You’ve probably heard people talk about having a “voice” online. How does that work? It’s not like you’re speaking out loud, after all.
Voice is potentially the most important feature when it comes to writing - it is integral to the words themselves. Much like your literal speaking voice, your writing voice embodies everything you say, and influences the way people “hear” (read) your words.
If you’re unfamiliar with what your voice is, we’re here to assist you in developing a personal voice that will help you come across the way you’re meant to: loud and clear!
What comes naturally
While you might want to keep your professional voice a little different than your personal voice, starting from where you come from naturally is a great way to get started. How do you speak/write naturally? Look over your texts with friends, emails to close colleagues, old blog or diary entries. Do you notice a natural cadence, tone, or “vibe”?
This is your starting point for “finding your voice.” Knowing where you are starting from is a great way to craft what you want from your professional voice.
Balance familiarity with formality
When we’re talking about professional branding, you might not want to speak to professional contacts or clients the way you would to an old friend from college. However, depending on your field, the level of familiarity you have with your audience might be different.
For example, a corporate lawyer may want to stay strictly business, with a more removed “expert” formality in their voice, whereas a dating coach will want a more relational voice to better “connect” to their clients (while maintaining their ethos as an expert in their field).
This is a balancing act that you will have to partake in when it comes to crafting your voice - find the right level of friendliness/approachability/relatability to connect with your clients while expressing enough formality and reliability on the other side to distinguish yourself not as the peer of your client, but rather as a consummate professional in a field they want to look up to.
What makes you distinctive in the field?
It’s not so much a trademark (which can become kitschy in your writing if you try too hard), but rather the style of speaking that will make you stand out to readers. For example, you’re always going to recognize Morgan Freeman’s voice whether you hear him in Shawshank Redemption or narrating March of the Penguins. You want to be as recognizable in your writing.
That means sticking to your guns; use the same formatting style every time, don’t drastically stray from your tone of writing or the way you break down your topic. It’s okay to spice it up, but make sure it’s still you.
The goal of all of this is to align with your audience more easily. If readers know they can rely on you to be consistent, they will come back again and again because you sound authentic, reliable, and true.
Being consistent also helps build your brand by ensuring ghost writers, contributing writers, and collaborators can seamlessly mesh with your style, because they know how you write and how you expect things to be portrayed.
Finding your voice is an important part of developing your brand, so you can say all you need to say without any distractions getting in the way.
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Written by Jordan McAndrew