One of the most fundamental keys to successful blogging is to find your voice. How you sound to your readers, whether that’s the overall tone or the content of your message, is central to becoming a blog superstar. Or at the very least, a blog that has repeat and sustained visitors.

Finding your voice though, in a virtual sea of bloggers and writers, isn’t easy. Especially when we get all wrapped up with wanting to sound legit. One of the biggest concerns I hear from blog consulting clients is that they want to be taken seriously. This means not only posting the right way, or even following the 9 Secrets to Successful Blogging, (which you should do too, btw), but also sounding like you know what you’re talking about.

Blogging Find Your Voice Infographic - ohksocialmedia

This doesn’t mean you should sound like a douche and claim to be THE ONLY source for relevant information on your given topic, but rather sound like the best YOU that you can be. To explain how to do this, here are 3 key ways to find your voice that will lead you to successful blogging.

1. Find Your Voice: Define your Avatar (aka your ideal audience).

Think of this as a cooler version of Word of Warcraft; You get to idealize *the* perfect reader. I’m talking name, age, background, marital status and what he/she/they are looking for. The reason for this is two fold.

  • A. To help you focus your writing. It doesn’t matter if half your audience isn’t this imaginary person, because your content is so valuable that people of all shapes and sizes will flock to you. But, writing as though you are speaking to one very specific individual will set your tone, language, and content in ways that writing to a large crowd just won’t. Know who you’re writing for, aim to reach that person, and you’ll stand apart from the masses.
  • B. Encourage loyal readership. You can’t write for everyone and you’re bound to alienate particular readers no matter what you do. Take my food blog, for instance. I tend to curse. Often. And I’ve had people un-follow me because of it. But because my ideal audience is a 34 year old, sassy and educated woman who grows her own veggies, wants to create community with other real food minded individuals and is politically aware, it makes sense for me to write this way. Plus it’s endeared me to others. Writing in a consistent and particular way will grow your audience – particularly, those who identify with your specific voice. Quality, especially when it comes to SEO and engagement, is better than quantity.

Do me (and yourself a favor). Sit down, pull out a piece of paper or open a new word doc and sketch it out. Jeni at The Blog Maven explicates this process beautifully. Who is your ideal audience? Describe their avatar in great deal. And then write your posts as if you’re speaking directly to them.

2. Find Your Voice: Filter your filters.

I noted this above to an extent, but filter your filters. Toss ’em out the window! Dare to unapologetically be yourself. As I said above, I curse. I do. A lot. To a fault, perhaps. But it allows me write the way I speak. It’s much more enjoyable for me to write blog posts if I do so in my own voice. Trying to sound “professional” or like an “authority” only comes out as stuffy. Besides, what do terms like “professional” or “authority” even mean these days?

With the advent of the internet – and more specifically, blogging – the standards have been leveled. You can be professional and still talk like you. Sounding “professional” or like an “authority” comes from producing quality content on a regular and consistent basis – not on whether you say shit balls or not. People connect with people – beΒ  yourself, filter your filters and your voice will emerge.

3. Find Your Voice: Be social.

Whether you’re new to social media or you’ve been at it since the dawn of time (aka the launch of Facebook), you need to be on at least a couple of channels for SEO. I especially recommend Google+ and Pinterest. It will also help build and spread your voice to a larger audience. You can write a new blog post every single day of the week (and no more than) but if you don’t build relationships with other people on the web and let them know you’re there, your blog isn’t going to grow.

To find your voice, you need to test out what works and what doesn’t – being social allows you to test out new voice tactics – what gets a response, re-shares or likes. Just be sure you don’t post anything you’ll regret later (ie naked pics of your neighbor) or that you wouldn’t say in real life (ie lay into someone about how many hashtags they use and why they should go ef themselves).

4. Find Your Voice: Write.

Okay, I know I said there were 3 ways, but this one is kind of a no-brainer. Do it. Don’t stress about it. Just make it happen. Blogging – as with any writing or creative endeavor – is a process and it WILL change over time. And that’s okay. Your audience will grow and change with you so don’t fret about the occasional bad post or how awful your photos looked 2 years ago (one of my big neurosis). Get to writing consistently and reliably andΒ  you will find your voice as it evolves.

How have you found your voice? What do you find most challenging as you try to find your voice? Agree with my points? Have others? Disagree? Share below!

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23 Comments on Successful Blogging: 3 Key Ways to Find Your Voice (FREE INFOGRAPHIC)

  1. Jeni Elliott
    January 14, 2014 at 9:24 am (3 years ago)

    What a great article – I love how you pointed out that your voice is related directly to who your target audience is. If you have a live-out-loud personality, there’s no reason to mask it for the sake of being PC. Thanks for including my article in an all-around great post!

