The (My) Guide To Finding Your Blogging Voice

This is a guest post by Tony Teegarden.

Unless you walk into the blogosphere as an already seasoned writer, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to go through the, “Damn, I’m trying to find my writing style” hump.

Experienced bloggers call this finding your voice.

This is a guest post by Tony Teegarden.

Unless you walk into the blogosphere as an already seasoned writer, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to go through the, “Damn, I’m trying to find my writing style” hump.

Experienced bloggers call this finding your voice.

Why A Unique Voice Is Important

“People can get information online from just about anywhere, but they are more apt to want it from someone they know, like, and trust.”

Let’s face it: there are a shit ton of blogs on the ‘Net and you have to stand out amongst the noise of other mediocre and sub par bloggers somehow. If you want to attract a loyal audience that resonates with you and your message, you had better sprinkle some a lot of personality in there to rise above the noise.

If you want loyal readers:

  1. Stand for something
  2. Provide good, quality content (helpful & useful)
  3. Be unique in your voice (delivery)

Some benefits of a unique voice are:

  • You attract readers of like mind
  • You become more engaging
  • You build more trust with your audience
  • You have a higher chance of turning readers into customers
  • You have a lot more fun doing it (enjoy the process)

Here’s the thing: you’re not looking for everyone to read your blog, just the people who believe what you believe and who resonate with you in the way you say it.

A few loyal and rabid readers goes a lot further than 1000 StumbleUpon views that are on and off your blog within a matter of 2.5 seconds (I’ve have/had both).

I can assure you if you haven’t started writing yet and you’re scared, or you are writing and you think you suck, or you’ve been writing for a while and you’re just plain frustrated because no one is sticking, relax. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. (I know a few grammar teachers would kick my ass for that sentence, but alas, it’s my voice.)

Starting to blog with a unique voice from day one is a lot like expecting to know what a preposition is at the age of 14 months. You just wouldn’t expect a 14 month old baby to start using structured sentences & proper grammar, so why would you expect to be writing in a completely unique voice immediately as a blogger?

You have to grow and mature.

What’s “Your” Personality?

Identifying you’re own personality can go a long way. Now this isn’t Myers Briggs so I don’t want to hear about it in the comments. This is for the sake of chunking down and finding a starting point for your voice.

Four major personality types:

  • The Dolphin – just wants to have fun
  • The Whale – wants to help people or be a part of a cause
  • The Shark – bottom line focused whether it be the dollar or the end result
  • The Sea Urchin – analytical type who needs all the facts and figures

Now we all have a little of each of these within us, but which one resonates with you the most?

Identify it, amplify it in your writing and explore how it feels.

I’m not going to get into niche selection, customer avatars, etc. This is just about you finding your unique blogging voice. The more real you are with yourself the more you’ll settle into your niche with your own identity.

Just Start Already

Your voice isn’t as important in the beginning as just getting started.

Not writing because you don’t know how is like saying you won’t start talking until you know how.

When I started to blog, I was then, as I am today, extremely passionate about self growth and personal development. I didn’t give a lot of thought to getting it right. I just wanted to get it going. I took inspired action.

I just went head first into it and started blogging my ass off. Content just flowed out of me.

I can’t even tell you how horrible my first 6 months of writing was though. Grammatical errors were like a hail storm of bullets at the OK Corral. An English teacher probably would have just shot me on sight and god forbid I tell you this but, the entire blog posts for the first few months were written in bold italics like this because I just thought it looked cool.

Yeah, not so much.

But you know what? People dug what I wrote because of one of the 3 foundations I mentioned.

It was all good content that met the readers’ need so they were a little forgiving. Umm, OK, they were A LOT forgiving.

Write Like You Talk

I think one of the biggest compliments I’ve ever received was from one of my friends I met through Twitter. After reading my blog for around 6 months and then meeting me in person, she said, “You come across exactly in person as you do in your blog.

With a grin I was like, “Um yeah, is that weird or what?” We both laughed.

I know I’m gonna get some crap for this next statement but eh, so be it.

Here’s the thing. In the beginning you can attempt to write all proper like by using correct grammar and proper sentence structure, however that can easily stifle who you are. The last thing you want to come across as is a vanilla sounding robot. Not that I have anything against vanilla, but it’s just kinda…well, plain. Ya know?

Be who you are and write like that to start.

Now depending on your niche you don’t want to come across as a total ass clown either like, “I are a better personal development blogger cause my bad grammar is bein unique at bloggering.” Seriously don’t do that. Just use your head.

