Have you ever struggled trying to find your inner blogging voice? Do you wonder if you’re truly connecting with readers? Perhaps you think your writing should be funnier, or wittier, or maybe it’s just the opposite where you think that you have to “take things more seriously” because, darn it, this is a business we’re running here! Relax, it’s all part of the process.
If you’ve never written for a living, or outside the confines of an educational institution, you may find it somewhat hard to adjust to writing for an audience. What makes it doubly confusing is that unlike a term paper, or other work, the rules are not clearly defined, as there is no “final grade” to be handed out by a teacher every time you post.
There are many opinions out there on what constitutes good writing, and certainly there are some benchmarks that apply across the board, such as how engaging you writing is. If it’s boring an uninspired, you won’t get many people interested in finishing one blog post, much less checking out the rest of your writing.
Each post is basically the one chance you have, the one hook, that can keep your readers coming back for more. But you gotta remember this: at the end of the day it all comes down to giving your audience what they want.
Finding an audience may be the toughest part and one obsession that will drive you crazy at the beginning.
Everybody wants more visitors and more traffic to their page.
This is all well and good, but here’s the thing. High visitor count won’t do you any good if you can’t keep them coming back for more. Simple as that.
To develop an audience, you must first hone a particular skill as a writer . I’m not talking grammar or spelling, which certainly helps, but I’m talking about what writing valuable content.
There are many ways in which you can offer value through your writing. Some become specialists in one area, other writers are gifted enough that they can mix and match any type without any problems whatsoever. But the key is to decide what is the BEST value that you can offer in a CONSISTENT basis.
Finding Your Writing Style
You may fit one or more categories below, you may fit a category not even listed here, but keep in mind that you are the one that has to discover and nurture the particular writing style that best offers value to your readers.
Instructional / Educational: If your business will be based on teaching people a particular skill, selling an effective method to do “X”, or providing instruction about how to accomplish something, then make that the main objective of your posts. Strive to be clear and concise in your directions, and make sure that whenever you share something, your readers can learn or take-away something of use for themselves.
Look at your post as you proofread it (you do proofread before posting, right?) and think to yourself “Am I teaching my readers something here, or am I babbling nonsense?”
An easy way to verify if you have accomplished this is by trying to shrink your post to a tweet-sized version, or nugget of wisdom.
Disclaimer: This won’t always work, but break it down into 1-5 tweets if your writing contains more than one BIG idea. I’ll give it a shot at the end of this article.
Entertain: This is a popular category at which many attempt, but just as many fail. You can definitely learn how to spin entertaining stories, but for the most part, you’ll know before you start if you’re a natural.
Storytellers did their thing way before they started blogging. They did for friends and family before you started writing to begin with.
Don’t confuse storytelling with rambling. They are not the same thing.
Just because you can talk someones ears off, it does not mean your stories are entertaining. If you can spot drool, glassy-eyed looks, and random head-banging against the wall… your storytelling abilities need sharpening.
If you are witty, funny, or can tell a good story, you’ll know so because of the encouraging feedback. This is a little more subjective to gauge, as one person’s love for booger jokes may not be readily appreciated by all people the same way.
At first, have a friend, whose humor or interests mirrors that of your audience, proofread your posts for you. Not totally necessary at first, but it doesn’t hurt.
Motivational: Last, but not least, a popular category is the inspirational and/or motivational type of writing. Your aim may be to get people to embark in a new adventure, follow their heart, or get out and do something.
This category is not as clear as the other two above, because what motivates each individual to do something, anything, can sometimes be a mystery.
This one depends more on what your motivation is, because what you want to communicate is more easily achieved when you yourself believe in the idea you’re proposing.
Motivating anybody for purely selfish reasons puts you in used-car salesman territory.
Sure, you’ll make a living, but you’ll hate yourself the next morning for it. Better to know you’re inspiring lives in a positive way, whether by your own example, encouragement or motivation, or by kicking someones butt like a Drill Sergeant. Soon enough, you’ll find the audience that responds to your motivational techniques.
As I said earlier, the categories above are not the end-all, be-all, when it comes to finding determining the type of value that you offer to your readers, but are good, broad terms you can put on and see if they fit.
If you’re still not sure, just think about how your friends may describe you to someone else. Would they think that you’re helpful and knowledgeable, love to hear your stories, or seek you out when they need encouragement to do something? The answer will point you in the right direction
Here’s my lesson summed up in a tweet: Find your writing style by first discovering the value your writing has to offer.
What writing style do you prefer?
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