Have you seen some blogs and websites that are really formal in their writing? And others that sound like they’re talking to a five-year-old? How can you find the right tone for your blog?
The key to better blog writing is to connect with your audience without sounding like an amateur. When you write your blog posts, you want to strike a balance between copy that is conversational, but not too casual or breezy.
Here’s a tip: Picture your reader. Maybe it’s someone you know, such as your best friend or a family member. Maybe it’s a composite of your ideal reader, the kind of person you’d like to reach.
Ask yourself these questions: Is your reader a total idiot, or do they know nothing about your niche? Does your reader know a lot about your niche?
Your readers are probably somewhere between those two extremes. They are likely interested enough in your niche to know something about it, but they don’t know everything, which is why they read your blog. Readers won’t appreciate being talked to like they are children, but they also won’t understand a lot of jargon and technical terms. The only exception is if you are trying to reach a very “insider” industry or technical audience.
Now, write directly to your ideal reader. A couple of ways to make your writing more conversational is to use second person – you. Another way is to use contractions. We use contractions in normal conversation, so use them in your blog writing.
You were probably taught in English and writing classes not to use you or contractions because they’re too informal. But formal, academic writing has no place on a blog.
When one writes a blog post, one must keep one’s reader in mind. The reader will not understand if the writer does not match the tone of the post to the reader’s level of understanding.
See what I mean?
I’ve been in academia, and I’ve written in that tone before. The neutral “one” and writing out all contractions has a place in academic writing, but it really sounds stiff on a blog. If I wrote all of my posts that way, you would probably never come back. And I want you to come back.
To keep your readers coming back, you have to respect their intelligence, but keep in mind that they’re there to learn something from you. If you can strike this balance, you’ll have content that is neither too informal, nor too high-brow, to reach your audience.
Readers, how do you find the right tone for your blog posts? Got any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments.