How to Find Your Voice and Demand Your Audience’s Attention
4 votes, 4.75 avg. tacos (90% full)

Our course Finding Your Voice can help you pull readers deeper into your marketing message and ultimately increase the success of your website.  If you’re like most people, you probably focus more on the stress of creating “epic content” and totally forget about what most your readers want: interesting and engaging blog posts.  A simple way to do that, is to inject your personally into your content.  

Click the “Step One” button on the interactive version of this post below to get started, or scroll down and read the boring blog version!

**Quick note, this course is a collaborative effort between Josh of CopyEffect.com and NHD

 

Think about a blog you love to read. The writing pulls you in and carries you on a journey. It’s familiar and exciting from the opening paragraph. The constant among all successful writers is clear:

They’ve found their voice.

Your voice is the style, personality and substance you bring to all your writing. It’s what grabs your audience’s attention and establishes a relationship with your readers, making them return for more. It helps with your brand and keeps you on message.

Whether you’re just starting out and struggling to get people to read your writing, or feel you lack consistency in your craft, taking some time to discover and develop your voice is well worth your effort. Overcome this obstacle and you’ll unlock your creative potential. You’ll feel a new sense of freedom and purpose in your writing. You’ll also gain confidence, knowing the words you write reflect your unique point of view.

This course takes you through a series of exercises that will enable you to find and develop your writer’s voice.

 

Define Yourself

how to find your voice

Take a moment to reflect on your personality. What are your defining character traits? Are you gregarious? Funny? Thoughtful? Do you bring the snark or are you that level-headed person with a knack for assessing every angle of a problem? What do other people like about you?

Don’t overthink this, often what pops up first is the most authentic and natural response. It’s what you feel before your left brain has a chance to overanalyze.

We’re going to be using this exercise to get to the heart of your best self; the essence of your writer’s personality.

TIP: If you’re interested in gaining some deeper insights into what makes you tick, take the Strengths Finder 2.0 Assessment Test. Note: An access code will run you $20 bucks, but the insights you take away can be priceless.

Let’s Get Started!

Brainstorm adjectives that describe you to a tee. Getting a sense of who your best self is, is a great place to begin when honing your writer’s voice.

Ask yourself how you can incorporate these traits into your writing. If you’re worried you’re not a strong writer, what other ways can you lend your posts your unique personality?

Ask yourself the following questions

Describe yourself in a few adjectives. Example: witty, energetic, passionate

Ask yourself: ‘Do these traits shine through when I talk to people?’, ‘What about when I write?’
If these traits aren’t in my writing, can I include them in my posts some other way? Example: create calling card videos, infographics, lists, soundtrack

Discover Your Reader

Now let’s think about your ideal reader.

If you already have a clear idea of who you’re writing for, get started with the exercises on the right side of the page.

If you’re still not sure who your target audience is, take the time to figure that out by running through this course on Creating Your Customer Persona. These exercises will help you discover exactly who your work is meant to be read by.

Tip: It’s imperative that you have a clear idea of who your reader is. This will not only determine your success, but your site’s growth potential as well. Remember you’re not writing in a vacuum. You need to marry your writing voice to your audience. Don’t skimp on this step.

Ask yourself the following questions

Give some thought to your ideal reader. What else are they reading? Will they appreciate your point of view, your personality?

First, Let’s Describe your ideal reader

What sites or types of blogs do you imagine your reader follows?

Do you imagine your personality strengths and writing style will resonate with this type of reader?
What can you do to make your writing the best fit for your reader?

Hone Your Voice

bloggvoice

You’ve given some thought to the qualities you want to harness in your writing. And you’ve considered what it is your reader is looking for. Now let’s marry the two with this writing exercise.

Pulling a headline from the news, write a response in your voice. Don’t be afraid to have a point of view. Try your hand at writing a pieces that embodies those adjectives you listed earlier. As a blogger you will find you need to remain on the horizon of news-stories that apply to your niche.

Ask yourself the following questions

Write a response to this news piece harnessing your writer’s voice that you think will resonate with your audience.
Headline: Jesse Eisenberg gave an interview to the Associated Press where he likened Comic-Con to ‘some kind of genocide’.

What is your response?

Who do you admire?

Opposites attract. Or so the saying goes. One problem: extensive studies across numerous fields demonstrate this is false!
We often admire those we aspire to be. And we’re drawn to people who share similar personality traits.

In this step you’ll shed some light on your own character by taking a look at some of your favorite writers, and why you like them.
Example: Anne Lamott, Ramit Sethi, Copyblogger, Tim Kreider. I like these writers, because their writing is snarky, honest, intelligent, and often times hilarious.

Ask yourself the following questions

Think about the blogs, sites, and books you’re drawn to. What is it you like about them? How can you emulate the best parts of these writers while conveying your own unique point of view?

Let’s Get Started!

List 4 blogs or books you enjoy reading. Why do you like them?
How are they alike? What is it about their writing that attracts you?
How is your writing similar? How does it stand out?

Walk the Talk & Write like you talk.

Standard academic conventions zap us of our creative voices pretty early on. These rules have their place, indeed are a solid foundation, but in the internet world nothing will get your audience clicking away faster than being presented with a blog post that looks like a high school essay.

Language is evolving to embrace technology. There’s a new freedom to step outside the confines of old structures; and specifically to embrace writing as we talk.
So throw those rules out the window if it helps get your point across with confidence.

Breaking a rule can enhance the clarity and impact of your writing. So start that sentence with ‘and’, end in a preposition, use bulleted lists, and one sentence paragraphs, even the well-placed four-letter word can make a point like no other.

