A lot of people wonder how they can create a Breakout Blog that will help build platform and connect them to their audience. This series on Blogging Tips looks at ways to maximize blog performance to reach these goals.
At my last SCBWI meet up, I led a discussion on Social Media, and inevitably the conversation turned to how some people struggled with creating and maintaining a blogging voice. The argument was that to stand out, they needed an edge–to be super witty or comical or fill-in-the-blank in order to be memorable and attract readers.
The truth is, the only thing a blogger needs to be is GENUINE. That means being yourself! Stina Lindenblatt and Jan Markley were quick to point out that if you try and be something you aren’t, it will show in the posts. Why? Because eventually keeping up the facade will take a toll. Crafting posts will feel like work…and it will leak into your blogging style. If your heart isn’t in it, readers will know.
Trust in yourself that the only voice components you need to bring to your blog are passion and honesty. Offer these two things & your blog will be a natural extension of who you are…and draw readers who identify with you.
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Happy Blogging! 🙂
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.
maine character says
This makes the idea of starting a blog less scary, so thanks.
It also reminds me of this quote from Conan O’Brien:
I met Johnny Carson at a function, and he said, “Just be yourself. That’s the only way it can work.”
Cynthia Chapman Willis says
I’m really late on commenting here, but I just love this post. Such great advice, Angela. It really is easy to veer away from being true to ourselves. This is a great reminder. Thanks!
Angela Ackerman says
Thanks everyone for the great comments. I know this is a logical thing, a simple tip, but there’s always so much pressure on us when we do anything that puts us ‘out in the face of the world’, isn’t there? The best course is to always stay true to who we are in all that we do. 🙂
Tanya, if I had cats, my hubby would murder me for dressing them up. He has a hard enough time with my dog’s pink camo hoodie that she wears when we get her groomed in the winter, LOL.
Tanya Reimer says
There’s a certain magic that comes off when we write. Just like when we face to face.
Really, every blog is unique, and that’s what makes it so much fun! Being true to our own inner voices and talents means we get to meet the cats behind the bikinins.
Damn that’s a funny photo btw!!! hahahaha!!!! All they’re missing is the catnip. (did you dress your cats up like that?) LOL
Natalie Aguirre says
This is so true. And it helps to have a theme of how you’re trying to help others like you do on your blog.
Susanne Drazic says
Clover Autrey says
Great point. You really can tell a difference in how the posts come off.
Susan Flett Swiderski says
Before I started reading blogs, and started writing one myself, I thought relationships in the blogging community could only be superficial, at best. I mean, we never actually MEET, right? But the truth is the best bloggers are honest and vulnerable … the very same qualities most of us seek in our face-to-face friends. So it only stands to reason that bloggers can and do become friends. We do care about each other. But as you said, the only way this can happen is if the real you is exposed on your blog. (um, figuratively, of course …)
Lisa Gail Green says
Awwww, so I have to get rid of the sequins and glitter? And I just rented the elephant… He he he. Kidding! I agree 1000%. There’s no way you could keep in the game for the long haul unless you were being true to yourself and actually enjoying it.
This is so true. Being myself in my blog posts means I have fun writing them. And I think you’re right — otherwise, people eventually see through it.
Martha Ramirez says
Cute pic. So very true!!
Lydia Sharp says
Love. Thanks for the reminder. 😀
This goes along well with the article I’m currently working on for Writer Unboxed that will be published on July 29. Would you mind if I quoted this: “The truth is, the only thing a blogger needs to be is GENUINE. That means being yourself!”, and included a link?
Great advice!! I try and write from the heart in my blog. I think it helps not to obsess about what you’re doing, just to let it come naturally.
Matthew MacNish says
I used to try to be very careful about what I said, because I didn’t want to offend anyone, but then I realized I might miss out on really connecting with someone who would truly get me. So I said eff it and started exposing my own brand of crazy.
Jeff King says
Great point… thx.
Short, sweet, and to the point. What a refreshing reminder, Angela!
Carrie Butler says
I tend to follow blogs that I don’t secretly mock by doing the robot dance. 😉 I’ll take a genuine, “learning” post over a cold, professional monologue any day.
Stina Lindenblatt says
I’m going to have to link this post to several RWA Yahoo loops. This series will answer the frequently asked questions that pop up all the time.
So true. Blog about your likes, dislikes and what interests you and don’t try to be someone or something that you are not.
Good advice, Angela!
Unfortunately I’m genuinely busy lately so my blog has suffered with fewer posts in the summer. But I’m okay with that!!
