At a networking meeting this week, I talked a little bit about voice in blogging and how important it is to your business. If you aren’t familiar with the term as it applies to writing, voice refers to an individual style that sets the author apart from other writers. When applied to blogging, voice helps humanize you as a business.
The biggest customer service issues arise when customers don’t feel like they are working with people. It’s very easy to appear less than personable on a website because websites are designed to be what we consider “professional.” Third person objective point of view and the universal “we” are generally used, but those don’t allow you to establish a voice. This is where good blogging comes in.
A professional blog post should be more than just an SEO magnet. It should draw the reader in, not just because the content is interesting, but because the blog author is interesting. Voice can also help represent you as a credible, caring company, one devoted to customers and interested in service.
Establishing voice and making sure it works for your company can be tricky. First, you want the right kind of voice. You want the blog post to be inviting, something that appeals to a range of readers and potential customers, but you don’t want to appear unprofessional. Some bloggers specifically use slang and don’t pay attention to the mechanics of writing because they think that will attract a certain kind of customer. This is not usually recommended, though, because in not using standard business English, you could be turning off potential customers who might judge the business based on the quality of the blog writing. There are ways to appear laid back and still attract a broad scope of customers.
Second, you might feature a variety of bloggers, all with different voices. One writer might use shorter sentences, another, lengthy. This is fine, so long as each voice corresponds with the message you are trying to communicate. You don’t want contradictions. For example, you don’t want one guest blogger to sound so off-the-cuff that the company’s credibility is risked, while another blogger sounds so stuffy, your company appears stand-offish. Even high-end companies cannot afford to ostracize customers who want to interact with authentic people.
Third, there is the issue of writer’s block. Sometimes bloggers are so worried about getting the content and grammar correct, the voice gets left out, or the post never gets written at all! Professional writers deal with this challenge all the time and have tools to overcome it. If you are writing posts for your company and are taking too much time to break through a block, consider hiring a professional writer.
There are other aspects of voice that have to do with word usage and tone, but I will save those for future blog posts. Right now, it’s more important that you assess the voice being used in your blog and ensure it is benefitting your company.