This post and podcast episode comes from my talk at Social Media Day Houston on How to Brand Your Writing Voice across Social Media Platforms!
What comes to mind when you hear this word? Even though I know it means more, I always THINK of visual logos and colors and the way a brand shows itself visually.
Branding is more the entire message, the packing of the message, the ideals and beliefs, and overall a comprehensive picture of the person, company, or brand. It’s bigger. But visuals stick with us because we SEE them, which is one of the reasons we think of branding as a visual. (If you didn’t think of visuals, please let me know in the comments what YOU think of!)
But because branding is all-encompassing, that means that your writing is a part of that. More specifically your writing VOICE.
Listen to Create If Writing – Episode 049
Since not everyone has had the extensive tour of English departments that I have, I will give you a definition of voice. Essentially, the writing voice is the narrator or writer’s point of view and writing style. The voice is the part of writing infused with personality. It distinguishes on writer from another and makes that writer unique. It gives the writer POWER.
Your writing voice makes you stand out from every other writer.
Though you may not talk or think so much about voice, you KNOW it. Voice is often what draws us to a certain writer.
- You may love the Blogess for her humor and style.
- Or perhaps Ann Voskamp and her poetic way of describing the mundane.
- Maybe you are a fan of Derek Halpern‘s don’t-hold-back approach.
- Or Amy Porterfield‘s wise and upbeat encouragement.
You know voice when you read it. You are drawn toward certain kinds of voices and repelled from others. This is why developing your own writing voice is so important!
How to Brand Your Voice Across Social Media Platforms
Know Your Why
I know. I know. I should call this blog the Why Blog because I talk about this all. the. time. But the reality is that you need to know this. And then you need to make sure it is still the same. You need to KNOW it. Because everything else flows from your WHY. Are you writing to bring in a full time income and keep your rent paid? Are you creating a side business that you hope will be a full business? Are you doing this as passion project and don’t care if you make money? Are you doing what you do to help others? To entertain? To teach?
Your why is probably going to be a combination of a few things, but you need to think about this and know this. (For go deep on this, you need to check out my Foundation Series mini course!)
Know Your Who
Who is your target audience? You need to speak the language of your people. You need to know your current audience and your target audience. (Don’t worry! I have resources on developing an ideal reader profile and on figuring out who your current audience is.) When you know your audience, you know how to speak to them. You know what will attract them and what will repel your non-ideal readers.
Know Your How
How would you like your readers to describe you? Think of the adjectives you wish that people would use when they talk about you. Are you funny? Quirky? Authoritative? Goofy? Wise? Kind? Generous? Outgoing? Snarky? This is a huge part of knowing your voice.
Know What You Can Sustain
Not all voices are easy. Your writing voice should be natural enough that you can work at it, but it’s not work EVERY TIME. Which is to say that it is something you are able to write. You may want people to describe you as funny, but ARE you? Ask a friend. Do people laugh through your blog posts? Can you convey humor through words? Your writing voice should be consistent, even though it will have nuances through social media platforms. I can be funny in a tweet, but not laugh-out-loud funny. I’m witty, but not a comedian. Know what you can sustain and choose to hone in on a voice that feels easy and natural to you.
Creating Your Writing Persona
Once you have answered those questions, you need to work on creating your persona. This is another one of those English-major terms. A persona is the role or character adapted by an author or character. In the context of the business world, persona pre-dated avatar as the way you described your ideal readers.
But the kind of persona I mean is the persona of YOU, not your customer. Essentially, you will be creating a role for yourself that you will embody online. If this sounds weird, the reality is you already HAVE a persona.
When you filter out certain things from your public life, that’s part of creating a persona. When you share particular pieces of content and not others, that’s part of your persona. When you frame something in one way and not another, that’s part of persona.
Download Your Free Worksheet to Form Guidelines for Your Persona!
Once you have a good idea of who your persona is (remember: I mean YOU), you can more easily navigate what to share and how to share it. Your persona will help you understand the content and the way you introduce a certain post to share. It will help you know when to shut up and when to speak. It may even help you respond better to comments from readers.
Tips for Developing Your Writing Voice
For more nitty gritty tips on honing your writing voice, the best thing you can do is practice. Try writing with that persona in the forefront of your mind. It might even be easier for you to write as that “character” than just YOU. It gives you a little distance because it IS you, but an edited and filtered version of you.
Speak Your Words.
You can also SPEAK. The spoken word does not work when literally translated into the written word (ever read a transcription? BO-RING), but when you read aloud, this can help you hear how your words sound. (It’s also a great way to find mistakes.) Read your words aloud. Let that help you edit. It will give you more of a voice and reveal places where your written word sounds boring or doesn’t have any personality.
I also like using Twitter as an editor. No, I do NOT put whole posts through it. But there are times when I take a quote I like of mine and plug it into one of the click to tweet plugins so it’s shareable on Twitter. Usually? They are too long. Which makes me pare down and often my writing is better. Not everything should be shorter, but when you are very conscious of your words, it helps you choose them with more intention.
I hope that this post is helpful it developing your writing voice and keeping it consistent. In the podcast episode I say more about how this looks on different platforms and I think I’ll put that in a second post because we are almost at 1200 words. My persona is long-winded, y’all. (And sometimes says “y’all.”)