Sarah Pearson says
When I started blogging, I’ll admit I knew squat about ‘platforms’ so I just wrote about what interested me and hoped it would interest other people too. Too late to change now thank goodness 🙂
Angela Ackerman says
See Becca, and I would say that blogs that are exceptionally funny or sarcastic or fill-in-the-blank voice-y are successful because that’s actually a part of the person’s genuine personality, not a ‘forced voice’.
When you write your blog in a way that lets you be yourself, I think that’s where the magic is. When you try to force funny or sarcasm or anything else, that’s when things break down over time–pretending to be something you’re not takes it’s toll.
Thanks everyone for the comments!
Very true! Why would anyone want to be something they’re not when who you are is so unique!
Becca Puglisi says
Oh my gosh. That picture is so…wrong, lol. I completely agree that too many people try to pull off the ‘on-line persona’ and it almost always falls flat. I will say, though, that it’s a really cool thing when you can make that work. I think of Miss Snark and some of the other current blogs where the blogger’s voice is so unique; even though I know it’s not real, I’m still sucked in. So for those of you out there who can do it, (in my best Tim Gunn voice): Make it work! For the rest of us, this is awesome advice. Keep it real, people!
Brilliantly put, and totally awesome picture! You’re right, what keeps readers coming back is the genuine personality that shines through. Without it a blog is cold and sterile and readers will pick up on that.
The Pen and Ink Blog says
Excellent advice. We try to follow it. We are always ourselves. It’s easier with a multiple personality.
erica and christy says
Last week we asked on our blog what our readers want to hear from us and they were almost unanimous that they want to know about us. And then we realized that’s exactly what we want from our other blog friends – to know more about them, their writing lives, and what we have in common (or not!).
(and haha, Susan – I read the post and didn’t even notice the pic until I saw your comment. Those are some well-trained, patient cats!)
Rachna Chhabria says
Angela, this is wonderful advice. I too believe that we have to be ourselves: no pretense, just genuine honesty.
So true! The authentic voice comes through regardless of what kind of facade the blogger tries to create. If people like the voice, they follow the blogger, if not, they don’t. It’s futile to try to “make” people like you!
Dawn Malone says
Great advice for experienced bloggers as well as for those who are new. Thanks for sharing!
This is really important to remember. And sometimes, being an author of books for young kids, it’s important to remember that even though you are being “yourself” online, you must be cognizant of what you put out there for kids to read.
Ryan Sullivan says
It is important to be genuine, but I think it’s also important to present well. Some of the blogging voice comes from your choice of words — will you use a light cuss if you’re frustrated? Will you just throw it out there? Will you apologise for it? Is your writing stylistic or colloquial?
I think a great deal of ingenuity comes from the kinds of posts you write. If I were to throw something out there about science-fiction or paranormal fantasy — well, that wouldn’t be much help, since I focus on high/epic/heroic fantasy.
My blog has many posts about various aspects of writing and fantasy writing, but most of all it is a documentation of my struggles and triumphs with my first draft, namely trying to get the darn thing done.
Angie Cothran says
Wonderful 🙂 Why isn’t this truth something we automatically know?
Bish Denham says
Oh good, that means I can still wear my pjs, eat my cereal, and scratch in strange places while I’m blogging.(Hey…I’m being myself!)
Besides I’m too old to change now.
Michelle Gregory says
i think the same can be said for writing fiction.
Clarissa Draper says
And that’s why your blog is wonderful! Sometimes it’s difficult to find material for each post but when I’m excited about a subject, it just rolls off my fingertips.
Laura Pauling says
Definitely be yourself but I think there’s much more to it than that. Can’t wait to read the rest of your series! For me, this is a hot topic right now as there are varied opinions out there.
Ava Jae says
Angela you are so right with this! My favorite blogs hold a special place in my heart because of their unique voices.
Susan Kaye Quinn says
OMG that picture….I can’t look away! Ack!
Wait, there was a post?
And YES! The further I get down the path of writing, the more I realize the very truth of the idea that you must be yourself.
SP Sipal says
LOL, Julie! We must have posted at the same time, and I see we have the same exhausting thoughts! Great minds. 🙂
SP Sipal says
You’re so right, Angela. You have to be genuine, not only because falseness will show through, but also because if you’re going to make your blog a success, you’re going to be at it a long, long time. Weaving a constant pseudo appearance would be exhausting…at least for me! 🙂
Julie Musil says
Angela, this is excellent advice. I’ve discovered that this is a great way to build a blog AND the best way to live life in general. The other way would be exhausting!