You hear it all the time. Blogging gurus making 6 and 7 figures a year preach that you have to add personality to your writing. You probably agree. You have read wonderful columns and frequented websites that ooze personality. You enjoy reading the content you find there, and can’t wait for new posts to appear.
The problem is, you know that your own writing is bland. Your research may be spot on, your information is factual and informative, but you have to admit that it is just not fun reading. What do you do? How do you “add personality” to your writing? The first thing you need to do is understand the strict definition of personality.
Personality – noun – “the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.”
The key here is “distinctive character”. What characteristics and qualities make you who you are? What do your friends, family members and coworkers say are character traits that are uniquely you? Once you can identify them, how do you infuse them into your online writing? Practice the following proven tips and strategies for making your online writing memorable and enjoyable, and your unique voice and style will shine through.
Write More Often
You can’t add your unique voice to your writing until you write. You need to write often and regularly. Do you remember the first time you tried to ride a bicycle? It was tough. It seems like you would never get the hang of it. But you kept trying. Through repetition, and after making a lot of painful mistakes, you became a bike rider extraordinaire.
The same happens with writing. The way the human brain works rewards repetition. Studies have showed that consistent repetition turns conscious effort into unconscious habit. The more you write, the more you learn. So write everywhere online. Write emails to your friends every day. Start a blog if you don’t have one, and post daily.
If you don’t have your own blog or website, create guest posts for other sites in your niche or area of expertise. Don’t worry about the quality of your content. Just write. Write about things that you are passionate about. That is the easiest way for your unique personality to shine through. To discover your voice and infuse it into your online writing, start writing more often.
Read More Often
Sometimes becoming good at something is as easy as copying someone who has already achieved the level of success you are striving for. You can do this by uncovering great writing talent online. So start reading, anything and everything. Focus on great content that is relevant to what you will be writing about. You will eventually find quality writing talent that you truly enjoy reading.
Learn by example. How is the content structured? How was it written? Is it intricate and detailed? Does it provoke a lot of emotions? Is it written in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd person? Does it engage readers and ask them to comment or respond? Read as frequently as possible, find content that does what you are trying to do, and write the same way.
Engage the Reader, Ask for Some Action
Great writing involves the reader. Ask a lot of questions when you write online. Reward your readers for leaving comments on your posts or for signing up to your email list. Make your writing a two-way conversation, and not a one-way discourse. Make sure to include a lot of “back-and-forth” when you write for your online audience and you will find your readers enjoying and responding to your unique style and voice.
Write With Pen and Paper Every Day
Some of the most influential and unique writers swear by this trick. Something magical happens when you break out a paper and pen or pencil and actually write by hand. Everyone’s technical style of writing is different. Your physical act of writing is different than everyone else on the planet. So is your personality. They both show up when you take pen in hand and write on paper.
Do you need proof?
Look at handwritten content composed by several different people. Look at your own. The differences are easy to see. That is because when you write with pen and paper your personality somehow travels through your hand into your pen and down onto your paper.
If this tactic is used by the greatest writers in the world to develop a unique voice, it can certainly do the same for you.
Read Your Writing Out Loud
Copywriters specialize in creating content that sells products and services. A good copywriter can craft a piece of content that creates a strong impulse in the reader to follow a desired course of action. One of the writing tactics employed by the greatest copywriters who have ever lived is to read their writing out loud.
Take a piece of content that you have written which you believe is pretty darned good. Read it out loud. Listen to the natural pauses and the way your content flows. Listen to the words you use. Identify the “voice” that is coming through your writing.
Odds are, even with a great piece of content, you will find several aspects that you want to change after you have read it out loud. You can use this for other writing as well. After you have read a piece of content that really enthralls and engages you, one that makes you want to come back for more, read it out loud.
Employ the same strategy as before. Pick it apart. Where it really moves you and gets you involved, what did the writer do? How was it written? Why does it flow so smoothly? Truly listen to what you are reading, whether it is your content or someone else’s. This often times reveals opportunities for you to turn something drab and factual into content that is unique and emotional.
Add Personality to Your Writing Without Writing at All – Add Personal Pictures
Experts in the field of facial recognition say that no 2 human faces are anywhere close to identical. Two people may look similar, but there are subtle changes and differences noticed by the human brain. This is why you should always add personal pictures to your website or blog. At the very least, include one professional looking head shot with every web page or blog post you publish.
There is a chance that you may be cringing right now.
That is because most people do not like their own pictures. People don’t usually see themselves as they are seen by others. And regardless of whether or not you like how you look, other people can identify with you. They will notice your hairstyle, your smile and other physical characteristics that they can relate to, so always include a head shot of professional quality with all of your online writing.
Do the same with your pets and hobbies to tell your readers exactly who you are. If you are a cat lover, your affinity for felines will be easy to see if you take a picture with your favorite ball of fur. The same is true if you collect stamps, windsurf or run marathons. A few simple pictures of you doing the things that you enjoy helps express your personality in a way that makes others with similar interests want to know more.
Tell a Story
This powerful writing strategy works wonders for infusing your unique personality into your online content. Everyone can tell a story. You do it all the time. Something happens to you or you notice an event that makes an impression, and you tell someone about it later. That is how easy storytelling is. You are simply relating some content in a story-like fashion.
Something marvelous happens in your readers’ minds when you tell a story. Children, adults, men and women, young and old alike of all cultures love hearing stories. There’s just something special about storytelling that keeps your readers engaged and interested.
So the next time you sit down to write a piece of online content, tell a story. If you can’t make a story out of what you are intending to write, start with a story that weaves its way into your content.
Be Yourself, Warts and All
No one is perfect. Truth be told, all human beings are far from perfect. We all have problems and failures, issues and imperfections. People identify with and respond to other people that they can relate to. They also connect with those that they respect, and those that they have compassion for.
So be yourself when you write online.
Talk about your fears and your successes. Mention heartbreaking failures and toot your own horn if you are proud of something you have accomplished. What you perceive as a personal weakness is a great opportunity to connect with your reader. People buy from others that they know, like and trust, and in some cases the actual product or service they are purchasing is secondary. Be totally transparent about who you are and what makes you unique, and find a way to work this into your writing.
Write Like You Talk
The great Elmore Leonard is known as one of the most popular modern-day fiction writers. His writing appeals to so many people from all walks of life because he knows how to write dialogue. He is famous for saying, “If my writing sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” He also preaches that you should write “like people talk”.
This means sometimes using incomplete sentences. Like this one. And this one. It means throwing out grammar rules and just writing conversationally. Write like you are talking to someone, and not in a formal manner. Everything you learned in English class is fine if you want to write a piece of great literature, but it will absolutely kill your engagement online.
Speak to One Person
Your blog or website may get thousands of unique visitors every day. So you may be tempted to talk to a large audience when you write. This is a mistake. You should always write to a single person. Write as if you are sitting across a coffee table from your ideal prospect or client. Use the words you, your, yours and yourself frequently.
This is the way you would speak to an individual in a face-to-face conversation. You will find people responding to your message and connecting with you when you start writing with an individual in mind, rather than a group.