You know those bloggers who captivate you, no matter what the topic? That’s often because they write with a strong, likable voice. As a blogger, when you develop the right voice, your readers won’t be able to resist sharing your posts. What a great way to boost your following! A weaker voice, on the other hand, will be less compelling—your readers aren’t as likely to stick around.
So, what is “voice”? And how can you develop yours?
Your voice is the way you sound on the page or screen. If you think reading is just about seeing, think again! When we read, most of us hear the sentences in our heads, and the way they sound can deeply affect us. As a pet blogger, you’re creating a relationship with your readers—one that aims to last. So your personality should come across strongly in your voice.
Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or newbie, here are three simple ways of developing a voice that your readers will adore:
Harness the way you speak: In all likelihood, you adapt your speech when talking with different people, like your best friend, your boss, or the nearest police officer. You also speak differently depending on your mood. In the same way, you can shift your blogging voice so that it draws your reader in. Shall we practice?
- Try writing a few lines about a topic of your choice in the voice you’d use when chatting with a friend. Don’t be tempted to dress it up! Generally speaking, a strong voice is an authentic voice, not one that is trying to sound elegant or grand.
- Now do the same again, except imagine you’re being witty with that friend, or reassuring, or enthusiastic.
- Carefully read the snippets you’ve created. These are all voices you can choose from, depending on the mood of your blog. And because you’ve put a strong mood behind them, your audience is likely to feel that.
Compression brings you out: Compression is the act of making your sentences more compact without changing your meaning. The result? Not only do you sound more succinct, but you also bring out the unique rhythms of your voice.
As an example, let’s look at this sentence:
“If you find that your dog prefers a pet sitter, there are many of them around to choose from.”
Now let’s compress it:
“If your dog prefers a pet sitter, there are many to choose from.”
Aha! There’s a stronger voice! Try reading the two examples out loud. Can you hear how the rhythms differ? The second sentence is more rhythmic and less chaotic because it has been compressed to reveal its essence.
Compression can help with longer, more flowing sentences too—practice and see how it brings out your voice.
Read, read, read! There’s nothing like reading for improving your writing! The more you read posts by bloggers you admire, the more you’ll understand what makes their voice captivating—and this can help you to hone your own.
Have you found your authentic voice? What tips do you have to share? Or, if it’s still a work in progress, what questions do you have about developing your voice?
Sue Williams is a writer, editor, and ghostwriter who has been published at Narrative Magazine, Psychology Today, Spirituality & Health, and elsewhere. She loves animals, be they furry, webbed, or winged, and has been a proud parent to three dogs and two cats. Sue, who comes from the UK, now lives in Massachusetts with her partner Jake, and has published an award-winning, young adult novella called, The Winged Hendersons of Welton-on-Sea. Her website: www.suewilliams.co.uk.