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Finding your own voice in your writing is hard enough, but finding the right one for your company’s blog is another thing altogether. You’ve got goals and strategy to take into account, you might have several different writers creating content for you, and in the early days you might not even know who your readers are yet.
Based on my own experience and keeping an eye on company blogs I’m impressed by, I’ve collected a few tips to help you work out what kind of voice you should use to build up your company’s blog.
Don’t be afraid to show personality
Something I’ve had to work at a lot has been my hesitance to talk in first person, or mention my own thoughts and experiences. It took a long time for me to be comfortable writing in a more personal tone like this. My tendency had always been to go for a “non-fiction book” style: writing from a third-person, unbiased point-of-view as much as possible.
A nice thing I’ve learned about blogging is that even when you’re writing content for a company blog, readers tend to enjoy seeing your personality shine through . For a company blog in particular, it can be difficult for readers to feel a connection to the writer.
A great example of this is the Eat24 blog:
The Eat24 team uses a lot of humour in their blog posts and they open up about how they run the company. The personality of their writing hits you as soon as you start reading.
Let each contributor’s personality shine through
A company blog takes on a life of its own when you have multiple writers working for you . While you can have general guidelines of the kind of voice you want for you blog, allowing each writer’s personality to shine through can work really well. Different writers naturally have different styles and readers seem to enjoy getting to know the people behind a blog.
There are lots of examples of company blogs with various authors. One of my favorites is the Wistia blog:
The Wistia blog has an ongoing series called “Non Sequitur Fridays,” where a team member gets to write about something unrelated to the company. This is a great way to help Wistia’s readers get to know the people behind the company and connect with them on a more personal level.
The Customer.io blog had a great example of this recently, too:
Customer.io’s new marketing manager, Nora, wrote a great post about writing emails people will read, and started it with a personal intro and a photo of herself. This made the post seem all the more valuable as I read it, since I could keep Nora’s name and face in mind. Rather than a company telling me how to write emails, the post read more like a list of personal suggestions based on experience.
Keep in mind your values and your goals
It’s easy to let your writing get away from you as you work on a post and slip into old habits. For me, that’s falling into a bland, third-person writing style that focuses on facts alone.
One way I keep an eye on my writing voice as I work through a post is to remember these two things:
- The values of my company
- The goals of my blog
For instance, when I write for the Ooomf blog I keep in mind our goal that each post should be about something that’s interesting enough that I would want to tell all my friends about it as a reader. This is one of the ways I choose topics to write about, but it also helps me to ensure the tone is just right.
Study blogs you admire
The second-best method I’ve found for tweaking and improving the voice behind a company’s blog (behind practice, which I’ll talk about next) is to learn from what others do. Using Flipboard, Feedly, Twitter or Facebook, subscribe to blogs that you admire and keep an eye on the way they develop their blog’s voice and keep it consistent.
The Evernote blog, for example, does a great job of getting to the point quickly and sharing useful tips and news. It’s a good example of a blog full of utility, especially for Evernote users.
Practice, practice, practice
The best way I’ve found to develop and improve the voice for your blog is to simply work at it a lot. You may not know what kind of voice your blog will have when you get started, but you won’t work it out by talking about it or having meetings. Writing more posts for your blog is the best way to understand what works and what doesn’t, and what feels right for your company.
An example I like to reference to back up this idea is the Buffer blog, which has pivoted three times to get to where it’s at now. Originally the Buffer blog was super-focused on Twitter tips only. After almost a year, the blog pivoted to have a more broad social media focus. Six months later it expanded even more, tackling topics like customer happiness, lifehacking and writing. It now has 700,000 readers a month.
If you’re unsure about what your blog’s focus should be, or what your voice should sound like, then rest assured – you’re not alone. Get writing and don’t be afraid to change your strategy as you go.
Feature image via Fortune Live Media on Flickr.
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