How to Blog: Finding Your Voice in Blogging
This How to Blog series is quickly coming to an end. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, hasn’t it? You can catch up on this series by setting your very first blog goals, planning your personal branding, writing a mission statement, and creating your custom logo. Want to set up a blog on Blogger or WordPress? We covered that too!
Last week I asked my facebook community what they wanted me to cover, and one of the hot topics was finding your voice and keeping it. I have to be honest, this one is tough for me because I feel like I’m still finding my voice. I’m still discovering who I am as a writer, and I’m constantly refining my brand.
Today I will share with you the intentional steps I’ve taken to discover, embrace, and polish my writing voice. Many of the tips I learned while taking Jeff Goin’s 12 week, self-paced e-course: Intentional Blogging. It’s a free course and I highly recommend it!
For those who read my post on personal branding, some of the questions will sound a bit repetitive. For me, who I am as a writer and who I am as a brand go hand-in-hand, so many of the questions are applicable for the development of both my writing and my brand.
Finding Your Voice: Being Heard
I like to think of it like this: the internet is like a huge flea market or bazaar, with companies and individuals competing for your attention (and money) each time you step foot on the internet. At a flea market sellers will do anything and everything to get your attention, from complimenting your (possibly crazy) hat to offering free samples of their “world famous” chocolate squares.
When navigating hundreds of booths, the ones that really stand out are the ones that offer one of two things: truly unique, exquisite, and quality product, or very personal, creative, and authentic selling strategies. The most successful sellers offer both.
Since the internet is sort of like an online bazaar, I understand that my little space is constantly vying for attention, and is competing with some pretty impressive (and sometimes intimidating!) businesses and individuals. In the forefront of all of my writing are these two goals:
- Unique, quality content.
- Creative and authentic marketing.
Finding Your Voice in Blogging: What do You Want to Say?
The first step I took in finding my voice was to find out what I really want to say. The internet is flooded with information, websites, bloggers, and social media engagement, and I had to be intentional to identify what exactly it is that I want to communicate through my circle of online influence.
I have a variety of interests and passions, many of them you’d never know about from reading my blog. Part of finding my voice required that I identify what I don’t want to say.
As I considered what it is I want to communicate, I asked myself these questions:
- What am I passionate about?
- What story/cause/experience is closest to my heart?
- How can my unique story make a difference?
- What do I want to accomplish in my blog posts?
- What is the goal of my writing? Can it be measured? How will I measure it?
- What part of me do I want to reflect on my blog?
- When someone reads A Royal Daughter, what do I want them to take away?
These questions helped me establish goals for my writing, and continue to help me refine the voice with which I write and hold me accountable to remain focused on content that reflects my passion and heart.
Finding Your Voice in Blogging: For Whom Do You Write?
When I relaunched my blog last January I did so with the understanding that as A Royal Daughter grows I will change as a writer and as a person. Growth requires change. And one of the big changes I’ve had to adjust to is the fact that I don’t actually write just for me.
While I do write what I want to write, and what I think and hope will be encouraging, as I write I do so with you in mind. Those of you who bless me so much by reading what I have to say, I keep you in mind with every post I write.
As I continue to polish my voice, I revisit these questions:
- Who am I writing for? (Gender, age, lifestyle, family status, etc.)
- Why is she here? (Is she hurting? Is she wanting to be entertained? Is she hopeful? Is she lonely? Is she in need of something that I can offer?)
- Why would she come back? (Because she relates to my story? Because I’ve educated her about something and she wants to know more? Because she likes me? Because she doesn’t like me and she wants to snark?)
- Why would she share my content? (Because I speak for her? Because she found it helpful? Inspiring? Hurtful? Encouraging? Weird? Quirky?)
These questions help me determine what to write about, and how to formulate the words I want to say. They also help me “keep it real” when I start to worry about numbers and growth. I have to keep in mind that what I say isn’t for everyone, it’s not for the masses. Rather, it is for a specific target audience and sometimes that means that engagement might be what I wish it would be.
Finding Your Voice in Blogging: Who Are You?
Whether you’re settled snugly in to a specific blogging niche, or more “whatever goes” with your content, having a good understanding of who you are as a person will help you understand who you are as a writer. As I’ve become more intentional with my writing, I have become more aware of who I am “in real life.”
