Looking back, I’m the first to admit that my posts were stilted, dry and not very interesting. Three years of experience and learning from my own mistakes has taught me a very important lesson. One’s own personal voice and conversation is much more attractive to readers.
On one occasion in the beginning, I sent in a post for review as a possible contributor to a website and soon received a rejection email stating that my post was too conversational. They wished to be more formal, following more formal grammatical, spelling, and writing conventions. This was the turning point for me, where I had to evaluate my writing and decide what worked best for me and my blogs. I decided I preferred the informal, conversational voice as it was friendlier, more welcoming, more light and humorous. Although my voice does change between my three blogs, in general, they can all be classified as using a conversational tone.
Empty Nest Ancestry features more human interest posts on the topics of history and genealogy, and I am more careful of the rules of writing. However, transcription of old documents requires that one overlook errors as the rule of thumb is to not change anything, transcribing the text exactly as written or heard in the interest of accuracy.
Feathering the Empty Nest is by far the least formal of my blogs and the usual writing conventions are basically thrown to the winds. I “write ’em as I sees ’em”, with humor and personality (I hope). Once I realized this was my natural voice, and stuck to it, I noticed much improved readership, traffic and conversation.
This blog, Top Web Blog Tips, is a blog about blogging. Again, I do prefer a conversational tone, but find adhering to writing conventions is important as the posts are more instructional and informational.
Use your natural voice to be more relatable, and more people will read your blog posts and comments and conversation will occur more easily and frequently.
What do I mean by natural voice?
The natural voice you use for informal conversation and correspondence.
Does that mean an academic voice?
Only if you blog on more academic topics, such as about studies, research and such matters.
Does grammar matter?
This differs between conversational voices. It’s more important for academic or informational blogs, while personal blogs can use a more personal, informal tone that does not necessarily have to comply with grammatical conventions.
Does spelling matter?
Again, this differs between voices. It definitely does matter for all blogs, but personal blogs can be free to ignore these conventions in the interests of personality, friendliness, humor, etc.
This lesson has been greatly enhanced by my decision to use ‘Naturally Speaking,’ a voice recognition software that allows me to dictate my posts directly into the word processor. I find that the words flow much more naturally for me when spoken verbally. Then I proofread carefully to ensure there are no glaring errors or omissions – but deliberately leaving anything that contributes to the desired tone of the article.
In the beginning, I found that what I thought were humorous descriptions of situations and events weren’t coming across that way in my writing. When I dictated the post, my own sense of humor came into play and the words framed the jokes and humor much more easily, giving the desired reader experience. I just had to be careful to not let my formal writing training cause me to ‘delete or rewrite’ key words and phrases that would greatly change the impression of the article – even completely eliminating the humor.