How to Improve Your Writing Voice–Instantly

Hello, Fit Scriber! Welcome to the third installment on how to build a better blog.

 

So far we’ve talked about how to generate quality ideas, and you’ve received some solid templates for crafting killer headlines.

 

But before you put pen to paper—or fingertips to keyboard—you must consider how you will communicate with your audience. Put simply, you need to find your voice.

 

Your voice is what sets you apart from your competitors. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, readers want to find a way to connect with you, not your product or service. Think of some of your favorite writers or speakers. What is it about their work that keeps you going back for more? Is it the content or how the content is presented?

 

You don’t say, “I like Kurt Vonnegut’s stories.” You say, “I like Kurt Vonnegut.”

 

While a reader will certainly appreciate your content, she will get more out of it when she feels like she knows you—or at least the version of you that is presented through your content. When a post transforms from information into an experience, you’ve hooked a loyal reader.

 

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

- Maya Angelou

 

Your voice is essentially your personality. If one of your regular readers was to go through three separate posts by three separate authors—yourself included—she should easily be able to choose the one you wrote.

 

Here’s another way to look at it: What’s the difference between major competitive brands like Apple and PC; Coca Cola and Pepsi; or Nike and Reebok?

 

While the rival companies sell similar products, each has developed its own unique voice to connect with consumers. You are easily able to recognize whose content you are reading or viewing almost immediately.

 

You know your voice is important, but how do you find it?

 

Here are the 5 steps you can take right now that will help you find your unique voice:

Step 1: Visualize Your Reader

Start by analyzing who your target reader is. Are you writing travel safety posts for truck drivers? Or maybe you want to inspire teenage girls to start quilting.

 

Once you’ve got a better understanding of who you’re writing for, you will then have a better idea of what to say and how to say it.

 

For example, it’s unlikely that posts for truckers would sound anything like posts geared toward teenaged quilters.

 

Step 2: Brainstorm

Brainstorm words that describe your audience and how you want them to feel when they read your work. Set the clock for 5 minutes and let the words flow, uncensored. Once the time is up, pick the top five or 10 words that resonate most with you. The words should be descriptors like “fun, serious, tough,” or “edgy.”

 

If you’re a visual person, scan the Internet or magazines for images that illustrate those words and print/cut them out. You might also search for pictures of individuals that look like your target audience.

 

Step 3: Set Your Writing Stage

The next time you write a blog, place those words and images around your computer screen. Write as though you are speaking directly to the person or persons you chose as your target reader.

 

Is your person edgy? Throw in some language that would make your prudish next-door neighbor furl her brow.

 

Visualizing an anti-reader can also be helpful in honing your voice.

 

Step 4: Get Feedback

Once you’ve written your next post, share it with friends and family who will give you honest feedback. Explain to them the vibe you’re attempting to express and ask if they felt it. For example, if you’re writing about how to lower stress, ask whether or not your post gives your reader a feeling of relaxation. If not, go back through the post and find ways to inject it with words that are associated with stress relief.

 

Step 5: Forget Perfection

It’s important to note that your voice will evolve over time. All of the great writers continue to improve so don’t expect overnight perfection. It takes practice and testing to see what works and what doesn’t.

 

Bonus tip! The good news about blogs is that they don’t have to be structured as rigidly as an article for the New York Times. The best posts are those that are conversational in nature. So the next time you write, do so as if you are talking to your very best friend; this will increase your potential to create an instant bond with your reader. You want her to feel like she’s talking to a friend not a corporation. Friends let their guards down and are more open to receiving information.

 

Here’s some quick homework to help you find your voice: In the comments section below I want you to write at least three to five adjectives that describe your ideal reader. Then write the words down and pull them out the next time you write a post.

 

And be sure to stay tuned for the next post. We will get into the nuts and bolts of blog structure.

 

Don’t want to miss out on the next post? Be sure to enter your name and email in the fields at the top right of this page.

 

Until we meet again, happy writing!

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