they were and what really stood out as important to me about what they did. I interviewed some of their clients to gain their perspective. I thought about the dedication it took to launch a family business and the little known facts that had been shared with me as I toured the establishment. I found the heart of the story as I started writing as if I were explaining my experience to a good friend. I didn’t realize it then, but that story helped me to establish my voice.
Now when I write for other people, I place myself in their perspective, and use phrases I know or believe they would use. I look for details and ways to delve deep into the story even if the piece I am writing is only 3 paragraphs long or a tweet of 120 characters.
Sometimes writing as you speak means using the right words. As an industry professional it’s easy to get caught up in jargon and forget how “real” people speak or use search terms and keywords online. Taking a step back and thinking like your client can go a long way.
Ask yourself: Do my clients understand my words? Am I using “industry speak” on my website or search terms and keywords that my clients would use? Is my communication clear?
I had an experience a couple of years ago that drove the point home for me and made me realize that even I, as “master” blogger, needed to rethink my communication skills.
It was “Share Day” at my son’s school. He was frantically trying to decide what to bring. “It has to be something that is really hard to guess,” he said. “And colorful, but not an Easter egg. That was too easy last week, Mom.” I scanned my desk recalling the horror he expressed at his previous week’s experience of having his share guessed on the first try.
Trying to help, I held my tape holder. I suggested, “You can share my tape dispenser…” knowing it would be hard to pass up since it’s shaped like a shoe and not a typical item. It is also something he normally was prohibited from using.
Instantly he reached for it and said, “Mom, it’s not just for Spencer. It’s to share with the whole class!”
I was puzzled for a second and then realized he had misheard me. What he heard was, “You can share my tape to Spencer.” But what I had said was, “You can share my tape dispenser.”
He heard “to Spencer” because those were the words he recognized. He was translating my phrase into words and meanings that he understood.
As you blog you have to be clear and make sure your clients understand the meaning of your words as you share your voice.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard, I had several blogging clients who went without power, fuel, and food in the aftermath of the storm. I was shocked to receive several 3 minute calls via cell phones that helped me understand what to post on their blogs even though I was 3,000 miles away. The distress and gratitude evident in my clients’ voices needed to be expressed on their blogs. The coming together they witnessed in their communities needed to be documented. The story of triumph in trying circumstances needed to be shared. It was a challenge and an exercise in empathy for me. Those posts helped me to gain a new, almost desperate, descriptive writing voice and I jumped at the opportunity.
Now you have the opportunity to determine your voice. What will it sound like? Will is be sassy or smart, polished or edgey? Perhaps you find you lean more towards an arrogant or clever tone or prefer to stick to the basic facts with a little editorial thrown in. Maybe you have a naturally sweet, unassuming voice or are quick to compliment and reassure. These qualities need to be seen in the content you produce.
You may find that your voice is a mix of all of these. 😉 If so, send me an email. We always need writers who can change up their voice easily at NeedSomeoneToBlog.
Typically though, you’ll notice that your writing takes on a certain feel, which I refer to as your voice. It may evolve in time, but the undertones will remain the same. Your true voice will be amplified in the words you compose and you will realize that writing can be a very powerful tool for conveying your thoughts, when you write like you speak.
Need more insight in how you can be seen blogging? Listen to more podcast episodes or reach out to me Jen Miller on Twitter @jenblogs4u or on the web at Needsomeonetoblog.com. Thank you for tuning in! I’m looking forward to talking with you soon!