Authenticity is the cornerstone of good blogging.
We build authenticity when we have a real focus. Blogging, as many of you know, is not just a thing of afternoons. Or, a pastime to while away the hours. It’s work. Even those who consider their blog a hobby recognize the need to be authentic in their writing and sharing.
This question of how much of yourself to share on your blog, and how much passion to put in your content, is not new. It’s been discussed at blogging conferences and in discussion groups for 10 years or more. Passionate topics are by nature open to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. This sometimes causes bloggers to skirt the issues, worry about who they are offending, or get so blatant, they attract trolls.
For us, for the pet bloggers I know, being truly authentic is a major purpose for blogging. To share honest, open thoughts with a like-minded community. But how much is too much? Where do you draw the line? Is it necessary to reveal your very soul? If your content is honest but not authentic, are you missing out on something? Perhaps. It’s a fact that the web is unforgiving, and if you’re writing just to write, without bringing some of your own soul and personality to the content, you’re not being authentic and you’ll be called on it.
I’m not going to define authenticity with a dictionary quote. Let’s agree that authenticity is a focus of truth and honesty, with a dab of personality thrown in. In this blog post, today, I want to talk about Your Blogging Voice: The Struggle To Be Authentic. Because blogging is voice and and voice creates authenticity.
What is Voice?
Writers are exposed to the concept of voice early on. Voice is the difference between…the NY Times and Time Magazine. Between my little pet blog, Scratchings and Sniffings, and this blog, on the BlogPaws site. Non-writers tend to think of voice as sound, words, writing: the tools we use to communicate. In reality, voice encompasses everything you are. Your mannerisms as you carry on conversations or share Facebook posts, your shoes, your smile, the way you tell a joke. All of these things are part of your voice and they tell the viewer, listener, or reader a great deal about you.
In the world of blogging, especially pet blogging, we are passionate about our stories, our message. We are passionate about animal health and welfare. It shows in our blog design, in our paragraph structure, and in our writing. It is our voice.
Being authentic to that voice means writing to your audience, and sharing images that are appropriate to your message. The authenticity moves on to social when you use bit.ly links or other trackable code to share. Your voice shows your authenticity when you write on a daily or weekly basis, sharing your personal and professional messages, loud and clear.
The trick is to be true to yourself. That’s what authentic means. It’s one of the best ways to build influence, by the way.
How Does Voice Affect Success?
At BlogPaws, our Pet Blogger Influencer Network attracts bloggers from all walks of life. Yes, they are all pet bloggers of a sort. Some are not solely devoted to the topic of pets and others are. When we look at the needs of our Influencer Network, we look at voice and professionalism. As mentioned above, voice encompasses blog design, overall focus, and how/what the blogger writes.
Our goal is to support bloggers who want to be better at what they do, to improve on their work, and ultimately to be compensated for their efforts online, via their blogs and social media. In that goal, we teach a focus on brand identity. Your brand is how you act, look, feel, and share. And that’s a part of your voice. Your authentic voice, which drives not only what you do, but what we can do for and with you, when clients come to us with marketing campaigns.
Understand that your voice in its authenticity will drive the marketing campaigns we can include you on. It’s not a criticism of you or your blog. It’s a desire for the client to work with like-minded folks who have been identified as influencers.
How Do You Maximize The Power of Your Voice?
Let’s complete that sentence … how do you maximize the power of your voice and grow your influence? It’s simple, really. You follow the advice here:
- Learn to be true to yourself and the voice that drives your work.
- Build education into your daily focus.
- Listen to others, and give their voice the respect it deserves.
- Qualify your opinion–yes, that means citation and recognition. Do not quote, borrow, or use other people’s content without attribution.
- Create consistent content. Consistent both in amount (daily or weekly, whatever works for you) and tone (your voice needs to be recognizable across your work).
- Perform work for hire accordingly. This one is easy, isn’t it? It’s called, follow the rules. I believe we all learned that in second grade, so it should be a natural by now.
A mentor of mine once told me that people will not do what’s right, or what you ask them to do, if it’s not necessary. Necessary gets done.
I find it necessary to understand voice and the power that comes with it. I find it necessary to improve my voice by listening to my community and by asking for feedback. I find it necessary to create influence over time, by putting the work needed into my writing. I have found that when I pay attention to the necessary things, my authentic voice comes through loud and clear.
Are you authentic? Is voice something you understand or something you struggle with?
Need help being authentic or using your voice effectively? Our Social Learning Community can help with that. Join it.
Yvonne DiVita is a Co-Founder of BlogPaws. She is dedicated to storytelling and the human-animal bond. When not working on BlogPaws, she writes at Scratchings and Sniffings and The Lipsticking Society. You may contact her at [email protected].