Finding and Maintaining Your Blog’s Voice by Christine Harkin

Notes from  Christine Harkin‘s talk at WordCamp SF 2014 on “Finding and Maintaining Your Blog’s Voice

Official description:

Finding your blog’s voice isn’t as simple being honest, honoring the audience’s interests, and crafting the best tone and structure for a story; except that maybe it is. Trace the evolution of my blogging voice through personal and professional blogs, group blogs, corporate blog ghostwriting, and blog awards. Hear stories of how writing and design choices, gaffes, and observations become blog voice. Because, in the end, finding your blog’s voice is about both a journey and a destination.

Finding your voiceMy notes:

  • Naptimewriting.com; editorplease,com
  • This process is individual.
  • Unpacking the title:
    • Finding = search quest journey;
    • Maintaining = awareness and planning
    • Yours  = totally mine
    • Blog = somewhat frequently updated web content
    • Voice
  • 23 million hits for “finding your voice”: we are all individuals
  • Blog voice doesn’t have to perfect and not forever
  • Write the way you talk(caveat) But you don’t talk the same way to clients and friends. Not using jargon and abbreviations
  • Share what you know(caveat) . You are also sharing what other people know
  • Tell the truth as you know it (caveat) . It is dicey: forever or not.
  • Voice is not about topic: Tina fay’s and Chris Lema’s style is different no matter the topic.
  • What you bring to a topic is perspective, personality and experience: these together is your voice
  • Author voice can be wry, dry. It gives clues of what you are
  • Voice: WHY you choose to say what you do (passion)
  • HOW you choose to convey your truth (style)
  • We are creating something that can only come from you
  • Copyright notices can be changed, see theblogess.com, thebeardedirish.com, hyperboleandahalf.com
  • If you go all Hobbesian on us, we take away your Internet.” naptimewriting.com
  • Voice = expression, visual and verbal, of how and why you blog
  • Examples of photoblogs: 500px.com , jamesnord.com, stuckincustoms.com, theanimatedwoman.com
  • The HOW and WHY of voice has to be honest. Really honest.
  • An early post of hers: way too long, honest and “me” and it worked.
  • Paper highlighted her post: she was drunk with power.
  • Being genuine is all you can bring
  • Maintaining voice is simple if you write what you know, the way you talk, and write
  • “Find out who you are and do it on purpose” – Dolly Parton
  • She started to blog to prove her brother wrong.
  • Why will you blog? What do you have to say and how will you say it?
  • Two months after she started her favorite author died. She grieved publicly. She thought she would lose her readers and worried because people wouldn’t want to read it. People awarded her for being raw and real. On her personal blog
  • She has a deep interest for her industry too. But it is different. Talking about death there would be career suicide.
  • She has multiple voices and its OK. If you have a different HOWs and WHYs it can work.
  • Should you edit? Did you put every pictures you took in an album.
  • Editing is for the audience. That’s why you have to edit it.
  • Post about loving audiobooks – changed it to a secret love letter that the paper books cannot know about it
  • “The first draft of anything is sh*t” – Ernest Hemingway
  • “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.” – Arhtur Plotnik
  • Blogs exist for two reasons: because we want to move people to action and/or we want to connect with people
  • When your HOW/WHY changes sit down and think about it. Kill your blog and start a new one.
  • QA
    • Introduce the guest blogger and then let them go with their voice.
    • Groupblogs have their own voices, set them up visually differently, e.g. bylines. About page is front and center. She does it for literature blogs.
    • Legalese is different font than the content. Set them visually and linguistically apart.

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