By Suzza Silver
We’re honored to publish this guest blog from our colleague Suzza Silver, a freelance writer specializing in blogging and content writing. Find Suzza on Twitter @Susan_Silver or visit them on the web at SuzzaWrites.com. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of the writer’s voice.
Writer’s voice is the most important aspect of blogging. While search engine optimization and social media promotion will get you traffic, it is your writing style that will keep people reading your content. Your knowledge, background, and style will separate you from others.
By the end of this piece, you will understand the writer’s voice, as well as the qualities of the writer’s voice that will launch your success in blogging.
You Already ‘Get’ Writer’s Voice
No need to go into a formal definition here. You already know what writer’s voice is, and you are using it daily. Think for a moment. What is the difference between writing an email to your boss and writing an email to your best friend? Or, writing a letter to a relative and sending a text. You write depending on the audience and the medium.
Reading online blog content differs from reading a print medium such as a newspaper. Accordingly, writing voice can differ between digital and physical media. Unlike a newspaper, blogs can contain dynamic content. With digital media, you can even display content on devices differently, depending on whether the digital content is being read on a computer or mobile device. With a blog, you can also add or update content when you want. You can’t edit a newspaper story when you receive new information. Keep that in mind as you are blogging.
Also, consider the medium of blogging compared to other types of writing. You have little time to capture a reader’s attention in the first few sentences of a blog, though you can still write long, well-crafted pieces. Blogging is also often much more informal than other types of writing. How does this change your writing style? You can be more open and intimate with an online audience. Oftentimes, it can be more like you are writing to your best friend than writing to a complete stranger.
Your Writer’s Voice is your Personality
Blogging differs from academic writing in that it allows others to see your full personality. The more you can share about yourself, the more successful you may find your writing. This invites people to relate to your experiences. It is that connection that people are seeking from the content they read.
It can be elating to connect with your audience through well-written content. It is rewarding when you get comments back from people sharing your work. What you write may help someone going through similar life challenges. Don’t be afraid to share your hobbies and causes, not only your research or other work. While you may be a SciCommer, you are also a whole person, and it is okay to share more than science.
Word choice and sentence structure are important, and you can add your personality to your work through both. Words you use can tell a lot about your background, like if you call soda a “pop” or a “coke.” The words you use will also indicate the knowledge you expect from your audience. Sentence structure is also part of your writing style. Take 19th century U.S. novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, for example. Hawthorne, the author of the classic book, The Scarlet Letter, could write a sentence as long as a book page that is grammatically correct. How will you write?
Infusing your content with personality can go beyond blogging. Many of the ideas in this blog post are also applicable to content you would create for social media or platforms like YouTube. As an example, Dr. Raven the Science Maven’s Twitter features a mishmash of topics. One look at her Twitter and you will see that she shares her work, her life, and opinions on a variety of topics.
A Writer’s Voice Exercise
Let’s try a little experiment that will help you develop your writing voice. Go to your computer and open up a blank document, or get out a pen and paper. Pick something to write about, and try the following exercise.
Think about how you talk to your best friend: the one who always listens to your interests without interrupting. They always give their unconditional support. With that in mind, write about your topic. You will have your emotions and passions rising to the surface. These are the raw materials of great writing.
Showcasing Your Writer’s Voice through Writing for Web Audiences
Blogging is unique compared to other mediums of writing. As a form of internet content, blogs are a playground to share your feelings with a self-selected audience. When I say “by self-selection,” I mean that people are looking for content like yours already. They aren’t surprised or have it forced upon them. That is why getting your content on the first few pages of Google is imperative. It is the best free advertising you can receive. You can optimize your blogs using SEO principles to reach the people most receptive to what you have to say who are searching for your topic. If blogging isn’t your thing, you can grow a following on a service like Pinterest or Twitter. Both allow you to write short snippets of text where you can showcase your writer’s voice.
Working on your writing voice can help you keep your website visitors coming back for more. Your writing style is what people will notice when they see search results, because of the snippet (or preview of your webpage) that is shown. That snippet isn’t always taken from the page’s meta-description tag, or the short blurb you write to tell search engines what the page is about. More often than not, the snippet shown in search results comes from the most relevant part of your post. So, how you write matters.
The 5 Qualities of Writer’s Voice That Set you Apart
Your writing style separates you from all others in your niche. This is why you should take your time to develop it. You might feel comfortable right away, or it may take time. You don’t need to rush it. It will evolve with practice, feedback and confidence.
Your writing style will evolve with practice, feedback, and confidence.Tweet
Keep these five qualities in mind as you work on your writing style.
Your writer’s voice is your identity online. With consistency across mediums, that will become branding. It will become your reputation. It isn’t something that happens by accident. Branding takes careful planning and extends your presence by an association with a logo, certain colors, and a memorable tagline as well as other elements.
An authentic writing style is one where you allow yourself to open up to those emotions and passions. This allows people to make a connection with you. You cannot succeed as a blogger as an island. You must build bridges and allow people to walk on them back and forth. Blogging is really a conversation.
Your writing style is also a chance to show off your expert knowledge on the topic. You have the right to be proud of your work and show it off. Take full credit for what you know.
Play to your strengths at all times. You may think that you need to take time to work on your weaknesses. You will get much further to play on your strengths and execute on them. You may have a punny sense of humor, excellent grammar, or a large vocabulary. Use these to your advantage as a writer.
Some of the most viral content out there are opinion pieces. What you share depends on your content strategy. You should have some awareness of the divisiveness of the issues before posting.
The Best Advice is to Just Start Blogging
Have you started your blog yet? There is no better time to start than now. Blogs are great tools for learning, networking, and finding work. When you are blogging, you are telling the world about yourself and who you are. What matters the most to you. This opens up doors. It’s surprising the opportunities that come your way.
You might have to push through a lot of fear.
Fear of being misunderstood.
Fear of making mistakes.
Fear of looking foolish.
All writers went through this at some point (and some still do). Don’t focus on the fears. Focus on developing your style. That’s something you can only do by writing frequently.
Your Writer’s Voice Makes You Unique
In summary, the writer’s voice is how you write. It encompasses things like sentence structure and word choice. It is your sense of humor, the emotions you evoke, and the passions you share with your audience. Ultimately, it is what makes your writing unique and separates you from the pack.
Suzza Silver is the writer with the mathematical muse. Suzza is a freelance writer and blogger with a decade of experience as a content writer. If you would like to learn more about how to blog, read Suzza’s new ebook.