10 Tips on Finding your Blogging Voice
Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views (http://www.petnewsandviews.com)
I was a print journalist for 12-plus years and three years ago, I made the leap to blogging. (I actually went kicking and screaming, and now I love it.) I blog about pets and wildlife, and have been asked by many in the pet blogging world (there are a lot of us.) about finding and refining your blogging voice. Here are 10 tips:
1. Pick a topic you want to immerse yourself in. I love animals, always had. So, when it came time to blog, writing about animals was my first choice. As a kid, I took zoology courses at the Bronx Zoo in NYC. I’ve done some pet rescue work, and I read everything I can get my hands about animals. You need to pick a topic that you love because you are going to become an expert on it.
2. Micro niche or broader view? Pet News and Views covers pets (and wildlife on occasion). There are mommy blogs, financial blogs, discount shopping blogs, and more. Just think of a subject, and I guarantee you that there is a blog about it.
3. Narrow doesn’t mean limited. You can cover food or just cover a specific diet--like vegans who don't eat wheat or corn!
4. What tone do you want to take? Are you funny? Do you want your posts to be objective or opinionated? Do you want to talk in the voice of your pet? Do you want to mix fact and opinion? The reason my site is called Pet News and Views is that I separate the posts between fact (News) and opinion (Views). I wish my posts would be funny, but that turf belongs to my husband and son in my family. I just didn’t inherit that gene. As a journalist, I had a hard time at first putting myself into my blog. Then I found out that my readers wanted to know where I stood on issues, and wanted to know a bit about me. If you read Pet News and Views, you can easily see where I stand on the issues of animal welfare.
5. Learn from others. Read other pet and wildlife-related blogs and listen to those voices. What is their focus? Do they inject humor into their posts? What is it that you like about these posts? You can learn a lot by reading other blogs.
6. Know your subject intimately. Back up opinion with facts. Talk to experts. Pretty soon you will be considered an expert in your field.
7. Well written copy is essential. Before I hit publish, I proofread to make sure all the typos are gone.
8. Finding Sources: I’m a blogger, not a dog trainer. So when I’m writing a post about dog training, I will call a dog trainer.
Other outlets for finding sources: national associations that deal with your subject matter. The public relations departments of these associations will be thrilled to put you in touch with an expert.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a free service for journalists that puts you in touch with a wide range of sources. http://www.helpareporter.com.
9. Join social networking groups that cover topics in your field. At LinkedIn (LI), I belong to 10 different pet and wildlife groups. I join in discussions, and share my voice with these groups.
10. Know Your Readers. Once you start blogging and appearing on social networking sites, you will hear from readers. Listen to them. I get a lot of great blog post ideas from them.