    Warmly,
    Jeni

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      January 14, 2014 at 4:52 pm (3 years ago)

      Hey Jeni!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment πŸ™‚ I know a lot of people struggle with containing their personalities – could you imagine the amazing content we could come up with if everyone spoke like who they really are?? It’d be world changing!

  2. Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)
    January 14, 2014 at 4:37 pm (3 years ago)

    Although it sounds obvious that your voice sis directly related to your target audience, most haven’t thought of it that way! Great post with some wonderful and thoughtful advice.

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      January 14, 2014 at 4:57 pm (3 years ago)

      It’s true Jacquie! But it’s the same with all writing – think about who you’re speaking to! For example, I’d never call my mom my “bitch” but I don’t think twice when it’s my best friend. ….Maybe that makes me a terrible friend. hahaha… Nah, she likes it.

  3. Jeannette Paladino
    January 14, 2014 at 6:24 pm (3 years ago)

    I think I’ve found my voice. Knowing what you want to write about is the first step in the process. When I first started blogging I wrote about different topics and that was fun. But then my interests veered towards social media, employee engagement and branding. I feel strongly about those subjects. So my advice is to write what you’re passionate about. So much easier to find your true voice.

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      January 15, 2014 at 3:16 pm (3 years ago)

      Absolutely Jeannette! In fact, I’d extend that advice to life in general. Do what you’re passionate about – write what you’re passionate about – LIVE for your passions! If you love it, there’s a way. You may need to be creative in how you make it happen, but if we live our passions, happiness (and money) follows!

  4. Debra Yearwood
    January 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm (3 years ago)

    I really like the idea of defining your avatar, though I will confess, I have more than one, but not more than three :). I think it helps to focus your voice.

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      January 15, 2014 at 3:16 pm (3 years ago)

      THREE? I’d love to hear how you came up with 3 Debra! And how you gear your blog posts that way? Details, sister!

  5. Stephanie
    January 15, 2014 at 2:29 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for the insight. I have lots of bad photos from two and four years ago (and even two months ago) weighing on my mind. I’m just going to keep on improving and developing my voice.

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      January 15, 2014 at 3:18 pm (3 years ago)

      Don’t let it, Stephanie. You’re absolutely right – focus on improving and developing your voice (and photography) now! Move forward and if it still bugs you in 6 months, consider re-taking the photos. From what I’ve heard from my food blog audience at SheEats.ca is that people have loved growing with me. They appreciate the old terrible photos. Confession: We aren’t all Martha Stewart. Nobody is perfect. Nor do we want to be πŸ™‚

  6. Greg
    January 15, 2014 at 7:58 pm (3 years ago)

    Hey Kristy!

    I was going to be like pft know that already πŸ˜‰ then I found your food blog!?

    Can you make me a Garden Gimlet?

    You must blog a lot…

    Cheers,
    Greg

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      January 16, 2014 at 7:12 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Greg!

      hahahaha – thanks! I know there’s a lot of info out there on “finding your voice” but I really want to provide MY readers with as much valuable info as possible when it comes to blogging and writing. If I can provide them that, I’ve done my job.

      PS. Sure. I’ll make a pitcher. Come on over! πŸ™‚

      PPS. I do blog a lot. It’s what I love. 2X per week on SheEats.ca, 1X here, newsletter goes out 1X a week and I’m starting podcasting next month which I’m SUPER excited (and obsessed) about which will = 1 more post per week on the food blog. It’s a lot, but I’m very well organized πŸ™‚

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  7. Suzanne Fluhr (Boomeresque)
    January 16, 2014 at 10:11 am (3 years ago)

    All great points. Kristy. So great that I kind of intuited them. Goal: Just. Do.It! In another post please consider sharing why you think Google+ and Pinterest are important. I have a Google+ profile and I try to post there, but I find there’s very little engagement there compared to FB. I want to add a photo site, but what are the pluses and minuses of Pinterest over Instagram. Is it important to be on both?

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      January 16, 2014 at 11:01 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Suzanne! Thanks so much for your great questions and good on ‘ya for intuiting how to find your voice. Some of them are pretty straight forward, yet those are often the aspects of something we miss!

