Define Your Voice, Style, & Tone
So let's talk about defining your voice. Your voice is crucial. It is everything it is what is going to make people return or not return. It is what people connect with on a human level, it's what makes you human. The voices is really everything. And these five questions. It should be taped on all around your monitor. With every piece that you write, you need to know who you're talking to. What are you hoping to accomplish specifically with this specific block post? What does your brand stand for is what you're writing, reflective of what you or your brand stands for. And if something is off brand, maybe there's a good reason for it. Maybe maybe there's an exception being made. So at Engadget every Friday the 13th we would suddenly photoshopped Jason head into every image on our post just just to throw it in there. You know, we weren't like a horror side or anything like that. But, you know, we said, you know what? We're gonna be a little bit goofy on Friday the 13th and so that's what...
we did it. If you have any goofy things like that, totally fine. Make it part of your brain. But at least think about it. Need to consider what would be unacceptable or taboo. This is This varies from market to market, of course, And what's your differentiation? So if you if you're reading your post and you're like this sounds a lot like everything else I've read, consider revising it. Let's do a little bit of a workshop here. Uh, I wanna actually ask you guys a few questions and break down some of the some of the voice questions, so it goes from theoretical to actually looking at it. So I want to look at three different categories of of audiences. Early tech adopters versus a bride. Let's say you're a wedding photographer, a designer, and you're designing for a bride in her wedding day versus flood victims. So let's say you run an insurance company and you have a business blawg, and you have to address someone that's been impacted by a flood. So I want to talk about what words we would use any words at all adjectives. What have you when we're talking about early tech adopters versus a bride versus flood victims? So I'm gonna drop a bit 33 columns here, and, uh, you could just shout him out. As you as you think of them. We're gonna put tech over here, all right? The lovely bride here. And if we have any of the chat room, be sure to let me know. And let's but for victims over here. All right, So what are some words that might be in an early tech adopters article? Yeah. Government, future looking. Okay, Talking about the future will be pumped up about what's coming next. Yep. Enabling enabling. That's amazing. So yeah, technology. When we wrote about an engadget we wanted to talk about, what would it enable you to do? So that's a good one. You do perfect. What is new about this product? If it is not new, get it out of here. I don't want to hear about it. Bleeding edge. Oh, very nice bleeding edge anymore for tech. Well, when I think about the people who are creating tech entrepreneurial yes, of course. Startup agile, innovate, disrupt. I love all of those Disrupt, disrupted. That's a term that's actually probably overused. But if you use it right, more power to you. All right, so let's talk about a bride. Let's say you're a photographer where you're a designer and you're working with a bride. That's a client, or you're writing a block post about a wedding you just covered. What are some of the things that would be in there? Beautiful. All right, So you're probably not going to call a technology product. Beautiful men. You may, you may. There are some products that are beautiful, but it's more likely to be found over here. Yep. Timeless. Timeless. I love that. Good, sir. Stunning, Stunning. Cool. Special. Special. Yeah, for sure. We're ecstatic. OK, lovely. Alright, How about flood victims? Support, support, Danger Exhort injure Garger. Oh, yeah, for sure care, but also prevention. Yep, More wet. True enough. So the point of doing this is to show, even though you guys may not right for all three of these audiences from a basic level, you understand that the voice and the tone that you take with all three are gonna be different when you're talking to flood victims. A lot of the excitement that would be in a block post about a wedding will not be in this. It would just be a little bit off. So what I'm talking about what's unacceptable In taboo, you have to consider the audience that they're not really in the state of mind to hear about all the ecstatic insurance products you have, they need your support and hope. Yes, they do need to know how they can better prevent this in the future will be ready for this in the future, you have toe have a level of tact that you might not have toe have on these and again, with tech enabling bleeding edge, this stuff is just gonna be way over the head of either of these. But it's the kind of voice that if you're talking to this audience, you have to speak like this if you ever hope to connect with them. So good job. Very cool. Yeah, you mentioned Brand as, um what you stand for, but also what you sound like. And I was wondering if you're talking about the sound of the language, but that s O for example, Engadget was a brand that talked about technology and the language that we used fit into this category. So, of course, each individual author had their own spin on it, but overall, this would encapsulate the voice of the brand. And same with. If you're blogging for an insurance company, you're going to reference these statements in these kinds of words more than anything else. And to some degree, consistency in your blogging helps to find what that voice is. It usually doesn't change dramatically from post to post if you're writing in in a vertical for a small business. So ah, wedding wedding photographer. You know, I bet if you look back with the last post that our wedding photographer, right, you're gonna find these used quite frequently eso. You have to be careful about saying the same thing to me too many times. But of course, to some of you, you can't avoid it. It is what will define you, and there is benefits to consistency. So let's talk about style and tone. And especially as as this applies to small businesses and marketers, your writing happens now but lives forever. So this is something that you should think about before you publish everything. Try to make your content is evergreen as possible, or if it's in the moment, make sure that it's worthwhile because it's going to define you for many years to come. The Internet is forever. The Internet never forgets. So even if you delete a post, there's still a way to find it in the Internet archives just like that. Lumia, The Nokia Post I I can't believe it's still up there, but even when it is deleted, someone will have a copy of it. So it lasts forever. These kinds of things you need to think about longer term. If you're building a business and you're building a block, that's going to help that business. What you write on day one, somebody can still find five years down the road. You need to make sure that it's going to be reflective of who you are for the long term, the intangibles or what sets you apart in this goes back to voice. If you have ah, opinion and you're confident in what you're saying, that's an intangible thing that no one can really