One of the biggest challenges when writing articles and blog posts is making them sound less like a paper you wrote in college and more like something interesting that people will want to read.
In school we always had teachers judging our work which has made us all paranoid about making mistakes. Now we worry about everyone who reads our writing making judgements about our abilities and knowledge. It’s no wonder solopreneurs have such a hard time blogging!
The reality is that we aren’t in school anymore. Yes, people will still make judgements but on different criteria. As readers we want to be confident that you know what you’re talking about, and we also want to understand what you’re saying and how to apply it to our current challenges.
And the best way to do that isn’t to use a lot of big words and jargon to make you sound smart, it’s to use real world examples and “real people language” that helps us understand better.
So how do you do that?
First off, you want to write how you talk.
Write as though you’re having a conversation and you’re explaining something to your best friend. You’ll find that writing conversationally is much more natural once you get into the groove, and it also helps us to get to know you as a person and your style.
We can tell when you’re overcompensating and trying to sound really smart in your writing, and we interpret that as not being confident in your material.
If you can explain something casually using real world language we’re going to understand more of what you’re saying and also see you as an expert. After all, if you can make something so complex sound so simple to you… you have to know what you’re talking about right?
Explain your concepts using out of context examples.
What the heck does that mean? Sorry… I’m getting all jargony.
What I mean is, explain the concept or strategy you’re trying to teach your audience by using examples that are related to something else they might more easily understand. This is also a great way to bring your hobbies and interests into your writing.
For example: Let’s say you’re a marketing coach and you’re explaining why your audience needs to have a well defined target market. Well that’s easy to say, and everyone “knows” this yet they still resist because the concept isn’t relatable to them and natural logic says “the more people I’m marketing to the better” right?
Let’s also say that you personally are really into fitness and training for athletic events. This is a great opportunity to share that hobby and bring your personality to the table, while also relating your business topic to your audience. Here’s how.
When an athlete is training they don’t work every muscle group at once for a couple of reasons:
- It would be exhausting and take much more time than shorter workouts focused on specific muscle groups.
- You aren’t going to get the same result than if you were to focus on one muscle group at a time.
This is the same as having a focused target market.
- If you’re marketing to too many people you’re spreading yourself too thin and your message won’t get through to them. It’s also exhausting because you’re having to show up in so many places at once.
- You are going to be less efficient than if you were to focus on one target market, tailor your materials to them, and show up specifically where they are looking for help.
I know that was a long example, but I wanted to make sure you get what I mean here because once you understand how to do this it’s a great way to show off your interests and personality in your writing.
And last, I’ll leave you with:
Write as though you are answering a question, instead of telling someone something.
There is a very subtle difference between answering a question and delivering information. When we answer questions we do more explaining than when we are just giving instructions or telling someone what to do.
The explaining is key because it helps your audience understand and apply what you’re teaching. And the easier it is to understand what you’re writing about, the smarter you sound as I mentioned above.
This doesn’t mean that you should write your blog posts and articles in a question and answer format, I personally prefer making statements than asking questions. It’s more in the way you’re thinking while you’re writing, always be asking yourself what the audience might be wondering.
You’ll notice that even in this article I’ve put a couple of questions that I’ve assumed are in the reader’s mind as I’m explaining concepts. It makes things flow more easily, and it signals you the reader that I’m changing directions. Kind of like a conversation. Yet, this article doesn’t sound like an interview.
It’s a wonder that finding your writing voice can be so tricky, it definitely takes practice. As you get the hang of it a few things will happen.
- Writing becomes easier and more fun.
- You’ll get more creative and “expressive” in what you’re writing.
- Your audience will really start to resonate with your personality – which is a very good feeling.
So I challenge you to take an article you’ve written already and re-write it as though you’re talking to your best friend and using examples from your favorite hobby. Once you try it, I think you’ll be hooked.© Copyright 2013 Holly Chantal