Writing a business blog is hard. There’s just no denying it. For one thing, you have to find the time. For another, you have to think about topics to blog about. And then you actually have to write.
Does this ring true with you?
Of all these, one of the hardest things to do is to find your voice when writing your blog - and by that I mean your actual human voice.
I’m not going to lie. This has been quite a challenge for me. My writing experience lies in financial journalism where my style had to be relatively formal and, well, corporate.
When I started to write a blog for my business, I realised that I couldn’t just fall into these old patterns. I had to let my writing show the real me.
And that is scary.
Not because the real me is scary (promise!) but because it is just plain terrifying at times to put yourself out there.
I also worry that my readers will be put off or frustrated if I write in a more informal, chatty style.
However, whenever I do get that fear, I always remind myself of this simple fact: the bloggers that I most admire and the writers whose content I most enjoy are the ones who are brave and let me see behind the curtain.
I love it when a blogger tells stories, admits their failures and adopts a more informal style.
So, let’s be brave together shall we?
In this post, I will look at four ways you can find your human voice in your business blog.
Relate To Your Reader
What really helps me avoid falling into a 'corporate' style when I write is to relate to and picture my reader. I go beyond the brand and imagine the person.
The truth of the matter is, no matter what we do in life, we are all connected by similar emotions, aspirations and challenges.
I run a small business and I write for small businesses. So I visualise someone in a similar situation to me and think about the things that I have learnt and how those things might be of use to others.
For example, I recently wrote a post for website builder Jimdo’s blog. The post was about the lessons that I have learnt from running a small business blog. These lessons were drawn from my own personal experiences and I think this struck a chord with many readers.
In addition, I investigate tools and solutions that I find of interest as much as (I hope) my readers do. An example of this can be found in a recent blog post where I researched 40 online tools for websites. Some of these were tools that I use myself and some were new (and exciting to road test) discoveries for me.
If I am still struggling to find my blog’s ‘human’ voice, I picture a close friend of mine and imagine I am talking to her. This really helps me to maintain my human tone and prevents me from slipping back into corporate mode (also stops me from rambling!).
Reveal Your Stories
I am so used to reporting the news that I can easily slide back into that writing style. Now, I don’t mean to imply that this is a bad thing. Far from it - I think that my editing and journalistic experience has stood me in fantastic stead for blogging.
However, I want my blog to have a more conversational style as well as offering actionable value to my readers.
Here’s how I am trying to achieve this balance - by storytelling.
I am trying to be brave here and reveal stories about myself and my business journey in order to build a community around my content. I certainly don’t want to talk down to anyone - I want to share.
Now this doesn’t come easy to me. I am sometimes torn between being scared to reveal too much and being worried that my readers will be thinking - why does she think we would ever be interested in this?
However, much as in the first section of this post, I don’t think this of others. I don’t get turned off by someone revealing his or her stories. In fact, I find stories (and particularly those stories where things have not gone to plan) fascinating, enduring and admirable.
Yes, this is a business blog. But there is a very human heart behind it and that is something to celebrate.
Relax And Write
One of the key lessons that I have learnt since creating my business blog is that everything gets better with time. The more I write, the more I feel that I am finding my groove. I am sure that you are experiencing the same thing.
I now tell myself to relax whenever I write a post. I take a deep breath and (picturing my reader) allow myself to just write.
Of course, I do have a strategy behind all of this stuff. I have an editorial content plan and I am structured in my research and writing. However, I don’t let that structure strangle my writing flow. I just start writing.
Chances are, a lot of that writing will fall victim to my editing process, but much of it will stay.
I am also relaxed with my language. I love words and am not frightened of big ones. However, I will edit my blogs to make sure I use the simplest, most accessible language possible. If I wouldn’t use a word over coffee with a friend then I won’t use it in my blog.
Respond To your Readers
The, sometimes elusive, element that makes us all human can often be found in our interactions with other humans.
I use this in my blogging strategy in two ways.
First, I always try to respond to the challenges that my readers face in their own businesses.
I make a point of asking my readers (and social media followers) what pains them in their businesses. What problems would they most like to solve? I then respond by researching that problem and (hopefully) coming up with a valuable solution.
Second, once my post is published, I aim to respond to all comments (whether on my blog itself or via social media) that arise as a result of the content that I have published. This is one of the best ways to reassure your readers that there is a human behind your blog - and behind your business.
Do you have any tips that you have found useful when trying to find your blog’s human voice? I’d love it if you would share them with me in the box below!
Take care, Jane x