Can You Change Writing Styles?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 4, 2010
Last week I was reading a guest blog post on another blog when the writer wrote one specific line: “Get to the point as quickly as possible, say it in as few words as possible, and you’re done.”
And he was. For a guest post I was thinking how relatively short the piece was. Frankly, it didn’t have a lot of personality in it, but I overlooked that so I could think about it some over the weekend. I don’t remember the blog, but I’ve heard and read that statement many times before, and thought it deserved to be addressed.
I tend to believe that we all need to learn how to write for the moment and purpose. As you may know, I do a lot of writing, not only for myself but for others. When I write on this blog, you’re “hearing” my voice, the way I normally speak. When I write on my business blog, sometimes you don’t hear the same type of conversational voice, sometimes you do. It depends on the topic. Actually, even on this blog you’ll see that when I’m talking about something technical, or a step-by-step process, it’s pretty straight forward.
I write for a couple of different industry blogs. One is real estate, and for the most part it’s fairly flat writing because, well, there’s really nothing about real estate that allows for much conversation and deviation except for the news about the industry. Where I differ there is that I don’t just write about the news; I kind of give an opinion about that particular bit of news and then hopefully end on a happy note to encourage people to continue looking to buy. Overall though, it’s pretty straight forward; nothing extraneous.
That differs with a wedding blog I write. I have a lot of fun with that one. It’s a mix of news, recommendations, and opinions. I’ve gotten really good with that topic, and thus I have a lot of fun with it and I put a lot of personality into the writing. Yet it still remains upbeat at all times, as well as instructional. If you saw any of the posts on that blog (sorry, can’t share the link), you probably wouldn’t know it was me if you compared it to this blog because I use a different “voice” for it.
Same thing with writing papers for others, whether it’s white papers or term papers, so to speak. In those instances those papers are very straight forward, no personality whatsoever, because they’re purpose is to explain, not entertain. Also, I know that the person with a term paper is going to have to change up some of the language so it looks like they wrote it; it has to sound like them, and I don’t know those people to try to sound like them.
I think what makes a person’s blog different is how they decide to use their language to enthrall our mental ear so that we see them as unique, entertaining, and worth giving time to. On this blog, I often try to use a storytelling technique when I’m talking about things because I’ve found with my newsletter that people really started sharing it with others, and thus it started growing, when I went to that format. I think we all like stories; who here can honestly say they didn’t enjoy having their parents read stories to them as a child?
Of course, there are times when getting to the point is imperative. If you’re asked a certain question or want a certain answer, you don’t want someone to pontificate for 45 minutes then tell you what you want to know; you want your answer now. That’s one of my gripes with how many people conduct webinars and podcasts, and why the hairs on my neck go up with many of the free presentations that say they’re going to tell you how to do something, then spend hours telling you everything except that to get you to buy something from them. Promising something and not delivering; I hate that.
Just something to consider when you’re writing your blog. To me, this is imminently more important than sitting around thinking about SEO when writing your post. Boring keeps people away; entertain them, and they’ll keep coming back for more. Kind of like adding a video as an entertaining touch: