One key to influencing people on your blog is the ability to present information in a way that builds likeability. People are more likely to agree with, follow and buy from those they like.
Blog writers can score higher likeability – and engagement – by developing the right tone.
How to set a likeable tone on your blog
Voice is an expression of your personality in writing. Tone is the mood or attitude your writing conveys. Setting the right tone is essential to creating likeability with the reader. In David Carroll’s Manual of Writer’s Tricks, he offers the following tips for making readers like you, and your content.
1. Write to the specific audience you are addressing. This is the first rule for any marketing communication strategy – to know your audience. It is no different for the social Web. Make sure you know the answers to fundamental questions about the audience:
- What is their demographic make-up, geography, industry, age, function, etc.?
- What is their education level, social background, primary interest?
- Why are they reading this, what is their motivation, what are they hoping to get?
2. Be personable. Choose words that not only impart warmth and authenticity to your voice, but also communicate that you like the reader. Project friendliness the same way you would in person. There are several ways to create this bond in your blog content:
- Use tasteful humor
- Anticipate their need for details
- Be attentive
- Win approval with modesty
- Ask them direct questions
- Express empathy
- Elicit warmth and genuine emotion
- Show caring
3. Maintain consistency. Keep watch over your choice of language or interjections throughout your blog post to make sure the tone remains consistent. Avoid sudden shifts that may confuse the reader.
4. Place yourself in the background. Beware the “trumpeter effect” of calling attention to yourself. Talk in the first person only when necessary, and never in a boastful or patronizing way.
5. Don’t tell when you can show. Look at your writing to see where you can replace straight narrative with a description that appeals to the readers’ senses. This invites them into the story.
6. Persuade with examples, not opinions. One of the staples of blogging is to take controversial positions and make arguments for your conclusion. This is effective for capturing the interest of readers. However, to win likeability you are best served to provide examples and other information that allows readers to reach conclusions on their own. Let your facts sell themselves and give readers the satisfaction of evaluating them alongside your opinion. Now you have done the job of persuading!
7. Flatter your readers. Treat them as equals. Make them think they are intelligent and informed and you earn their goodwill.
8. Address readers directly. When you use the “you” point-of-view in your writing, you succeed in involving the reader in your story.
9. Avoid stating in the negative. For example, rather than writing “not clean,” write “dirty” in your sentence structure. Human nature is to prefer the affirmative. This has the added benefit of removing excess words that clutter your writing and hinder reading comprehension.
Likeability is influence
You can achieve a likeable tone on your blog by focusing attention on the needs of your readers. When they sense empathy, you establish rapport. That sets the stage for a positive reaction to your words. Once liked, you are perceived as approachable, authentic, credible and trustworthy. All good things! This makes them receptive to your message. In short, likeability equals influence.