Choosing the right tone of voice for your blog

Apr 18, 2014 by
Choosing the right tone of voice for your blog

Regardless of whether your blog is a commercial endeavour or simply a hobby that allows you to express your thoughts on a particular subject, choosing the correct tone of voice is essential if you aspire to generate a strong readership and achieve longevity in your niche.

SingingThere has never been a writing medium with such a wide variance in sentence structure, use of grammar, vocabulary choice and overall presentation as there is with blogging. While it’s wonderful that blogging presents us with a seemingly limitless choice of styles that we can use to express ourselves authentically, this infinite realm of possibilities can also be quite daunting, particularly if you are new to blogging, or to writing in general. Fortunately, there are certain factors that you can use to guide you when determining the tone of voice for your blog.

Formal vs. informal

A blog can be formal, informal or a number of permutations between the two. Depending on the nature of your blog, there are certain traits which you may want to imbue consciously into the writing. For example:

  • If your blog is used to promote your bar or restaurant, you may want to choose a casual, conversational tone, speaking directly to the individual with visceral language to encourage them to wine and dine at your establishment.
  • If your blog is used to promote a legal firm, you may want to go with a serious tone and keep the language informative, unambiguous and emotionless.
  • If your company is in the retail sector, choosing a warm, sales-oriented approach might be the way to go.

Write with your audience in mind

If you can visualise the type of people who read your blog and then cultivate a writing style that resonates with them personally, this will pay huge dividends.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What earning bracket are they likely to be in?
  • Are they logical or creative?
  • Are they entrepreneurial or office workers?
  • What is their age range?
  • What level of education are they likely to have?
  • Are they family oriented or individualistic?
  • How do they present themselves?

Answering these questions should help you to determine the most appropriate style of writing. If your audience are more likely to speak in colloquialisms rather than the Queen’s English, orchestrate your vocabulary towards this. If your audience are very technically minded and logical thinking, warm and fluffy, over the top conversational prose is probably not the right way to go!

Become a vocabulary nerd

Figures vary, but many popular science magazines suggest that around93% of all communication is nonverbal. In real life we have the luxury of vocal tone and body language to emphasise the meanings of our words, but in blogging we have to rely more on our vocabulary and sentence structure. Always having a thesaurus handy, or having the web equivalent bookmarked in your browser, is essential for those that want to communicate their thoughts as clearly as possible.

Knowing multiple synonyms, each with slightly different connotations, for some of your most frequently used words can dramatically alter the tone of your message. If you write posts for multiple blogs with differing tones, there’s no substitute for being able to choose a word that has a clinical tone as opposed to an emotional tone but which doesn’t alter the semantics of the sentence!

Read other blogs regularly

Just as James Joyce was influenced by Henrik Isben, and Eminem was influenced by Masta Ace, submerging yourself in the art in which you want to succeed is one of the fundamental rules. To get to a level of unconscious competence in blogging, make sure you’re also regularly reading other blogs, from within your niche and without. Reading blogs that do not relate to your own in terms of content can often provide you with great lessons in terms of style that can be transferred to your own work

Ask for feedback

It doesn’t hurt to ask for some advice. As with any art, the way we think our work is perceived and the way it is actually achieved can often be quite different. If you’re going for a lighthearted, conversational style of writing, why not ask someone who is familiar with your work whether or not they felt personally engaged and entertained? You can always pose this as a question on one of your posts and let the feedback come to you in the comment boxes underneath.

Finally – don’t get too caught up with your blog’s tone!

There are a lot of variables to factor in when determining the tone for your blog, and getting it right doesn’t happen overnight. However, it’s more important that you hit the ground running and develop your tone of voice as you go instead of being caught in inertia due to the fear of getting it wrong! These suggestions are guidelines, so don’t get caught up in them so much that they stifle your creativity, because after all, if your creativity doesn’t radiate through your writing then your tone of voice probably isn’t going to matter!

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