There are lots of reasons for writing and publishing a blog. Some people just like to write about random musings, others like to talk about products they have bought or places they’ve been to. There are professional bloggers who focus on a theme, much like a magazine might be tailored to an interest group, and there are business blogs, used for promotional purposes, or the dissemination of information.
The first and most important thing to decide with a blog is who you are writing it for. Are you talking to friends and family (where jokes and colloquialisms would be acceptable) or to customers and potential customers, or are you talking to people who share a particular interest, who you perhaps don’t know?
Picture your ideal reader
Some radio presenters say they keep a picture of their ideal listener in their heads. They imagine talking to that one person much like they talk to a friend – this helps them to come across in a relaxed and natural way.
Good radio presenters sound like they are talking just to you, instead of a crowd. In the same vain, think about your writing style and how you address your audience.
Will you address your readers as a crowd (eg, ‘our readers’, ‘you all’ or ‘everyone’) or will you just address them singularly? Will you use ‘you’ (my preference) or the more passive and polite ‘one’?
Develop a house style and a tone
Your blog should have a house style. If you want to be taken seriously, at the very least make sure you can string a sentence together without littering it with spelling or grammatical errors. Are you writing in American English or British English? If you are writing British English, will you go with ‘realise’ and ‘specialise’ or ‘realize’ and ‘specialize’? British headlines are written with only the first letters and proper nouns capitalised, whereas American headlines have capitals on each word.
Tone of voice is important too. Will you write as you speak, or will you adopt a more formal style? Do you want to sound authoritative, confrontational, impartial? Will you invite guest writers and will they need to adopt the same tone as you? If you are going to outsource your blog content, trained journalists will bring quality and experience to the table.
Stick to the plan
You know why you are blogging and you know the audience. Now stick to the theme. If your blog is designed for news and information, then you suddenly post a review of a hotel you stayed in, it will seem odd – unless you make it fit in with your theme.
If your blog is full of your personality and about you talking to your audience, allowing other writers to contribute may dilute the character of the blog. Or it may enhance it.
Make sure your house style and your tone are consistent. Use a spell checker and proof read your work; ensure you don’t change your tone between posts. Just as you know your ideal reader, your ideal reader should be able to feel like they know you – like they are being spoken to by a person and not reading a cold, faceless essay.
In case you are wondering
Just in case you are wondering…no, I won’t describe what I think you look like.