October 19, 2017

Finding your voice: What every blogger can learn from Frank Sinatra

blogging-finding-your-unique-voiceThe Voice. For those old enough to remember, it is the nickname that defined Frank Sinatra. There were many popular crooners during the time he made music, but none earned the distinction of being “The Voice.” Besides having a stand-out baritone, Sinatra perfected a style of delivering a song that made it uniquely his own – even when covering other artists’ material.

Early in his career he developed a technique for lyrical phrasing patterned after a trombone player in his band. That is how he found his unique voice.

That is also a lesson for blogging today. One challenge bloggers and content marketers face is finding new topics to write about. With all the content being generated daily, it seems there is nothing new to create. However, as Sinatra proved, you can cover any topic by giving a unique perspective in your unique voice.

In your blog posts, voice expresses your personality through vocabulary, punctuation, grammatical choices and the organization and rhythm of paragraphs.

Finding your blogging voice

Fortunately you do not have to wait for fate – or a trombone player – to inspire your voice. The Yahoo! Style Guide offers these tips for developing a voice for your blog or website:

1. Know your audience. Finding the right voice is essential for connecting with your audience. Think about who they are and what they expect to find when visiting. What are they searching for? For a visitor seeking to purchase, where are they in the decision process? Create personas to help you define them in detail.

2. Put your messages in context. Along with knowing your audience, you must also consider the purpose of your site – selling, informing, generating leads, etc.  Your voice must reinforce it.

3. Consider your brand look and feel. Your voice comes through in more than writing. It needs to be apparent in all elements of your site, such as the appearance of graphics, images, page layout, color and type selection.

With an understanding of audience, purpose and brand, you can define the voice characteristics that convey all three. To achieve a unique voice you need to choose four or five descriptors. You can start with the examples in the table below or brainstorm your own set of adjectives.

voice-characteristics-for-bloggingThe last step is to create a voice chart. This can take the form of a simple three-column table which lists your voice characteristic adjectives, a description and practical applications. This exercise helps you fully conceptualize how you will keep your voice consistent when writing.

Putting your voice to blog content

There are few new or breakthrough ideas bloggers write about today. But you can create unique content by putting your perspective and voice to topics of interest to your audience. Successfully covering a popular topic in your blog is like a recording artist covering someone else’s song. Your personality and unique voice make it your own.

Recently a friend told me about a great Frank Sinatra song stuck in her head. She couldn’t remember the title, so she recited some of the lyrics hoping I could name that tune. I didn’t recognize it from any Sinatra song I know. Then she sent a link to this YouTube video. It was his cover of Stevie Wonder’s iconic “For Once in My Life.” See how “The Voice” re-interpreted the song to make it his own.

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