Anyway, I wanted to reiterate some of the main points I made in the presentation - all about putting voice into your blog. The title, to be accurate, was "Let's blug: Putting the "u" into blogging"; I wanted to talk about how it's not just enough to have a cool design and post regularly, but that also the way you write is still a really vital part of blogging. I'm a "words girl" at heart, and the words of a blog are important to me, and I want them to be important to other bloggers, too.
My minimalist slides below will give you an overview of what I spoke about ... more details underneath.
- Edenland - particular Eden's posts on her World Vision sponsored visit to Niger, Africa - lots of honesty (a good way to have "you" in your blog, but not the only way)
- Life in a Pink Fibro - from multi-talented freelance writer Allison Tait, and I must admit to calling her the Seinfeld of blogging because some posts are kind of about nothing but I am utterly compelled to read them - that's voice!
- Why Evolution is True - recommended by a male friend when I realised the target demographic of all the blogs I'd chosen was women - but I agree thoroughly with his recommendation.
- Aussie on the Road - one of many travel blogs that sound like someone's just having a chat with you - a good way to develop a voice.
- Styling You an award-winning blog in Australia and actually makes me want to read about fashion despite having no interest in the topic - that's voice, too!
- Parenting, with Crappy Pictures (I wonder if Amber realised that using "crappy" would mean people would have to exclude her from G-rated days?) - one of the "voiciest" blogs I know!
- Jeff Goins, Writer - Jeff writes a lot about blogging and even includes some great posts on voice now and again.
- Free-Range Kids - I've seen a few videos of Lenore speaking and she writes exactly like she talks - and gets her (important) point across.
Hmm. I'm sure there are a stack more great blogs that I eliminated from my presentation for various reasons, but they fail to emerge for me right now, so I'll come back and add to this list later. In the meantime, I summed up the day with a list of "secret rules" to get some voice into your blog, and I think they're worth repeating:
- Blog for yourself - not trying to impress, and don't expect everybody to like you - thinking it's a popularity contest will severely limit your ability to have a natural voice
- Write what you'd like to read - if I read over my post the next day and actually enjoy it and want to keep reading, I figure I'm doing OK
- Blog like you talk - without the ums and aahs - but if you are stuck writing too formally then try to imagine you are just on the phone telling a friend all about the topic, then write it down like that
- Break grammar rules (but know them first) - a good rule of thumb for many kinds of writing but works especially well for blogs
- Read your posts out loud - this will help you catch posts that sound too stilted or formal
- Don't be too slang, and don't be too formal - don't write like it's a text message, but it's not a business report either
- Be honest, be daring, be a little afraid - if you're anxious when you hit publish you're probably on a winner
- Have your own style (format, word choice) - make an effort to be consistent with how you write so that it sounds like "you"
- Write from the heart, no matter what topic - you can be passionate about dishwashers if you want to be!
If you've got any examples of your own of blogs with great voice then I'd love to hear about them, so please leave the URLs in the comments below.