These days, we can find a blog online about pretty much anything that interests us, from politics to poker, football to fairytales. We’re drawn to reading blogs because of their friendly, chatty tone, which is usually distinctively different from the more formal tone of newspaper and magazine articles.
Blogging is just talking about our favorite subject and giving our opinions with no set structure and no formal grammar and we can use the same tone of voice that we would naturally use in a conversation.
Looks easy, doesn’t it? So why is it that so many of us struggle with finding our own blogging style?
Write Like You Talk
It always baffles me why people are so afraid of the blank page. After all, we just need the same words that we use every day when talking to our friends and family. Even though we have no problem talking about our favorite subject or passion, it can be hard to shut us up.
Yet for some reason, when it comes to writing about it, something seizes up in our brain, and we start to write in a stilted, false way, if indeed we can start writing at all.
Instead of worrying about your words, the best way to start writing is to just start writing. Writing anything at all will break the bonds of that blank page. Just start writing in the same way that you talk, and you’ll quickly find your rhythm and your natural style; and once you’ve escaped from that brain freeze, you’ll be free to establish your own blogging style.
Person to Person
The most important thing to remember when establishing your blogging style is that people are interested in people. As TV talent shows illustrate clearly and emotionally, the audience is much more interested in the story behind the song than the song itself. And the same is true of almost all aspects of life.
Take a look at the film reviews on The Light, Britain’s fastest growing cinema chain, and you’ll see me using this engaging style of approach. Rather than talking about plot points and performances, I empathise with what potential cinema goers might expect from the film. I also talk about the experience of watching it, how the film makes you feel, and whether it lives up to your expectations.
These are the kind of questions we ask our friends about films they have seen. We don’t ask about the plot, for fear of spoilers; we ask about what it was like. These reviews work because the writer shares his experience rather than simply discussing the details.
Make Them Care
Another example is Henry Tamburin’s blackjack blog on 888casino.com. As a world-renowned expert on blackjack, Tamburin has every right to speak with authority on the game, sounding as self-important and pompous as he wants. Yet for his blog, he chooses to tell us his story from a first-person perspective.
Immediately, he has our attention and empathy. Instead of simply telling us what to do and how to play blackjack, he tells us about how he learned the hard way by losing fast the first time he played, and how he fought back to get the better of the game and walk away a winner.
If Tamburin had just told us the story of his success, we would not be nearly as engaged. Yet by giving us the full rags-to-riches tale, including details like his tiny graduate apartment and his hard-working wife, we find ourselves rooting for him and delighted by his success. Even though he is a world authority on blackjack and other casino games, with regularly published articles, several books and his own website, and he probably has more money now than we could ever dream of, we like the guy.
We like him because we feel like we know him. And we feel like we know him because he chose to talk to us on a very personal level, being honest and open about the kind of problems and situations we can relate to and the kind of full-house dreams we all share.
Build In the Empathy
Go back and read this blog again and you’ll see how much Kevin talks about us and our, rather than them or they. This is a good way to create empathy with your readers and make them feel a part of what you are talking about.
You should always talk with your audience, not to them or at them. Show that you share their feelings and experiences and they will identify with what you have to say more easily.
So, the next time you are faced with a blank screen and challenged to write a blog, look for the personal angle and be prepared to give a little of yourself to gain the trust of your reader.
At the end of the day, whether you are the world’s best blackjack player or just an occasional casino amateur or whether you are the CEO of a company or just a humble customer, it’s important to remember that we are all just people talking to other people. So write like you would talk to them and you’ll be halfway there already.