guest post from Abby M. Herman, Write Solutions
From website copy to social media posts to video content, we are inundated with information every day. It’s hard for business owners to stand out. Developing a clear, distinctive voice can help capture your ideal audience and keep them coming back for more.
But what is voice? I mean we’re talking about written content, right? Voice isn’t just about what you sound like when you speak. Voice is how your personality comes through in what you write—and what you say—online. It’s who you are and it’s something your readers should be able to recognize when they read your content (or listen to a video blog).
Think about the friends whose company you enjoy. Your friend Maria is analytical and thinks things through—telling a story, with little deviation, from beginning to end. And Jessica speaks from her heart, which sometimes involves an f-bomb dropped here or there (which Maria wouldn’t dream of doing). Your friends’ personalities make them interesting and who they are. You wouldn’t want them to be anyone else.
The same goes for your target audience. You have ideal clients for a reason—because they are the people you’d love to work with. And they follow you because not only are you an expert in your field, you also offer value and content in a way that speaks to them. Maybe you’re a by-the-books accountant with an affinity for family. Or you’re a personal trainer with a very specific coaching style. Your clients come back to you because you do a great job and you have a personality that meshes with theirs. So when they’re digesting content from you, whether it’s a 400-word blog, a short Facebook post or a YouTube video, it’s important to be yourself and let your personality shine through. Here are some tips for doing just that:
1. Free Write
Remember back in grade school when your teacher forced you to journal daily? She had good reason! Free writing is one of the best ways to find your voice and have it show in your writing. Carve out a bit of time each day, or whenever you have a must-use topic, and write about whatever comes to mind—an upcoming project, the things that drive you batty in your daily work or things that every client of yours needs to know.
2. Ignore the Rules
Yep, you heard me: Rules were made to be broken. Within reason, of course. As you free write, don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Simply get your thoughts down on paper, then worry about making them readable later.
3. Record Yourself
If you want to find your true voice, try writing like you talk. Record yourself spouting off information for your next blog piece. Then transcribe the information. The end result is a true representation of your voice.
4. Have Inner Dialogue
Someone asked me the other day if I make up stories in my head during my daily run. My initial response was, “Um. No. That’s weird.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I do. I worked and reworked some of the content for this article during a run, then zipped home and jotted down my ideas. You don’t have to be a runner to use this trick. Try walking through your next blog article or social media post while cooking dinner, driving through the carpool lane, going for a walk or watching your child in dance lessons. Think about what you might write and the words you might use. When you have a free moment, get those ideas down on paper.
5. Write What You Know
It’s hard to write about something you don’t know much about. That’s why I love to write about writing, health and fitness, education, family and pretty much anything fun. That’s what I love! I write about a lot of other topics as well, but it takes me a bit longer. When you’re writing about your business, you’re writing something you’re passionate about.
6. Hire it Out
On the other hand, it can be difficult to find your voice and then put your words on paper in just the right to capture your audience’s attention. Professional writers and bloggers are highly skilled at finding your voice for you—and doing all the dirty work (writing) too. Consider seeking out some help. Some bloggers offer consulting services to help you put together topics for you while others will gather topics, find your voice, then do the writing for you!
No matter where your voice comes from, be true to your business and your audience. Be yourself and let your personality shine—your clients will love you for it!
Abby M. Herman is a small business consultant and content marketer based in the Phoenix area. She knows not every small business owner is a born writer and works with them to develop online content for websites, blogs and social media that targets their audience and sells their product or service. For the client who develops hives while writing, she’ll take the reigns and