teach. It's your take on whatever it is you're writing about that's slightly different. You just speak about it a little bit differently. You pull things from different authors, but then you're confident enough to say your piece on it. and at Engadget. It took me probably two years before I was confident enough to write in my own voice and look back at the peace and say, you know, this is the best take on this. I'm sure of it because I have enough background knowledge have enough backstory to really put this together into a post that I'm really proud of. So a lot of that just comes with time and being confident in what you're writing. Yeah, So when you start, you had an editor to help you until lead you. But when you start alone, Yeah, I didn't have a ground or something. In that case, your editor had grown right. Health issues? Yeah, we're going to get to that. There's a slide in here, actually, that talks about feedback. But I will cite to answer you in the here and now. Reading it aloud is your is your best at it, and it's going to take some time before you gain confidence in being able to criticize yourself and say, you know, this just doesn't flow very well. I'm gonna put some more time into it, but a lot of this is reaching out. It would six to this the six degrees type thing where I bet someone knows someone who knows someone you probably haven't. Editor within six hops up. You just don't know it someone that has written before, Maybe not professionally, but on a block or for a business and people writers air pretty happy to help other writers to get started. And so we'll get to the feedback, for sure. But it is. It is all about finding someone who can give you honest feedback, because if you have to do it all on your own is quite tough. So even if you don't have a professional editor, they'll be someone in your network of friends that would help you out. So I just wanted to give three quick examples on tone and style. This is a block post by John Gruber, He writes a predominantly Apple related blawg technology blogger, and so you'll see what he did was he covered a headline from Cnet, and then this part here. Translation. That's his writing. It's literally a one sentence block post so they can be a short is one thing. I have read one sentence bog post, but man, you better hope that one line is good. So he says, Translation. The food here is terrible in the portions are so small and you re this is like wow! Wow. So basically, he is talking about his translation of this Amazon fire review. So I mean, it was on fire is a tablet. So it's a technology product, and so see, that's very nice. Take on. It was not good, but good for the price. If you're a prime member, it's very politically correct. Way to say so. Johnson's translation. The food here is terrible on the portions are so small. I mean, that's just brutal honesty. And you read that anything Wow, like that's that's that's pretty sharp. I don't know if I'm gonna return here. I feel like I'm getting yelled at, but that's John style, and people come there to get brutal honesty. And when they show up to John site, you know that you're going to get no nonsense. Blogging. And anything he opines on is going to be direct, and it's going toe. Probably make you laugh because it's so direct and that's his brand. And that's his style. And so if it's not you probably don't want to go here. But if you like, you know what this this aligns with with who I am. I have the confidence to do this because that is differentiated. You don't read that everywhere. And so I returned to his side on a regular basis. If I'm just in the mood for some refreshing opinion on technology question on that from somebody who's just getting started in blogging and trying to find their voice, the question comes from Maria, and her block is called dot Oddity. She's a Swedish textile designer living in Berlin, Germany, and she says that exactly one month ago she opened her block, and she's struggling with how friendly and informal Aiken right from the start. I'm worried to sound too presumptuous thinking that I have a lot of readers or any when you first get started. How does your voice change? As you're just getting started, you assume that there are a lot of people reading it. Yeah, I would you know, no need to be timid, because if you're a timid writer from the start, people probably aren't going to show up. So go ahead and assume. Like I said, you're writing long term. So in five years you're gonna have a 1,000, viewers. You might as well assumed that you have them now, right to the audience you want toe have not the one you do have. So you've probably heard that the job terms like work at the job that you want to have, not the one you currently have the same. The same goes for riding, and it's a good time to bring that up because this post eyes by a friend of mine named Timing. And he's an author, and he has written a couple of books on social habits, social skills and things you can do do to improve your social likability. And when he when he launched his latest book, he had a post that talked about it. But this is a great example of how conversational he writes on using blogging as marketing without being overt. So in this post he talked about The Post continues on where it's just sort of an introspective into his life one day of his life and he just had an epiphany. He learned this skill that he eventually put in the book, so basically one skill that he had in the book. He blew it out into one block post, and then he used that to say, If you like things like this, there's a whole lot of these in my book. So it was just a teaser into what was in his book. This was weeks after the book came out, so maybe you missed that, but you were interested in this. Oh wow. He's got a book that relates to it. This is the kind of extra work that a blogger would go into to get people toe pay attention to the product that he launched weeks ago. So there's a lot of work involved in things like this and blowing it out. But this is a good way to do it. I love this piece by large, and she is also in the bonus material of my favorite authors. She writes for Ah, few opinion column sites, and a lot of her pieces are mostly just day in the life time pieces. And so she writes for editorial properties, where people just come for easy reading and those kinds of publications definitely exist and you see, right down to the quotes of, like, her interactions through the day. It's extremely conversational. A few weeks ago, I ran out to do some errands, so right from the beginning, she's inserting herself into the story. Many of her stories involve her daughter, Zelda, because she's a brand new mom, and basically everything that happens is brand new and totally crazy. And she's She's honest enough to tell you what most parents won't. They don't just run around with their hair on fire, and that's what makes a lot of what her stories come very compelling because they're just very honest, very open things that people can relate with on. She's She's not really afraid of what people are gonna think. So back to that question it I think what the underlying question was is, should I be afraid to maybe offense and one or not beyond their level? Just be super open and honest. People want to know you, and if you try to hide behind any kind of technicalities, they'll don't know it