When you write, is it a struggle for you to instantly grab reader attention and hold it?
If it is, you’re not alone. It’s not easy to do. But it is possible. And it’s a skill you can constantly improve upon.
When you read an article, blog post or email, have you ever wondered why some hold your attention from beginning to end and others don’t?
Obviously, the subject must be of interest to you. That goes without saying. The headline must grab your immediate attention.
But let’s say the subject is one in which you’re extremely interested, and yet for some reason, you bail before you reach the end.
Why? Well, time is certainly a factor. As in we don’t have much of it. All the more reason why you must pull your reader in quickly and keep them reading. We are a get-in-quick/get-out, society. We have things to do, people to see, and we don’t easily give up our precious time to an email or blog. In order for us to be willing to do that, we have to have a compelling reason.
And that brings me to my point: Let’s talk about the voice of the writer.
What is Voice of the Writer?
Let me explain. When I talk about the voice of the writer, I’m really talking about whether you can hear their personality. Does it shine through or does it sound like it was written by a computer?
Does it evoke emotion? Humor? Are opinions expressed? Is there maybe even some controversy?
Most of all, can you imagine sitting with the person whose post you’re reading and hearing what they’re saying?
I refer to that as voice. It’s personality. It’s the human element. It’s where you connect.
The One Dimensional Written Word
The problem I’ve always had with the written word, especially in emails, text messages and other forms of non-verbal communication, is that it can be one dimensional. Bland. Boring. Open to misinterpretation.
But what does hold my attention is when I can hear the writer’s voice. I feel their personality shining through. I feel their playfulness. I hear the smile behind the words. Or maybe the frown.
Most importantly, I don’t feel like I’m reading an impersonal page of ink that could have been written by a robot. Not that I know any robots that write, but hey, have you ever seen the movie Short Circuit? About the robot that through a weird series of events becomes intelligent? Now that I think about it, though, maybe that’s not a very good analogy because that robot was anything but boring.
Don’t Worry — Just Write
But I digress. I am simply pointing out that if you want to write blog posts and articles that grab people’s attention and holds it till the end, you have to find your voice. You need to stop worrying about how smart you sound or how professional you appear and start letting your true self show through.
Let people see who you are, what you believe in, what you don’t, and where you stand on issues that you chose to write about. Don’t strive to be perfect. Perfect is dull.
No Textbooks, Please!
No one wants to read a textbook. Remember when you were in school? You didn’t read textbooks because they were interesting, fun reading. You read them because they were assigned. And admit it, how often did you skim, trying to glean the important facts as quickly and painlessly as possible so you could get on with what you really wanted to do?
Now ask yourself: If you’re not required to read something, and it’s not interesting enough to keep you engaged, how much will you read? Will you see it through to the end?
My guess is not much, and probably not.
How to Find Your Voice — And Use It
Here are some simple tips to help you find your voice and let it shine:
- Imagine you’re talking over coffee with a good friend. You’re relaxed. You’re comfortable. And you’re enjoying yourself. That’s your voice. Write with it.
- Don’t publish what you write immediately. Write it and close your computer and/or do something else. Come back after a few hours or even the next day and read what you wrote. I guarantee you’ll know right away if it’s boring. You may find yourself practically rewriting it! I know. I do it all the time.
- Speak to one person. In your head, picture yourself having a conversation with one person. Address your remarks to that person. Use the word you. Make every one of your readers feel like you’re talking directly to them.
- Write in a coversational voice, your voice. The same one you speak with daily. Don’t try and emulate someone else’s style. Those who know you will see through it and those who don’t will notice something amiss. And be bored.
- Be yourself. You want those reading your posts to connect with you and who you are. Don’t worry about those who may not find you to be their cup of tea. Who cares? It doesn’t matter. You can’t please everyone so don’t even try. Just be who you are and attract people who like you for you and, equally important, that you like back.
I believe that many writers overcomplicate their post and article writing by worrying too much about how they sound. Who they might offend. Who may not like them.
There’s a big world out there. Speak in your own voice and let those drawn to you come naturally. And forget about the rest.
You have a unique voice. Don’t be afraid to use it.
In fact, don’t just use it. Celebrate it!
Get comfortable. Find your stride. Make new friends.
And invite your new friends in for a nice cup of joe.
If you enjoyed this post, just click here to tweet to your friends. And please, leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear your voice.