As a professional writer, it’s a true gift to be able to write in the voice of your clients, or write in a way that appeals to different audiences. It takes a different kind of skill to be able to write in someone’s voice. However, when you’re creating your brand and your own voice, it’s not a good idea to write in any voice other than your own.
Trust me, I learned the hard way.
When I started writing at eleven (I’ve got the stories to proof it), I’ve started with imitating my favourite authors. Lots of writers start out that way and that’s totally cool (just not for publishing). In fact, everybody learns by imitating. Walking, speaking and even eating. We all learn from watching our parents, and mimicking their behaviours.
At some point, though, we all have to find our own way. Think of it as telling your mother you’ve become a vegetarian when she presents you with a juicy meatball.
However finding your own voice can be hard when you see others succeeding. If that’s what the audience wants, then that must be the key to creating killer content. Right?
Your brand and your blog are built on your personality. Your voice is unique, so are your views, opinions and experiences. Throw that all together and you have a pretty spectacular mix that only you can provide.
But how do you bring that unique voice of you to the party? Here are 5 expert tips:
Write to a friend
One of the best ways to write like you talk is to write a letter to you friends, or mum for that matter. Think about it, you wouldn’t talk to any of them in a big corporate voice, would you?
Of course not!
Next time you’re writing, start off with ‘dear mum’ or the name of your best friend (or even better, the name of your ideal client). Don’t worry, you won’t have to publish that, it’s just to help you get in the right mindset.
Next, write the entire post as if you’re talking directly to them. When you’re done, read it back and notice the difference in wording and how much more free flowing your writing is. Now you go back in, do some editing, add some structure and subheaders.
Record your stuff
If you have a microphone (most laptops do) and access to Google docs, start dictating your posts directly into your computer. This is a great, quick and easy way to get your voice down on paper. Especially if you struggle with finding your voice on paper. Just talk as you normally would and your posts will be filled with words you use when you talk and tons of personality. You will have to go back in and edit, as the technique is far from flawless, but it will also help you greatly with speeding up your writing process. Bonus.
Just talk as you normally would and your posts will be filled with words you use when you’re talking (and it has personality!). You will have to go back in and edit, as the technique is far from flawless, but it will also help you greatly with speeding up your writing process. Bonus.
Ask a friend
If you’re not sure if your writing really sounds like you, ask a friend to proofread it. Preferably one that is honest (the more honest, the better) and will really tell you what he or she thinks.
Sometimes, especially when it comes to writing in your own voice, it’s good to have an extra set of eyes on your text. You want to be sure it absolutely sounds like you and sometimes you look at yourself differently than your friends and family do.
Just keep in mind that you have the last vote when it comes to what goes on and what stays out of your text. This is just to get a second opinion.
Share your stories from the heart
We all have stories and experiences that are really specific to us. It’s our stories and experiences that make us unique and give us a story to share with the world. If you don’t share those elements in your text, it will make you sound robotic, plain, boring and, well, not human.
That’s not what you want. Trust me.
In order to reach people, to teach them and to make them feel like ‘she gets it’, you need to find your writing voice. You need to share you.
Good thing: your audience loves to hear your stories. Yes, it’s all about what you can teach them and the value you give them. BUT…
…They want to know that you understand them. That you have faced their struggles too and that you practise what you preach.
The only way to do that is by sharing your stories and experiences with them. Show them your human side, show them that you are vulnerable too and that you get them. That’s the only path straight through their hearts.
Plus it’s one of the core values to back up what you’re trying to teach them.
Use your catchphrases
We all have expressions we use all the time, ways of saying things. Adding those into your posts is a great way to add more personality. Who said that writing and talking are two different things? Yes, writing is a more efficient way to get a point across fast, but no one said boring is the way to go.
Start writing the way you talk
Tagging on the previous point, if you say ‘right?’ at the end of a sentence a lot, who says you can’t add that to you writing as well? Not every sentence, of course, balance is the key, but enough to make it sound more authentic.
Your aim here is to get a conversational tone. That’s what gets people hooked and makes them keep reading all at the same time.
So add in your expressions, your funny inside jokes, dry humour and really make it you. Go over the top, scale it back again. Whatever works for you. Experiment, go nuts, but most of all: be yourself.