What Does Your Blog Writing Style Say About You?

As you accumulate experience with blogging, creating content that is both compelling and practical becomes easier and more natural.  It is at this time that you should be shifting your focus toward developing a readily identifiable style or persona to accompany it. 

Whether or not the persona is a true expression of the author is irrelevant.  From a marketing perspective, the key is that the persona is readily identifiable with the content that is being delivered.  

2010Jan10_ElementsofStyleV2

Your Style Evolves

Your writing style is a reflection of you.  This means it is going to evolve as you do.  If you examine the the blogging of marketer and thought leader Seth Godin, you will notice his posts over the last few years have evolved – they are much shorter than they were 5 years ago.

Your blogging too will naturally improve and evolve, especially if you are making the effort to study and learn technical skills such as grammar, the mechanics of the writing process itself, and certainly, the art of storytelling.

There are many resources available to you for improving your writing and its style.   I'll share a few of my favorites here, and I encourage you to do the same with a comment below.  

The Elements of Style – This timeless guide on writing well is one that you should digest slowly, and preferably again every few years just to keep the concepts top of mind.  You would think this would not be necessary once you learn them.  Yet, even golf legend Jack Nicklaus started every season by reviewing the elements of his game with his coach, starting with the basics of the stance and grip.

I expanded on this brief, yet incredibly valuable reference guide in this post on The Craziest Rules of Social Media.  Curiously, this venerable guide suggests that the word folks is an awkward choice of words when referring to people. I tend to agree.  Nevertheless, folks is used with abandon in blogosphere, and I believe the intention is to create a down-to-earth … folksy style. Welcome to new media!

Associated Press (AP) Style Guide - If you scan most news outlets you will notice the paragraphs are short – only a few sentences.   This is one of the hallmarks of AP or Associated Press Style of writing, which many journalists consider to be the standard.  These guidelines will give your posts a professional appearance and make them easier to consume.

As the name suggests, this is only a guide.  It's up to you to evolve from there.  For example, I often wrap up my posts with one sentence paragraphs just for emphasis.  There is no right or wrong.  The idea is to find a style that works for you and your readers.

On Writing is a must read for any writer that is interested in developing a style that reflects their persona. It is an autobiographical account of Stephen King's evolution as a writer that will have you laughing out loud, wincing at the pain of his personal challenges, but nonetheless learning some lessons about the writing process that you will never forget.  

King's style is indeed to take you on a personal journey with him where he engages you at an emotional level.  I believe this is precisely why the messages in On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft are easily remembered. It's the power of story.  My favorite lesson from this book is to …  write with the door closed and edit with it open.

King reveals that you have to get YOU out on the paper, and you can only do that when there are no distractions – even from well-intentioned friends or loved ones.  After that is when you have to be open to ideas about what needs clarification, elimination, or emphasis.  

Your Persona Emerges

How your style and persona emerges in you writing has a lot to do with who you are.  What inspires you will color your writing.  A few years ago I took a screenwriting class in which I learned that most films are forumulaic.  That is to say, there is intentional drama to build suspense for the emotional release that comes in the form of a happy ending. 

I like happy endings, and that is why I end most of my posts with a hint of motivation.  I also enjoy the texture of stories –  how they reveal some of the absurdities of life, as well as amazing accomplishments that result from the willingness to dream.  If this is you, check out A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life  by Donald Miller.

I snagged a copy of this book from Chris Brogan, a blogger who has very capably developed a persona through dedicated blogging across several channels.  Miller gave Brogan some copies to hand out, and Brogan made us earn ours with a thoughtful post on storytelling.  This post on The Power of Story in Your Marketing was the one that did the trick for me.

To develop a social media persona with your blog is to first understand you – what you are passionate about. When you can tap into that through skillful writing, you will develop a signature blog writing style that will sometimes communicate even more than your message.

From a traditional marketing perspective, that style is your brand!

If this has been useful, leave a comment to share your thoughts, subscribe to the feed, or LIKE it to share it with your friends.

Until tomorrow, Jeff 

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

JeffKorhan.com runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Theme Framework

Genesis enables you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with Wordpress. Whether you are a novice or an advanced developer, you’ll find Genesis to be flexible, secure, and complete with lots of custom options and deep SEO settings for accomplishing all your objectives. Start using Genesis now!

First-class support and automatic theme updates make Genesis the smart choice for your Wordpress website or blog.

Comments

  1. I love The Elements of Style, and my husband is a huge Stephen King fan. That will be the next book. Good advice, write with the door closed, edit with it open.

    My favorite rules for writing, by Elmore Leonard. Especially the rule “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

    http://is.gd/fdvsO

  2. Susan – Interesting post … consistent with my insights. I’ll remember that about “sounding like writing.”

    That’s a keeper 🙂

    Jeff

  3. Before giving advice on copyediting and developing the use of mechanics in your writing, you should first follow it yourself…

    “much short than they were 5 years ago…”
    “what you are passionate,”
    “that will sometimes communicates”

  4. Freshman Student – Thanks for catching those errors.

    However, to your point, I was not giving advice on copyediting or mechanics. As the title clearly suggests, the topic of the post is STYLE.

    Like most other bloggers, I endeavor to write as clean as possible. However, most readers of blogs understand that typos are part of the process. You will find typos in many published books that have been reviewed by several editors – and I’ll admit to not being a good technical editor.

    Nevertheless, here you are. Thus, you can see that one of the advantages of mistakes is they can be engaging, and for that reason are sometimes intentional: http://bit.ly/awnkdx

    Jeff

  5. I am just delighted to read your tips on writing style. Actually, what my problem seems to me is that I do not like to write in first person or second person. I cannot use You and yours in my sentences. Is it really a problem…it is actually a question of winning my bread and butter. I don’t want to write in a style which I do not like.