      To answer your questions in short:

      1. Google+ is an SEO imperative; Pinterest is a MAJOR driver of traffic to blogs and websites.

      2. Both Pinterest and Instagram are image based platforms, so in that respect, they’re similar. It’s not entirely known how much traffic is actually generated by Instagram. That being said, it’s a valuable tool for giving your audience a behind the scenes (and personal!) glimpse into your brand and business. Think of it as added value. While Pinterest touches on this, it’s more a driver of traffic and ways to connect with other content curators. Whether you should be on them or not depends on your goals and audience, but I definitely recommend Pinterest for everyone – based on traffic alone.

      I’ll definitely write posts on these 3 points (Google+, Pintereest, Pinterest V Instagram) over the next month or so. Thanks for the suggestions!

  8. Catarina
    January 16, 2014 at 10:44 am (3 years ago)

    As far as I’m concerned it’s absolutely essential to find your own voice.

    Writing yet another blog that’s just like millions and millions out there is not going to get you anywhere. Or writing yet another article about new years resolutions.

    You write about social media in a slightly different way and I like your design. Am tired of one blog after another about blogging and social media explaining how to use Twitter, Linkedin and so forth. Especially if they write long and complicated articles outlining what to do. And even worse when they can’t write and should not have a blog:-)

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      January 16, 2014 at 11:06 am (3 years ago)

      hahaha – thank you Catarina! I appreciate everything you just said! As I mentioned to Greg, I like the idea of being THE critical social resource for my readers so there are the occasional posts about how to use and engage on particular platforms – after all, that stuff’s important. But I think too many social media “influencers” don’t bring any personality to their writing – missing point 2 of this article: Filter your filters. I write the way I talk because that’s how people hear things. I’m more concerned with writing in a way that can reach people and stimulate conversation than write in a way that’s long, complicated and full of jargon. It’s just how I roll, yo πŸ˜‰

  9. Susan Cooper
    January 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm (3 years ago)

    I love your advise. it so easy to forget that our avatar send a message and needs to be consider carefully. I have one picture throughout out all my avatars along with my logo. I have three things I blog about: recipes, wine and I tell life stories. At first it seemed disjointed but now it all blends together and no it’s all about life. It take a little time and allot of thought to get there, doesn’t it?

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      January 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm (3 years ago)

      Ah – that’s a whole other version of avatar Susan and one that’s very important! You’re right – your ACTUAL avatar is how you’ll be recognized around the web, along with your logo. ….Is it wrong that I’m drinking in mine? πŸ˜‰

  10. Gabbi
    January 18, 2014 at 7:30 pm (3 years ago)

    Writing for one person/specific is a great piece of advice. You will never please everyone, so it makes since to have a clear point and opinion (assuming you aren’t writing news).

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      January 20, 2014 at 6:56 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Gabbi! I agree – you can’t please EVERYONE so don’t even try. To be honest though, it’s the same about news. There is ALWAYS a lens and an angle – it’s never opinion free. Nothing – not even cutting edge news stories – exist in a vacuum. They all come through our filters, which are directly related to our experiences.

      Think about the Huffington Post or Grist V. New York Post or Wall Street Journal – all are news items but they take very different stances on the “news”, based on their filters. Just something to think about πŸ™‚

  11. Oksana Frewer
    January 19, 2014 at 6:51 am (3 years ago)

    That’s a very nice post! I like how you emphasise the concept ” find your voice”, very nice!

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      January 20, 2014 at 6:56 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you Oksana! Hope it helps you!

  12. Vera Coutinho
    November 20, 2014 at 3:06 pm (3 years ago)

    Loved the article!

    I am collecting money to invest serious in wordpress.org platform and have a custom design site, so i found you on etsy and checking through your portfolio make me search on your blog and i’m loving the articles. I’m a book lover that started for fun and was social with other bloggers, but after there was this “explosion” where bloggers to get free books from editors, became different and i felt in that trapped for a while and forget my inner voice and also the way we used to comuniccate between each other became different, because people now what’s: “i want to be better than you”…and it frustates me because the posts are “empty”, “copies of synopses” etc and the main thing that make us start in the beginning got lost in the mess of social platforms, affiliations etc…so i’m searching for my inner voice, i do not want to be like others, i do not wanna be better than others, but i do want a blog that i will love in terms of design, funcionality and do posts because i love to read, watch movies, listen to music and talk about it, talk about other things that are happenning in my life and in the world and talk with people that are on the same tune as i am and forget the freaking thing of “i have 1000 subscribers, 10000….” people become so crazy about that but they don’t talk with those thousands of subscribers and probably i will be small in subscribers but feel big and great on my inside. πŸ™‚

    sorry for any english mistake, my mother language is portuguese πŸ™‚

    kisses*