One of the things I learned as a classically trained violinist was that you can learn all the theory you want, however some of the best musicians learned it by practicing a lot, then threw it out the window and allowed who they were to flow through them via their music.

Don’t worry, there is plenty of time to read up on how to be a better writer, but frankly you learn by doing it. I’m writing this post in my voice and I’m sure your voice will be and should be much different depending on your actual personality and the niche you’re in.

People are going to eventually meet you if you’re doing this blogging and social media thing right, so be YOU.

Tweak It Along The Way

Seriously, if you saw my first 6 months of blogging you’d be crazy inspired. I don’t care how bad you think you are right now, I had you beat.

If you’ve already started your blog and you’re in the midst of growing personally, or changing and tweaking your style, that’s perfect. You’ve already taken the leap. The good news is that you can only get better from here.

The more you do it, the more stuff makes sense, and the more stuff makes sense, the more you can start implementing what you learn.

Add more personality or up it a notch as we say.

Grow and don’t be afraid to transform. Take your readers with you on the journey. The most loyal ones will appreciate you for it because they feel they are getting to know the real you and growing with you.

I even made a post about my transformation where I announced 3 reasons not to read my blog (anymore). My audience loved it and I got a sense of, “Wow, sweet! More Tony but just stripped down and real.

Oh and I’m not a writer by the way. I’m just passionate about personal growth and development.

If you’re passionate about your subject matter and you desire to make an impact, start letting it show in your writing!

Take some risk.

Bonus Fact: Wisdom Comes Through Risk

One cool thing for me in the past few months is that I’ve really started to allow myself to be me in my writing. I was writing for a long time to be congruent with the personal development niche. My thought was other people don’t swear in personal development so I shouldn’t either.

Frankly, it didn’t feel right anymore.

The more I let my true personality shine in my writing the more natural it is for me to drop an “F” bomb every now and then. When I do, it’s congruent with what I stand for, how I want to get my message across and what my message is about.

No you don’t have to drop any “F” bombs to find your voice.

I believe your voice only comes in time and it’s something that only growth as a person, consistently writing, and experience will promote. Don’t be afraid of letting your audience enjoy that journey with you. It’s a bonding experience that you’ll rob you and them of if you don’t.

The more personality you allow onto your blog pages and the more real you are with your audience, the more they will embrace you and your message.

Don’t blog like anyone else, they’re already taken. Just be you. Even if you’re still in the process of finding who that is.

Tony Teegarden (We think) is a personal development blogger at Tony Teegarden Dot Com where he challenges the status quo of what is and explores with you what can be through social entrepreneurship.

About David Risley
David Risley is the founder of the Blog Marketing Academy, a 20-year veteran blogger and online entrepreneur. His focus? Building a reliable, recurring business around his "lifestyle" and the lives of his students. He has this weird obsession with traveling in his motorhome around the country with his wife and 2 kids. David also likes to talk about himself in the third person. In bios like this one. Read his full story.
  • Thanks for the advice,
    I just started a blog recently but haven’t gotten a lot of feedback so I had nothing to go off of for a while but after reading this I went back through my posts, rewrote, and I think it did help me be a little realer and tap into the persona I want to share with others through my blog. But of course I am sure I have a long ways to go. Here’s to it!

  • Mark Mobley says:

    Along these same lines I had a similar realization on the Enemy formula, Find out who you really are. Or as Shakespeare put it, “Know thyself.” Most people think Doubt is having two choices. They don't realize that they are already one of the choices and that are looking at a possibility of a change. Most people have not pushed the edge and found out who they really are. And it is as you have said. This can only be done by taking risks.

  • I have always approached economic point of view the digital “whale” and his own voice. It was def a fun adventure and you try tweaking every post I make it better are absolutely right. One thing I struggled with a bit, I find that to establish a group of people and trying to talk do not reach everyone – because I really love to educate.

  • FANTASTIC post! And great timing… yep, as a blogger I'm feeling a bit wobbly. You give me hope! πŸ™‚ The encouragement is greatly appreciated. It's time for me to simply say what I have to say and quit fretting over what my reader might 'hear'. πŸ™‚

  • Raam Dev says:

    Great stuff! I'm curious to hear your thoughts and/or advice for people who genuinely speak less than they write.

    I'm an introvert. I spend a LOT of time by myself, writing, reading, and researching online. I've been blogging for the past 8 years (regularly for the past 4) and it almost feels like my online voice is evolving and developing faster than my in-person voice/personality.