These are the questions I asked to help me better understand myself:
- What are my strengths? Weaknesses?
- How do I describe myself in 3 words? 5 words? 1 sentence?
- How do I spend my free time?
- Who and what am I influenced by?
- What do I sound like when I talk? Does my writing reflect my speech?
- What do people like about me? (And don’t be afraid to ask them!)
- What do people dislike about me? (Don’t be afraid to ask this either!)
- How to I “recharge?” Do I refresh and renew by being with people, or drawing inward?
These are great questions to ask yourself on occasion to help you be more aware of who you are and how you interact with others. For me, they also served as a challenge to grow and mature as a woman of integrity and honor. There’s nothing like identifying your weaknesses and what people dislike about you to humble you and challenge you to grow and change!
Finding Your Voice in Blogging: When You Have Nothing to Say
Sometimes I feel like I have very little to offer the blogging community, and I end up taking time off from blogging. That’s okay.
It is okay to take a step back and reevaluate the direction in which you’re headed. It is okay to take time off to decide if it is worth it to you. It is okay to not write when you don’t have anything to contribute. It is okay to have writer’s block, to be too busy with your job, family, or friends, and to be burned out by blogging.
All of those are natural occurrences in blogging, and I think the best way to approach those times is to embrace them and enjoy the time off.
Coming back to blogging after a hiatus may be a challenge. I know when I’ve taken time off I have worried about whether or not anyone will still read my blog. I’ve wondered if the decreased pageviews will affect my earning potential. I’ve considered whether I should address the reason for my online absence.
The following tips are simple suggestions, they’re not meant as must-do strategies for making a come back, they’re simply the steps I take when I’ve been absent.
- Stop worrying about not posting. If you’re concerned about your readers, a short simple post explaining that you are taking time off from blogging will give them a head’s up that you won’t be around for a little while. You don’t have to explain yourself if you don’t want to!
- As you look towards returning to blogging, write and schedule posts about two weeks in advance. This will give you the opportunity to not worry about coming up with tons of content once you re-enter the blogging community. Some of those scheduled posts can be saved for a later time when you experience writer’s block.
- When you return, make sure your readers know it. Share it on social media, announce it in your blog posts, and maybe send a special e-mail to your subscribers.
- Engage, engage, engage. You have just taken time off from engaging your community, so now is prime time to get back to being intentional. You might say something like this on Facebook: “I’m back from a two week blogging break, what did I miss? Share your favorite post over the past two weeks so I know what’s been going on with you!” These types of questions will let your readers know that you’re concerned with what’s happening with them, and as you read their posts and comments, you’ll get a feel for who your core community is.
- Reevaluate your purpose and priorities. You just took time off from blogging! Why? Did you enjoy your time off? Were you more or less stressed when you weren’t blogging? Was your family life better or worse while you were offline? Did you feel more or less fulfilled while you took a break? These questions might help you determine if you really want to make a comeback.
Blogging isn’t for everyone, and it is okay if you decide it isn’t for you. Your value isn’t found in your blog, and your influence on the lives of others doesn’t require you to blog. If you find that you need to step away, know that it is okay and you have in no way failed at blogging. At the end of the day, choosing to invest your time in family, home, job, or friends, is a BIG WIN, and an honorable decision.
Resources + Engage
Tell me about your blog voice!
- Who is your target audience?
- How does your writing reflect you as a person?
- What do you do when you you have writer’s block?
- What actions have you taken in finding your voice in blogging?
Are you ready to be an inspiration? (To find out the purpose of the Desire to Inspire community, please read this post.)
- Please visit the others who link up and leave kind, encouraging words for them. This is about encouraging, inspiring, and building up one another.
- If you tweet about linking up, please use the hashtag #desiretoinspire so we can find each other.
- Link up your own quality, read-worthy posts.
- Focus on how you can be an inspiration, not what inspires you.
- You do not have to follow ARD, but of course I’d love it if you would.
- Link up your specific post, not your blog’s homepage.
- Please do not link up giveaways, blog/social media hops, or shops.
- Please link back to A Royal Daughter in your post (using the button below, or a text link back) or add this linky party to your linky party list.
- If you would like to join the Desire to Inspire Facebook community or group Pinterest board, please e-mail me: royaldaughterdesigns(at)yahoo(dot)com.
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