What makes a good writer stand out in the blogosphere?
Yeah, you guessed it — the title gave it away.
It’s a unique writer’s voice that lets them communicate their messages in a captivating and memorable way.
This post will help you with the career-changing task of finding your writing voice.
Let’s get cracking.
The Different Types of Tones in Writing
Even if the content pieces tackle the same topic, each visit to another page is a fresh new experience.
That’s because bloggers tend to have different content writing tones.
To put things in perspective, you can look at any adjective in the dictionary. Chances are it can be used as a writing tone for a blog post.
It can be absolutely anything, like cheerful, funny, serious, or energetic.
As you develop your writing voice, you’ll lean towards a set of tones that dictate your content strategy moving forward.
But in big industries like SEO and marketing, there are two predominant tones that bloggers base their writing voices on:
Formal Writing Tone
Ever been to big-name publications like Entrepreneur or Forbes?
You should already know that their contributors tend to use a formal writing tone. This involves comprehensiveness, a third-person perspective, and the strict use of formal words.
There are a few advantages of adopting a formal writing tone as you build your blog:
- Communicate information more clearly — A formal writing tone requires you to stick to the details, forego contractions, and minimize fluff. This will make it easier for readers to absorb the information your articles provide.
- Can be perceived as more authoritative — Using a formal style to present proven data and statistics will help build your credibility as an information provider. As a result, your content may steadily generate natural backlinks from citations over a long period of time.
- Maintain a professional atmosphere on your blog — For some blogs, formal writing makes sense because their readers are professionals who simply prefer focused content. Some examples would be blogs about web development, medicine, law, or stock investments.
High-authority sites have successfully leveraged formal writing to draw in a loyal and engaged reader base. It just takes consistency, tons of extensive research, and a knack for finding topic ideas that pique their market’s interest.
If the benefits listed above matter to you, consider finding your writing voice while using a formal writing tone.
There are, however, a couple of downsides to remember.
The downsides of a formal writing tone
You see, blog posts written with a formal writing tone tend to be hard to write and proofread. They are also more likely to become boring, especially if you make your content devoid of any personality.
But then again, it all depends on your niche and the kind of information you want to publish on your blog.
As for me, I can’t imagine how my site would turn out if I chose a formal writing tone.
From the very beginning, I focused on delivering valuable information to readers with the language I know best — conversational language.
Conversational Writing Tone
What you’re reading right now is handmade with a simple philosophy:
Just talk to readers as if you’re talking to a friend.
The end results are long and genuine pieces that reflect how I actually speak in real life.
Here are a few reasons why I decided to use a conversational writing tone in my blog:
- Writing with a conversational tone is easier — What is easier, writing a well-researched article or having an online discussion? With a conversational tone, you don’t need to carefully construct each sentence as if you’re writing a book.
- Make readers feel more involved — As you can observe, I write in first person and have no problems addressing you — my readers. It may seem trivial, but it’s effective in keeping an audience engaged since they feel a part of the conversation.
- More room for creativity — Lastly, any creative writing idea is acceptable with a conversational writing style. You can tell jokes, share short stories, ask questions — whatever it takes to make your content more impactful.
Currently, plenty of authoritative bloggers are committed to a conversational writing tone for the reasons above. Neil Patel, Brian Dean, and Rand Fishkin are among the most popular examples.
As much as I love the conversational writing style, it does have a few disadvantages.
The downsides of a conversational writing tone
If you’re a non-native English speaker, writing with a conversational tone may not be ideal.
This is especially true if your target readers live in the US, UK, or any other native English country.
Your content’s grammar and flow may seem fine to you. But to them, it may sound forced, awkward, or even sloppy to read.
Also, keep in mind that a conversational style will not cover up poor content quality. If anything, it can actually worsen issues like grammatical mistakes, passive voice, and wordiness.
Choosing a Writing Tone
Based on what you’ve read, are you team formal writing or team conversational writing?
There is no right answer to this. But once you’ve made up your mind, be sure to stay committed for the long term.
Although switching between different writing tones should be fine, it may confuse your regular readers.
In any case, you’re ready to take the next steps to find your voice in writing.
How to Find Your Writing Voice
Below are techniques that will help you find and refine your unique writing voice:
1. Write on a Personal Journal
Recently, I published a post about productivity hacks for bloggers. It includes several strategies for time management, workload organization, and productivity habits that can propel your blogging career.
One of the activities I’ve mentioned there is capturing fleeting content ideas on Evernote. It’s a free note-taking application geared towards productivity, but it can also be used as a personal journal.
Why write on a personal journal?
Writing in private is a pleasure that most bloggers take for granted.
It’s an opportunity for you to break free from pressures that would otherwise affect your written pieces. This includes target keywords, SEO, and the quality expectations of your readers.
More often than not, running a public blog also forces you to write about topics you don’t particularly enjoy.
Keeping a private journal, on the other hand, lets you write about anything. You can write about your goals, daily experiences, short-term plans, relationships, hobbies, and so on.
Creating your private journal on Evernote
The reason why I picked Evernote for a personal journal is its cross-platform compatibility.
Whether you’re on your phone or computer, your notes should be synchronized and accessible at any time. I also like the simplicity of the text editor and its features, like checkboxes, microphone recordings, and Google Drive integration.