    Any thoughts on the importance of real-world socializing as it applies to developing an online voice? Am I making it more difficult for myself by not actively trying to develop my real-world voice and personality?

  • Ralph, we actually have a little of all of those traits & personalities in us. It's a very simplified version of the Meyers Briggs version. (I just like to keep it simple for folks first entering into the understanding of personalities.

    So it doesn't surprise me that you have both as highly recognizable characteristics. The real power comes from operating from within the middle of them all. Not leaning towards just one. Many folks fall into the trap of thinking the “Shark” is the most powerful quadrant when it's the “middle” that allows you to listen with empathy to all and thus connect with them all.

    As far as generating cash flow with your blog? Read Davids stuff for sure and I'd suggest joining his “Inner Circle” program. I know David personally and I can assure you he won't let you down with ways you'll be able to accomplish your desired goal.

    You have to help yourself before you can help others at your full potential. Seriously check out his Inner Circle. I believe it will be time and money well invested.

  • Ralph says:

    I think I'm a whaleshark. I really want to help people but I do have specific goals that need to be reached. My blog is all about helping but it is so time consuming that it needs to generate income for me to continue to do run it successfully. Just curious, what do you think of the “post as” field that Disqus is now using instead of of name/email/url fields? I'm not a fan of it.

  • Hey Nunzio great comment brother.

    Have you done the “defining your customer avatar” yet? Lots of marketers like Eben Pagan talk about defining that one person you're reaching out to. There's a whole process to it. Now even though you will attract lots of other people, you're writing is more personable because you're always sitting down to write to that “one person.”

    I've gotten down to this and it really helped me cancel out the noise of trying to be everything to everyone. I'm not saying it's not important to want to educate everyone. Hell I do it, but when I write, I write to that one particular person so that I'm “speaking in my own voice.”

    You can probably google “defining my customer avatar” or something like that and you'll find something that shares the formula.

    Hope this helps!

    Oh which youtube video are you referencing? One of mine or one of Davids?

    • Mel says:


      You can probably google “defining my customer avatar” or something like that and you’ll find something that shares the formula.” – leads straight back to this post πŸ™‚

      My two biggest issues are (a) consistent writing (b) kowing what I stand for to write more authentically rather than just commenting or me-too-ing

      • Hey Mel! Thanks for sharing your two challenges.Β ConsistentΒ writing is something that can be handled 1 of 2 ways:Β 

        Way 1. Just decide it’s going to be something you do on a specific day or time during the day. Even if what you write sucks, you have to condition yourself to do it. No way around that. You don’t get muscles if you don’t work out πŸ™‚
        Way 2. Something I learned to do lately is record yourself speaking (I use QuickTime Player on my Mac) and then send it to someone on Fiverr to have transcribed. I found a few GOOD people who will do up to 20 minutes of audio for $5.00. You can make time to speak every day so this way may work even better. Edit it after and clean it up a bit and done! You could have 2 or 3 posts out of that alone!Β 

        As far as knowing what you stand for I’d say you really need to watch Simon Sineks TEDtalk video (Google it) he did on the Golden Circle. Absolutely stellar 20 minutes and a great place to start and wrap your head around what you stand for. I’ve never seen anything better.

        You can also look at what your life demonstrates currently to see what you stand for. It’s hard to not see the obvious when you really look for it. Even if you don’t like the answer it gives you a place to start and to refine.Β 

        Hope that helps!Β 

  • Nunzio Bruno says:

    There are a couple of things that I've been doing since the start that you mentioned that I had no idea were positives. I've always approached Financially Digital from the point of view of the “Whale” and in my own voice. It's def been a fun adventure and you are absolutely right on the tweaking I try to make it better every post. One thing I struggle with a bit is I guess finding that set group of people to talk to and not trying to reach everyone – because I do really love to educate. Great YouTube video too by the way, I just finished watching it and gave it a Twitter shout out πŸ™‚

  • Awesome CJ. Can't wait to read it.

  • And I agree πŸ™‚

  • Alfred Wilmer says:

    In simple words, a innovative market strategies is the HOW and WHY of a marketing plan. Marketing strategies need to be based on good plans, without which you will lose direction and focus. Here are a few tips for creating market strategies.

  • I do not like what people will think, say or do to respond to my message that I write my best articles. First, this desire to assume risk.

  • I think it is all about being yourself and leveraging your own personality

  • That's a fact. I've got some of the most awesome subscribers ever and
    have been with me since I started.

