3 Ways to Keep Your Voice in Your Writing
Your online voice is your lifeline to your audience, right?
It’s how clients, potential clients, colleagues, and even random people who come across you connect to you without ever hearing your speaking voice or meeting you. Using a consistent voice helps you build the know, like, trust factor across your brand— and that is, as we know, how to convert someone to a paying customer or client. Voice can get lost, though, when we’re writing. Here are three ways to ensure yours doesn’t:
1. Remember Who You’re Writing For
Is your audience made up of financial or legal folks? You wouldn’t talk to or write for them the same way you’d would florists or wedding planners, would you? Just like you need to keep your ideal client in mind when creating and packaging your products and services, you must also keep them in mind when writing to and/or for them. If you have a solid grasp on who your audience is, you can speak in their language.
You can use their terminology and vocabulary and slang. When writing, you can have a conversation with that audience. In other words, you can build the know, like, trust factor, and then later convert them into paying clients quicker and easier. You voice helps you stand out from others in your industry (who maybe aren’t paying attention as much to their audience and are writing instead for themselves). There’s a lot of noise out there! As we all know, you cannot serve everyone. Your business has a particular audience, and so must your writing. Keeping that audience in mind each time you write something will enable you to serve that audience well. You’ll craft content that appeals to them and they’ll return for more.
2. Be You
Are you sarcastic, or more buttoned-up in tone? Are you funny or serious? Your readers and customers want to know YOU, not a curated version of you. I find that my first draft ends up being close to what I publish. Sure, I polish the draft, self-edit, etc. But the core of my writing is usually what I first say and write. If I take too much of ME out, then I’m not being authentic (to myself or to my audience) and my writing starts to sound stuffy. This is where style and voice overlap. Your voice is part of your writing style, but the style encompasses other elements, too, like your tone and your sentence/paragraph structure. For your voice, think about the personality traits that define you. Make a list of five or 10 of them. Then read some of your writing (blog posts and newsletters, for example). Do those traits shine through in your writing? They should, if you’re being authentic. If you’re having trouble with a particular post or article, read it aloud or have someone you know read it. Do they think it sounds like you? Do you?
3. Write More
I know, I know: You’re busy running your business. But it really is that simple. Write every day. Write more blog posts. Write more journal entries. Write more newsletter drafts. Find a website or book with writing prompts and free write based on each day’s prompt. Think of writing like a muscle: It gets stronger with use (and it atrophies when unused). The more you write, the more you strengthen and refine your voice, and the stronger your writing will be. There’s no secret to this one, I’m afraid.
When was the last time you thought about your writing voice? If it’s been a while, take a few minutes to do the personality traits exercise in #2. Consistency will help your brand — and your bottom line!
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GUEST BLOGGER: JODI BRANDON // book publishing + Writing coach
Jodi Brandon leverages 20 years’ experience in the traditional book publishing industry to work as a writing coach, publishing consultant, and book editor with creative business owners who want to scale their business. Jodi teaches them how to use a book to do just that, whether they want to self-publish or publish traditionally.