Most writing classes eventually teach “voice.” Writers need to find their own voice, and blogging can help achieve that end. But there are other ways to discover your voice as a writer—and to cultivate it.
Today, Jennifer Brown Banks (@PENPROSPER1), serves as your vocal coach and give bloggers “voice lessons” gleaned from the music industry.
Whenever I listen to the radio, I can identify distinctive voices long before the DJ announces the artist.
You know the ones, voices like Barbara Streisand, Michael Buble, Johnny Mathis, Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, Neil Diamond, Michael Bolton, and Gloria Estefan, to name a few.
Their voices are so grand. No only that, their voices are their brand.
As writers, our “voice” serves as an integral part of our brand as well.
That’s why it’s important for us, as bloggers and writers, to cultivate voice if we are to capture the attention of readers, captivate them, and stay on their “dial.” Whether your goal is to build your readership, platform, influence, or bottom line, branding plays a crucial role.
According to WPVirtuoso.com, in 2013 there were approximately 152 million blogs existing in 2013. Honing your “voice” help you to break through the noise and deliver real value to your audience.
For greater clarity, let’s take a closer look at voice. Your voice comprises the following key factors:
- Your style of expression
- Your tone
- Your language
- Your uniqueness
- Your personality
- Your core message
Voice in Practice
Consider, for example, the poet e.e. cummings. His approach to poetry was unconventional and often included intentional misspellings and lower case spelling where words should have been capitalized.
Or super star blogger, Seth Godin who is well known for his short, pithy posts.
These are examples of voice and brand.
Six Tips To Cultivate Your Voice
Now that we’ve established what your voice is as it relates to your branding—and why it matters, here are some timely tips to help you develop your chops.
In addition to being a way to write a book, blogging helps writers practice their craft, develop discipline, exercise creative muscles, establish authority, and speak their own personal truths on their own terms.
According to award-winning blogger Bamidele Onibalusi, another benefit to blogging, is “Having a blog makes it easy for people to get in touch with you directly, without a middle man, and without any distractions.”
But blogging also provides the opportunity to write and publish often as you develop your voice.
2. Broaden your horizons.
I bet you’ve heard most popular singers say that they were “influenced” by the styles of other great singers, even those from former decades. Follow suit.
Study and assess the best writers and bloggers. Read outside your niche from time to time, too. If you’re a fiction writer, check out the writings of nonfiction writers. Read books by the authors that top the NY Times’ Bestseller list. If you write nonfiction, get lost in a Harlequin Romance. Add some poetry to the mix as well.
It also behooves bloggers to engage and socialize with people of different backgrounds, professions and cultures. Our differences often enrich and inform us, making us better conversationalists.
To a great extent, you blog is a conversation between you and your readers. They are the ones who will recognize your voice when they switch the dial to your station.
3. Use humor when applicable.
As part of his “brand” or voice, pastor and best-selling author Joel Osteen begins his weekly sermons with a joke. This approach is unorthodox, unexpected, and yet effective.
Humor, when used appropriately, often makes your voice more likable. Many speakers begin their talks with humor.
Use colorful anecdotes, ah-ha moments, and universal experiences to connect and show your humanity and versatility.
4. Be authentic.
Pen pieces that speak to your heart, personal passions, belief system and leanings. In this way your voice will resonate with your readers.
As the famous 19th century author and poet Oscar Wilde once said: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” And that goes for your voice as well.
5. Go A Cappella.
Blogging—or writing—is the equivalent of having the courage to sing without accompaniment. And it’s having the chutzpah to speak out on issues that go against the majority opinion.
Hot topics like racial injustice, immigration, domestic violence, or education reform can be touchy. People may not always like you, but they will often remember and respect your strong voice on a topic.
6. Get a coach!
Many times athletes and singers hire coaches to help them to reach peak levels. Why not bloggers and writers?
A coach can help to identify your strengths and weaknesses, develop a game plan for success, provide expertise, and help you to “work smarter, not harder.”
Just like a vocal coach, creativity, branding, author, blogging, or writing coaches can help you find your voice and your brand.
Follow these tips and you’ll successfully speak to the masses—or at least your audience. You’ll build a following of loyal fans who will recognize your voice quickly no matter where the “hear” it. And you will enjoy many encore performances.
About the Author
Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, relationship columnist, ghost writer, award-winning blogger and author. Her work has appeared in various online and print publications including:.ProBlogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, Women on Writing and the Well-Fed Writer E-zine.
Banks is the managing editor of Coffeehouseforwriters.com, where she also teaches creative writing classes. When she’s not at the keyboard, she loves cooking, reading, “Jeopardy,” music, and shopping.
Find out more about Jennifer here: http://Penandprosper.blogspot.com/
Photo courtesy of iqoncept/123RF.com
Ann Stephens says
No need to publish this reply! When one sings without accompaniment, one is singing a cappella (two p’s and two l’s). The singer in me cringed at the misspelled headline for item no. 5. “Capella” is an online university or the brightest start in the constellation of Auriga. 🙂
Nina Amir says
Thank you, Ann! I actually checked the spelling when I edited this guest post…and thought I corrected it! Obviously, I missed a “p.” Appreciate the feedback, and keep on singing!
Karen Lange says
Jennifer, thanks for your insight and encouragement. I agree, blogging is a great way to develop our writing voices, cultivate our skills, and make lasting friendships and connections as well.
Nina, thank you for hosting Jennifer. Appreciate you sharing your space with her this week!
Linda O'Connell says
These are excellent points. The one that stands out for me is sing A Capella. Words resonate when you share a strong opinion, stand on principle, and put it out there. I think we writers have to believe in our ability to touch others. Thank you, Jennifer and Nina, for hosting.
Nina Amir says
Thanks for your comment, Linda. Writers can have a huge impact.
Jeñnifer Brown Banks says
Thank you so kindly, ladies. I value your time and thoughts.
Jeñnifer Brown Banks says
Thank you so kindly, ladies. I value your time and thoughts. It’s my pleasure. 🙂
Susan Sundwall says
Jennifer, as always your advise is spot on! Blogging certainly keeps me disciplined in my writing and you know I can’t resist throwing in some humor now and then. Nice piece,
JENNIFER BROWN BANKS says
Thanks so much, Susan, for adding to the mix here. :-).
Susan J. Reinhardt says
Hi Jennifer – Thanks for the helpful article. One of the treasured compliments I received from a friend was, “When I read your book, I heard your voice.” I’ll be linking to this article on March 17, 2017. Have a great weekend. Susan 🙂
Songwriting Competition says
Hey Jennifer.. It is a nice post for all the songwriters to have great voice and how to captivate their audience. These tips will be useful when they will be entering into any contest, stage performances and much more.
Marsha Ingrao says
Love this post. I love the benefit to blogging statement. “According to award-winning blogger Bamidele Onibalusi, another benefit to blogging is “Having a blog makes it easy for people to get in touch with you directly, without a middle man and without any distractions.” There are so many benefits to blogging. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this. I read it through Debby Gies’s repost on Google+
Jeñnifer Brown Banks says
Thanks everyone for all your comments.
Kristen Steele says
Reading outside of your niche is a great tip. It gets you out of your comfort zone and can open you up to new writing styles that can inform your writing style and potentially make it unique from others in the same space.
Stephanie Gates says