What’s the biggest difference between your blog and your competitors’? What’s the main reason anyone reads your blog over all other similar blogs? Beyond small discrepancies between content, publishing frequency, and getting “the scoop” (which can all add up to make huge differences), the voice of a blog is extremely important.
It doesn’t matter how unique, relevant, or indispensable a blog’s content is; if the blog does not read well, it is not worth reading. And an article that “reads well” online may be vastly different from a paper that reads well in an English class. I’ve found a common trend among well-written blogs that often blends them in amidst the crowd: They are too formal.
You don’t have to throw away your copy of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style but feel free to break many of their stablished rules of language. Writing has become much less formal and more conversational since then. Just keep their guidelines of good composition in mind.
Consider the success of Hipster Runoff. While an extreme case of internet-style language (sporadic caps, lots of abbreviation, obvious misspellings) intended for humor, Hipster Runoff is a prime example of a blog with a unique voice that attracts readers. It took chances and paid off.
Perhaps you don’t want such an outrageous style to distract from your content. That’s perfectly fine. But surely you can develop (and probably already have developed) a unique lexicon, style, and/or format for your blog that suits your content. Find a voice that your audience will love, whether familiar or not.
For example, a gaming blog should have gaming lingo and abbreviations like ‘glhf’ (good luck have fun) or ‘gg’ (good game, also meaning ‘I give up, you win’ in some games). Tech bloggers should take delight in incorporating tech memes and other sources of humor into their stats and articles. Otherwise, readers will find that the articles read slowly because they’re boring.
Of course you may want to be unmistakably clear or even serious at times in a subject or post. Even then, you aren’t required to get all “wordy” and passive with your language. When dealing with a lengthy, detailed paragraph, pick up The Elements of Style. See if you can rearrange phrases or omit unnecessary wordings. Try to make your dense topics as vibrant as your playful ones.
Most importantly, consider and reconsider format and medium. While it’s beneficial to keep a consistent form and structure to the posts in a blog, they shouldn’t all be identical. Perhaps one post could be formatted as a letter or list or instruction guide. Maybe a videoblog with you talking and working on your desktop would be better than a
step-by-step description of a Photoshop trick.
As you begin experimenting with the vast amount of possibilities and opportunities available for finding your voice, the look and feel of your blog might gradually change. While some changes may alienate some readers, they will probably attract many more.
Guest Post By: Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.