The phrase “finding your voice” is used frequently in content marketing and blogging. But what does it really mean? To me, it means sharing your knowledge and views in an authentic way and having the heart of a teacher. Our wisdom and talents aren’t ours to keep to ourselves. They are meant to be shared.
When I first started writing for the SMA blog, I’ll admit I didn’t know much about blogging. In fact, I hadn’t read many blog articles – I hadn’t subscribed to any blogs and I hadn’t been searching the web for information that was presented in the blog format. I was basically clueless about what a blog post “should” read like or “should” contain. Maybe that was a good thing.
Once I was asked to start writing, I did a little searching around for a few tips on blog article formats and structure, but I tried not to let the articles I read dictate how I would write. I wanted my articles to sound like something I would say. I wanted them to sound authentic.
I’m definitely a work in progress. I’ve learned a few things about myself and I’m starting to find my voice and feel confident in what I have to share. I hope my observations will reassure anyone who is new to blogging. The process of writing is a journey, not a destination.
What I’ve Learned About Finding Your Voice
We All Have To Start Somewhere
Every blogger begins with that very first piece. Even if they have writing experience, blogging is different. It’s more about creating an immediate connection with your readers that can be acted upon in real time. It’s about communicating in a way that connects with people. Know that it will take time to find your voice so be patient with yourself. You’ll learn to trust what you have to offer. You will also learn more about your audience over time, making adjustments to your writing based on their feedback.
No One Has The Same Voice As You
You are the sum total of the experience and knowledge learned over a lifetime. Add to that your own creativity and motivation and there is no one who has the same voice as you. When you write with the intention of communicating with honesty and integrity, your writing will come across as authentic.
You may choose to write about a topic that has been written about before. There’s nothing wrong with that. You are writing for your audience from your viewpoint. Your perspective and knowledge are uniquely your own and your readers may be different than the readers of other articles on the subject. And besides, there are always people who know less than you who need your help, so don’t feel like you have to be an expert.
You have more to offer your readers than facts about a topic. Your articles tell your story from your point of view, even if you’re writing a business or technical piece. By personalizing it based on your own experience, it makes the subject more relatable.
It Makes You Vulnerable And That’s Ok
Blogging is risky. When you click “Publish” you are sending your thoughts into the world for them to be commented on, critiqued, and disagreed with. That puts you in a vulnerable position, but when you face your fears it’s tremendously empowering. It’s ok to take chances and put yourself out there for your audience to see, even if they disagree with you or think you’ve missed the mark. As long as you take ownership and you’re confident in what you put out there, that’s what matters.
Don’t Strive For Perfection
Perfection is elusive and it’s a trap. There’s no such thing as a perfect blog article – there are just too many factors to consider. Striving for perfection leads to doubt and procrastination. Your writing will never be perfect for everyone. If it connects with your audience in a way that inspires them, educates them, or entertains them, you’ve done your job.
Perhaps this quote from Kris Carr sums it up best: “It’s not about finding your voice, it’s about giving yourself permission to use your voice.”
The past few months of blogging have been interesting, educational and empowering. I’ve learned an incredible amount about the topics I’ve written about – social media marketing, productivity and time management, team collaboration and visual content. But more importantly, I’ve learned a few things about myself and what I have to offer and share based on my own experience. I hope your blogging journey helps you learn about yourself too and empowers you to share your unique voice with the world.