If you’re looking to attract and keep an audience on your blog, you’re going to need to post consistently. That’s not just in how often you post, though you should come up with a cadence that works around your schedule. The other half of this equation though is what voice and value you bring to readers. After you pick a subject matter to cover — food, finance, biology, etc. — determine in which style you will write. Pick one that makes you comfortable and casual and will elevate the conversation.
I’ve written for many different sites and through all kinds of voices. I’ve read thousands of other posts, too. These are the five styles that stand out as the most viable and most compelling blog voice options to choose from:
This is probably the most popular blog voice today and is the chosen framework for the headline of the article you’re reading right now. It’s not about pressuring people into doing something your way, but about introducing a topic or industry to a new audience. The hope is that through reading and reviewing a list, they will walk away a bit more knowledgeable. Background is essential to making any decision. We all have read these lists in hopes of gaining wisdom on lifestyle decisions, travel plans, professional resources, or something else. As we consume more and more media throughout the day, lists like these have found their place.
Yes, it’s the classic complaint about bloggers: They’re too self-indulgent. Do I really care? The reality is that it’s a fine line we walk when we use the first-person “I.” If you choose to go down this road, I encourage you to consider carefully when and how you interweave it into your stories and your narrative. Use it sparingly and when it makes sense to. Sometimes it is the best option. Other times, however, it might be better to focus on the big ideas and takeaways rather than the experience you had. Bloggers often spend too much time getting to their points and, by then, they may have lost their readers’ attention. Case studies are a better bet in this realm as they put the emphasis on the work and the outcome, and not necessarily on the person who produced it.
Bloggers of all sorts have shown a strong prowess just by getting started to be empowered. We want to post ourselves and to be left to it. While that’s a great attitude to have when getting started, they might soon realize that they don’t know everything. Some of their peers have rescued them with hands-on help, but the Internet is also a great resource for video tutorials that can walk you through your issues. How many of us have watched a YouTube video to learn how to, say, knot a bowtie? Entire lifehack blogs have emerged as saviors when the time comes that we turn to Google for assistance. If you think about it, many food blogs fall into this category; they’re available to you to show you how to properly fry a fish, and more. Whatever your area of specialty or interest, you may want to do step-by-step walk-throughs of the territory. If people see you’re good and you’ve been there, they will trust you in the long-term.
Nobody knows what’s in store for the future, but that doesn’t mean you can’t guess. After all, we’re all just as qualified as the next person to anticipate what’s coming down the pike? Tech blogs in particular go this route with lots of analysis based on conjecture and gossip, and they get rewarded with a lot of traffic for it. Choose an industry that is cutting edge or on the verge of big changes and think hard about what you think is in store for it. It doesn’t really matter if you wind up being right in your projections. Your insights can get the conversation stirring and people excited to engage with you and others in your space. It’s a great way to connect with an existing audience.
As bloggers, we’re naturally opinionated. At least most of us are. Use that for the positive. Talk about areas where you identify needs for improvement. Don’t complain per se, but make suggestions about how lines can be shortened at grocery stores, and so on. Get people thinking about the inefficiencies that we all run into but deal with. Criticism has gotten an ugly name over time. You can help fix that on your blog by focusing on what we can do to make the world a little bit better. Take a lesson from environmental blogs that are helping people read up about what the government and companies are doing. Do your research, summarize your findings, and then inspire people to go out and get active.