Leverage little details like this to emphasize certain points in your writing, craft a conversational tone, and allow your voice to shine through.Tip: Think about the the way you sound in conversations with people. Ask yourself, “Is this how I write?”

Need some examples? Check these guys out!

 

Ramit Sethi from iwillteachyoutoberich.com

Striking, bold, easy to read. Ramit isn’t afraid to stir things up and often uses quotes and humor to get his point across.He isa masterful copywriter, stealthily positioning you to buy something down the line with every post he writes.|

Here is a sample of his writing:

RS

Derek Halpern from SocialTriggers.com

Derek seldom writes a paragraph that is more than a sentence long. His quick witted, cutting remarks get straight to the point and let you know he knows what he is talking about.

Here is a sample of his writing:

DH

Dean Rieck from CopyBlogger.com

Copyblogger keeps it simple. Notice how Dean creates a conversational tone by asking questions and then answering them?
This is a great tactic for bringing the reader IN to the conversation.’ label=’these awesome examples of conversational tone.

Here is a sample of his writing:

 

CB

 

Free Writing and the Free Three

We’re going to get writing, freestyle for 3 entire minutes. Yup. The goal here is simple. Produce as much writing as you can. Don’t worry about quality, no one will see this if you don’t show them. It’s all about quantity right now.
By removing the pressures of producing good content, you’ll free yourself to get into the flow. Because the biggest obstacle to doing something is so often just starting.

Pump up your writing muscle with the following tips:

1. Experiment with doing a 3 minute free writing burst first thing in the morning. This is a great way to shake off the cobwebs and get into the writing mindset.
2. Use ‘The Free Three’ as a warm-up before you begin writing a post. The blank page can be daunting and you’ll be amazed at how a brief freewriting session at the start can boost your performance.
3. Free writing is a great way to bust through writer’s block and periods of self doubt. If you’re feeling particularly apathetic on a given day, a quick free writing session can work wonders.

Let’s Practice Free writing!

Don’t censor. Don’t edit. Don’t let your fingers come off the keys until the timer goes off. Just write about whatever pops into your head and get started!

Find Your Writing Voice

Now that you’ve found your voice it’s time to get out there and share it!“,

Get a Set Fresh of Eyes!

eyes

In this step you’ll need something you’ve written recently. It can be something personal, like a journal entry, but it’s better to use a finished piece that’s been visible to the public, like a blog post.

When reviewing their own writing, people tend to do one of two things

1. Become hypercritical- Thinking that they are the worst writer in the world and there is no way anyone would ever find value in their work.
2. Become overconfident- Thinking that their writing is a magnificent gift from the Gods, shouted down from the heavens to enshroud mere mortals in awe and wonder.
Needless to say, you want to avoid both ends of the spectrum. Instead shoot for a happy medium. Look over your chosen work with a constructive eye. Slip into the shoes of your reader as you assess it. Is it well written? Interesting? Original?

Let’s Get Started!

Read something you’ve written recently. Imagine that you’ve just stumbled across the article, and it’s your first time reading through it.

Ask yourself the following questions…

Is this something you would go out of your way to read?
Does the piece make sense? Does it flow well?
Does your voice shine through
What can you do to make this piece more engaging and more you?

Write What You Know

Bloggers often fall into the trap of writing about topics that seem popular or sound smart; even if they don’t really give a damn about those topics. The result? A boring spewing of rhetoric with absolutely no voice.

Who the heck wants to read that?As counterintuitive as it might seem, you should always strive for authenticity rather than popularity. Paradoxically, a well written article gushing with passion will carry you much further than a dense, keyword laden article aimed at riding the wave of a trending topic.

Whenever possible, try to write about topics that you feel strongly about.

TIP: If you want lasting success, always focus on reader experience. Doing your homework is fine, but it should always take a back seat to quality.

Time for some more questions…

List 3 topics you know a lot about:
List 3 topics you don’t know much about, but would like to research:
List topics you can’t stand.
List 5 topics you’re passionate about

Writing When You Don’t Like the Topic

It’s a simple truth that every now and again you’re going to have to write about topics you’re less passionate about.
It’s not about click bait, but about responding to what you’re audience is looking for. You’ve got to stay on the horizon of news coming out of your niche to be successful.

So when you’ve got to write about something that doesn’t fire you up, find ways to infuse your personality in your writing. Can you add a story to liven things up? Can you inject some humor or dialogue? While a trending topic may get you a quick surge in pageviews, a well written, evergreen article will bring in readers for years to come.

Let’s do some more questions!

In the last exercise you listed topics you can’t stand. How would you transform these to make them more interesting to both you and your reader?

How to Find Your Voice and Demand Your Audience’s Attention
4 votes, 4.75 avg. tacos (90% full)
  1. A very thoughtful post as always Hayden,
    Indeed, the greatest challenge to getting anything done is getting started. Its always very difficult to take the first step but if you’re able to gather the courage and start, you’ll often be amazed at how easy and fun the task will become.

    I can really relate to this. I’m one of the people that prefer working first thing in the morning but often times immediately my alarm goes off, i’ll wake up, open my laptop and start looking at the screen not knowing what to do or where to start from and many times, i will just close it and go back to bed. Not any more though.

    One other person i also admire his writing style is John Morrow of boostblogtraffic dot com. He’s such an expert when it comes getting readers attention. Whenever I’m reading his posts, i always feel as if I’m communicating with him face to face and that’s the idea.

    Write with empathy and your readers will always see themselves through your writing which will of cause make them to stick around for long.

    And yes, I’ve been following Ramit recently and I’m really enjoying his writing too.

    Thanks for sharing Hayden.

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