After a few entries, review your personal journal and look for recurring words, expressions, and idioms. Those are the essential building blocks of your own writing voice — be familiar with them!
2. Be in Touch with Your Personality
Suppose you’re done with the previous step and rounded up with the following words and phrases:
- To be honest
- Despite all that
- In other words
- But to be frank
If ever you’re experiencing a slow writing day, try to spice sentences up with these words.
Whatever you do, don’t overuse them — try to mix things up with synonyms and space them out.
However, there’s a slight hiccup with this strategy.
While it can definitely make articles sound more consistent and recognizable, it takes more than that to instill personality.
Why your blog needs a personality
A personality is an intangible quality that separates stellar bloggers from the mediocre.
Ask yourself, “does my blog help readers get to know me as a person?”
Of course, certain website elements like an “about” page or an author bio help build your identity as a blogger. Still, readers should get to know you based on your content — not on what you say about yourself.
Asking other people to describe you is a great start. But if I were you, I wouldn’t worry too much about what they have to say.
Just be honest about what you feel about key talk points of your content.
As a normal human, certain subjects can make you feel excited, anxious, content, optimistic, and so on. Embrace these emotions and let them show whenever you discuss relevant topics in your blog.
To infuse your personality into your posts, mention these emotions where they fit.
For example, instead of writing:
You can write this more personalized version instead:
3. Try to Include Anecdotes Where Appropriate
Another way to express your personality through your blog is to share anecdotes.
These are short, relatable stories that are relevant to the current topic at hand.
To be honest, I don’t use anecdotes in my own blog posts often, especially if I’m talking about technical topics. But whenever I feel like it’s appropriate to tell a story, I don’t shy away from the challenge.
Doing so will help my readers know and appreciate who I really am.
Here’s an example from my recent post about books for bloggers:
I don’t know about you, but writing anecdotes also make writing fun for me. But I try not to overuse them as to avoid making articles unnecessarily long.
4. Read Your Content Aloud
By telling stories, readers may get the feeling that they’re receiving information from someone they personally know.
That someone should echo how you speak, which is why you must read your content aloud before publishing it.
I talked about this tactic on a previous post about getting more comments in your blog posts. Since it enforces a conversational tone in your writing, it encourages readers to tune in via the comments section.
You can also spot improvements that would otherwise be invisible to most grammar checkers and proofreading tools. That’s why some apps like Ginger Software have a built-in screen reader to have your drafts read aloud for you.
Using text readers as a growth opportunity
Another benefit of using text-to-speech tools is that they can help you improve your English-speaking voice.
Remember that blogging is an ever-evolving landscape. Each day, more and more blogs are adopting new content types to get them ahead of the competition.
Improving your speaking voice will open up advanced content opportunities for you, like podcasts, interviews, and tutorial videos.
5. Read Your Previous Posts
Plenty of bloggers still haven’t found a consistent writing voice despite being in the business for some time.
Don’t sweat it — it can happen to the best of us.
Looking back at my old posts, I can examine the development of my own writing voice over time. I could recognize writing habits I’ve outgrown and pinpoint sentences that I would write differently if given the chance.
That’s exactly what you need to do right now.
In your spare time, read your old posts and determine how you can improve and refine it.
Do you think you’re using some sentences are too wordy? Are you overusing certain transition words like “furthermore,” “in fact,” or “likewise”?
6. Go Freestyle
A lot of people always say that, in blogging, there’s no room for mistakes.
That’s not always true.
That said, I want you to stop overthinking every single sentence you write. Just let the words flow out of your mind and into your draft.
Forgive yourself for making mistakes and accept the fact that no writer is perfect.
Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t proofread your work altogether. But wait until the whole piece is finished before you start worrying about your mistakes.
Better yet, use web-based proofreading tools that automatically detect issues and potential improvements.
What proofreading tool should you use?
Grammarly is among my favorite proofreading tools of all time. You simply need to paste your raw draft and let the tool do its work.
Some of the issues Grammarly detects are grammatical mistakes, typos, improper preposition usage, and more.
Feel free to check out this post on the top four online proofreading tools. There, I took an in-depth look at each proofreading application along with awesome discounts to get you started.
7. Practice Writing Shorter Sentences
In the process of discovering your writing voice, you may occasionally create lengthy sentences that exceed 20 words.
That should be fine when done in moderation. But if entire articles consist of long sentences and thick paragraphs, visitors may have a tough time reading your content.
The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress underlines this as a readability factor that may affect your website’s search engine rankings.
The good news is, Yoast SEO will highlight these wordy sentences within your draft. That means you can easily shorten sentences after the fact.
Unfortunately, too much editing may cause your writing voice to fade from your article.
A far better approach is to straight-up form the habit of writing more concise sentences. It will take some getting used to, but it’s more than doable with practice.
As a final piece of advice, don’t pressure yourself to figure out your writing voice ASAP.
This is one of the aspects of blogging that takes an indefinite amount of time.
Once you find yourself enjoying the content creation process, that’s when you know you found your authentic writing voice.
Already found the best voice to represent your blog? What tips can you give those who are still searching?
If you have any suggestions or questions, remember that the comment section is always open. Cheers!