Finding your voice

In today’s digital marketplace everyone has a voice, and everyone’s using it. So how can we, as entrepreneurs and business owners looking to grow our brands, differentiate ourselves and make our voices heard – especially when there are so many others out there doing the exact same thing that we are?

The way to do this, according to brand strategists and storytelling experts like Jennifer Kem and Bernadette Jiwa, is to get crystal clear and to live out and own your values, vision and purpose in the world. This is greater than the services you deliver and is about the difference you want to make.

Many of the big brands are already doing this – Virgin Media, Apple, Coca Cola, to name a few – and they have big budgets for it. As small businesses and entrepreneurs, we have an advantage on the big brands in that the buck stops with us. While we don’t have the budgets or big departments, we are the ones driving our business and building our brands. And everything these days is about personal brand and how you’re able to tell your story. I used to think personal branding was all selfies and celebrity, but in this context it shows how pertinent it is to everything we do.

You might think, “What does this have to do with blog writing?” Well, everything. Everything we do includes blog writing, as much as it includes our policies, our customer services, our processes and systems, etc.

Here are three ways you can start to get a grip on this for your blog writing:

  1. Get real – Own that story. Set aside time to do that with a pen and pad. Think about the experiences and people who inspired you on your journey so far. While you won’t necessarily include these stories in your blog posts as your aim is to solve your audience’s problem, it is a way to engage your audience. You may tell an anecdote, which is a story told in the same place at the same time, to draw your readers in at the beginning. Make sure it’s relevant to the problem they need to solve.
  2. Test out your voice – If you’re starting out, try to get into the habit of giving your perspective on everything you write, even the how-tos and the lists. You can give your expertise, your personal view on a product or service or event you attended related to your sector. Opinion pieces are the obvious way to give your views, which you’ll choose to write according to your vision, values and purpose. Make sure it’s backed up with evidence, though, so it’s not just you having a rant.
  3. Set your tone – This is the language that you use, whether it’s about inclusive language, for example, or the level of formalilty you use with your audience that is consistent across all your communications. Having tone of voice guidelines is useful, and a copywriter can help with this.

These three things aren’t easy tips that you can easily take away and implement. They’re more about developing that commitment to your vision, values and story, and authentically telling that story. If you’re starting out writing your business blog considering these things will stand you in good stead when you’re communicating with the audiences that you want to reach.

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