This post is by Brad Branson of Lessons in Lifestyle Development.
Most people walk through life in a living daze. Most people live their lives vicariously through television, sports, or the gossip section. They are afraid to take action, afraid to take a risk. Why? Be average and you don’t risk embarrassment.
So, how does this relate to writing compelling blog articles and creating a devoted, enthusiastic fanbase?
You need to be polarizing. You need to set yourself apart from the masses, and be willing to take a risk in your writing. It’s not hard to find the vanilla ice cream out there; what people crave are the unique flavors. Be the jalapeño mocha light frappuccino, and they will come in droves. Create something different, dynamic, something unexpected.
What follows are five techniques to step outside of the box, cultivate a unique voice, and create an infectious website that compels readers to become subscribers.
1. Become an authority
One of the main problems of a non-remarkable blog is that the writer is afraid to step up and be a voice of authority.
As Seth Godin writes in his book, Tribes:
“Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead. This scarcity makes leadership valuable.”
When you lead, you take a risk. Risk can lead to failure. But because of that risk, people will reward you for taking action.
How do you become a leader? Set yourself apart. Be an expert on your topic. Do extensive research, and become obsessed about your writing. Or create a unique niche, and do it better than anyone else. Then start sharing it with the world.
Remember that leaders talk authoritatively, and make sure your writing follows suit. Here are a few examples:
WEAK: “I think one of the most important aspects of a successful blogger is the writing style they use.”
STRONG: “One of the most important aspects of a successful blogger is the writing style they use.”
Don’t use mitigating words such as: just, I think, like, might, or should.
WEAK: “You just have to write about topics you should enjoy.”
STRONG: “You have to write about topics you enjoy.”
Keep your writing forceful and authoritative. People give more credence to decisive leaders.
2. Use emotion in your writing
The demographic I write for is mostly single men looking for dating advice. One question I get often is how to continue the conversation after the initial interaction via text messaging. The problem is that you can’t create emotion or dynamics in a digital format.
One technique to combat this is by using emoticons, ALL CAPS, and vernacular to convey some personality and emotion. Haha ;)
It’s been said before, but in the blogosphere, the more colloquial you can make your writing, the better. Your readers want to feel like they
Now that doesn’t mean punctuation, grammar, and diction aren’t important. To the contrary, they’re even more important, when you’re dropping curse words, to make sure people know you take the writing process seriously.
3. Be vulnerable
When I teach my weekend seminars, one of the main things we focus on is taking the client’s personality, “placing it on a volume knob, and turning the knob UP TO ELEVEN!”
Most people hear this and think, “Alright, I need to amplify all the cool things that I have going on in my life.” But, counter-intuitively, the true power is in amplifying the weird idiosyncrasies.
Do you like studying vocabulary words? Do you have a secret penchant for World of Warcraft? Do you have a fear of heights? Talk about
When people see both sides, they develop a stronger rapport with you. Vulnerability is a sign of authenticity. Authenticity creates trust. You become more human, not just words on a computer screen.
4. Create consistency in your blog’s message
Your main focus has to be on the content of your site, but every aspect—from font color to picture captions—adds to your “voice.”Feel like creating a specific ambiance as someone reads your article? Add a youTube video with a correlative song to set the mood. Pictures are great for breaking up text, and can either reinforce a concept, or offer a little comic relief.
Font formatting, color schemes, picture choice, picture captions, headlines, comments, and widgets all play an integral role in conveying the overall message of your blog.
5. Ostracize people. You can’t write for everyone.
Some of the content on my site may be considered “controversial.” When I started the blog, there were always persistent thoughts like, “If my family were to view my website, would they approve?” But is my readership my parents? My colleagues? (Well, for me, yeah I guess it is. Heh.)
My niche happens to be early 20-something to late-30-year-old single men, so a decent amount of “locker humor” is what resonates best with them.
As I slowly interacted with my audience, through comments, emails, and looking at their feedback and favorite articles, I realized that the more I took a risk, the more I pushed the boundary of what I thought was acceptable, the more I ostracized certain readers. And yet my subscription levels kept rising.
It’s marketing 101: write for everyone and you write for no one. Find your niche and focus your writing style and “voice” to those people. They’ll feel more of a connection and relationship, which is what blogging is all about.
Is there something holding you back? A fear that you might not be well received? Do you censor yourself ?
I’m sure I just ostracized a few readers, but for those left, how did you develop your voice, and how has it evolved as your blog matured?
Brad Branson has taught dating advice and personal development in over 30 countries on 4 continents. His site, Lessons in Lifestyle Development, takes you through his journey around the world and the insights gained from the teaching process.