When starting a new blog, it’s a good idea to put some thought into who you’ll be speaking to. Your target audience will play a vital role in the type of content you produce, of course. But it also plays a role in the tone or voice you use throughout your writing. How you address your readers, the type of language you use, and the level of authority you leverage all will vary depending on your site type, your subject matter, and your audience.
Factors like demographics play a role as well. No matter who you are speaking to, however, you will need to land on a voice for doing the talking. And that’s precisely what we’re going to cover here today.
Why Tone Matters
The tone of voice you use in your blog posts matters because it dictates how you’ll be relating to your audience. It also showcases who you are as a company or brand. It lets your audience know just exactly who you are upfront. And the beauty of it is you don’t have to come right out and say it. Your tone shows your readers what you’re about. And it comes through in a variety of ways including:
- Vocabulary choice. The words you use in your posts can tell a reader a lot about you, from your education level to your life experience. It can even tell readers about your hobbies and passions. Being particular about the words you use is a great way to give your blog’s voice an identity — even if that identity is separate from yourself as a person.
- Reading level. How easy your content is to digest can bear a lot of weight in determining how readers react to your content. It can also factor into your site’s SEO score. Sticking to around an 8th grade reading level is typically your best bet to make your content universally accessible. And there are plenty of online tools that aid in this endeavor, including Readable and the Readability features included in the Yoast SEO plugin.
- Point-of-view. Who is speaking in your blog posts? Having an understanding of that and making that clear is essential for creating a consistent voice. Some blog owners opt to keep things formal and refer to readers and themselves in the third person. Or, they might instead choose to speak more colloquially and use first or second person. No matter what you pick, keeping the point-of-view consistent is a good idea.
- Personality. There are occasions where a strictly professional tone is warranted (and we’ll discuss it in detail below). But a lot of the time, the reader’s eyes will glaze over if you keep your voice too stodgy. Showing off a bit of personality through irreverence, humor, or colloquialisms can engage readers and encourage them to keep reading.
Types of Blog Voices or Tones to Consider
As you might’ve guessed by now, there are several types of voices to consider for your blog posts. Let’s examine a few of them now.
Striking a professional tone isn’t a bad thing. It can show your audience that you mean business and that you have some important things to say. Posts written in this way lack fluff and don’t include any comments or interjections for added personality. In fact, posts with a professional tone often lack personality, instead favoring an “everyman” quality.
Corporate blogs often choose this blog voice because it’s easy to stick to, works for all subject matter, and can be adopted by multiple writers fairly easily.
Another option is the conversational tone. It’s also described as casual and could be viewed as the opposite of professional. Not that it strays into inappropriate territory, but rather that it is filled with personality. A conversational tone is like one that you’d have with a friend or acquaintance. You might use slang, abbreviations, or even selected instances of texting language to communicate.
This tone is more often than not written in the second person (but can be in the first person, too) and tends to focus heavily on “you,” the reader. It centers the reader and makes them feel important. It can also make the reader feel as though they’re being given privileged information.
This voice or tone can also be described as inspiring and its main intention is to uplift the audience. This can be through direct inspiring words or phrases or through an overall message of hope. The tone might incorporate elements of a conversational tone as well but the underlying voice here is rooted in promises, the future, and potential.
A blog post written with a motivational tone might say something like, “You can set up a new website in 30 minutes!” or “Achieving your fitness goals is within reach.” It’s meant to inspire you to do more and be more.
Blogs that adopt a silly or funny tone don’t take themselves too seriously. In fact, they revel in irreverence and that can be an extremely engaging thing. It’s not going to be an appropriate fit for all blogs, of course, but a silly tone can remind readers to have fun while accomplishing their goals. It can give them a laugh as they relate to what you’re saying.
Along with conversational words and phrases mixed in, a funny blog voice may also incorporate memes or GIFs to drive home major points.
An authoritative voice is all business — even more-so than the professional tone. But it doesn’t always work for business sites. Why? Because a tone that commands this much authority isn’t always workable for making sales. Instead, it’s a good fit for purely informational sites. Health institutes, research facilities, and other professional organizations may find this tone to be just what’s required to demand respect.
Sometimes you just have a zest for life and that’s okay! An excited tone may also be described as enthusiastic and encompasses content that speaks to readers with zeal. You might be fond of exclamation points. And by adopting an excited tone, some of your enthusiasm might just rub off on your readers.
Conveying excitement doesn’t work for every audience. In fact, it can be downright annoying to some. But it can be a good choice for blogs centered around fitness and lifestyle topics.
How to Find Your Blog’s Voice
Now that you know some of the blog voices you can choose from, you can get to work settling on what will work best for your blog.
To start, ask yourself the following questions:
- What industry does your target audience primarily work in?
- How old is your target audience?
- What level of education do they have?
- Are you speaking to a consumer (B2C) or another business owner or employee (B2B)?
- What gender does your audience mostly identify with?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can move on to addressing a few other concerns. Figuring out the following can help you shape your blog’s voice as well:
- What is your target audience’s biggest problem? This is sometimes referred to as their pain points. Understanding what your visitors are struggling with gives you an opportunity to provide solutions. Knowing how to meet the needs of your visitors and potential customers aids in determining how to speak to them.
- What do you want to accomplish with your content? Teach something? Offer timely information? Encourage people to buy something? Having a goal in mind helps you understand how to address your readers in an effective way.
Let’s say you’re blogging to support an e-commerce fashion business. You’ll likely want to go the conversational route to relate directly to your readers. And since you’re trying to sell something, at least some of your posts should be motivational to encourage readers to act, i.e. make a purchase.
Any number of combinations and configurations will work. Just knowing what you need to say to your readers (and who they are) is enough to figure out how to speak their proverbial language.
What’s Your Blog’s Voice?
Hopefully, you now have a clearer understanding of what goes into selecting a blog voice. And we’ve offered up a few examples to make the decision-making process easier.
No matter who your audience is or what the purpose of your site is, how you ultimately choose to address your readers will play a major role in how your content is received. Be sure to take time landing on the right choice.