    I think Disqus allows the moderator to set how deep they can go.
    David? Lol

  • LOL @ your stumbleupon traffic example too. I've had that also. 1 awesome subscriber is better than 10,000 hits from SU. Straight up. Plus, I've wondered how deep Disqus will nest comments. Let's try to break it πŸ˜‰ ha.

  • Haha so true!

  • Michael Martine told me a while back it just doesn't make sense to run a business doing something you don't love. If you're gonna run a company…even a really small one, you better love it. Otherwise, why take on all the extra responsibility and headaches? If you're gonna hate what you do, just get a job. At least you'll have a steady paycheck (sort of) haha:-)

  • You nailed it Ryan and thanks!

    You know nailed it when you said, “I realized that speaking from the heart attracts like minded people who appreciate what I have to say.”

    The minute I started doing that people connected with me for who I was, not what I was pretending to be.

    I felt congruent and had a lot more fun doing it. Oh and I like to provide a shit ton of value.

    Great comment brother. Thanks again!

  • Christian I agree, I was petrified to completely let go and be myself. “F” bombs and all. I felt I was “supposed” to sound proper. Based on what? I don't know but quite frankly It just didn't “feel” right and you know what? YES I did get mad damnit. I didn't get into this online blogging thing to get in another Box!

  • Thanks for your feedback Mars. I told David when I sent this over that I don't think i know how to write a non Epic post haha.

    I admit I'm having a lot more fun now that I've “found my voice” and I'm looking forward to pushing the boundaries of what's possible. Thanks again brother!

  • Ah, very nice. I feel ya. Maybe it's a confidence thing for a lot of us. Being yourself is tough sometimes. You gotta get MAD πŸ˜‰

  • I was just talking to David about that today. Focus! It's tough to spread
    yourself so thin on so many things and think you'll put 100% into each one
    of them. Guest posting has it's definite benefits but it's tough to do it
    all the time I believe.

    Phases and focus is the way to go!

  • Mars Dorian says:

    Hey Christian,
    I just re-read my comment: The whole sentence should go: it takes even more courage to promote your own voice (show how you really want to be), thanks to social conditioning (because it told you to fit in and act like everyone else.)

  • I'm interested what you mean by saying it takes “…courage to promote, thanks to social conditioning.” Do you mean it takes courage to make offers, sell stuff, etc? If so, I agree 100%! Social conditioning goes a long way toward preventing that.

  • Right on man. Yes guest posting is awesome. I go in phases and can only seem to focus on one thing at a time these days!

  • Ryan says:

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for sharing your story πŸ™‚

    Taking risk is a key. It takes courage to find your voice because in the beginning it feels like going out on a limb.

    My experience has been that when I don't care what people will think, say or do in response to my posts I write my best articles. First this felt like risk taking. Over time my mind calmed down because I realized that speaking from the heart attracts like minded people who appreciate what I have to say, which has been the case for my blog.

    Ryan

  • Mars Dorian says:

    haha, long-ass but valuable article. It really does take time to find your own voice, and it takes even more courage to promote, thanks to social conditioning. It's a lifelong process that only gets better with time, but it's ridiculous fun once you find your core…

  • I was originally inspired by seeing you do it so much not long ago. Thought
    I'd pass it forward πŸ˜‰

  • You and I are certainly on the same wavelength. You also remind me I need to guest post more often. Lessons learned πŸ˜‰

  • Thanks brother πŸ˜‰

    Yeah I think that was the biggest thing or me and personally branding myself as me. Great summary:

    “When you get past the mentality that you have to be something you're not…that's when great things can start happening.”

    You rock man. Thanks!

  • Mike CJ says:

    The interview was for the next edition of Beyond Blogging, which should come out in October.

  • F-bombs! Haha. Tony you know I like your style. This is a great commentary on the real beauty of blogging. Those of us new to it equate it much too strongly to journalism or other writing styles we're already familiar with. But blogging is it's own medium. When you get past the mentality that you have to be something you're not…that's when great things can start happening.

  • Gurl says:

    Its my pleasure to share πŸ™‚ I don't think any of the “writers” could take issue with your guide to finding one's voice. But I shall check back after classes and see what everyone else has to say πŸ™‚

  • Thanks CJ! I'm glad you dug it.

    Quite flattering that Seth had said the same thing. I really dig Seth's work and I have to admit he's got it right in a kick ass way. No such thing as blocks of any sort. When it's what you do, it's what you do.

    Awesome insight and congrats on the Seth interview! I can't wait to hear it!

  • Haha a pile of goo! I felt the same way until I realized I had created my own box because that's what I thought “personal development” people were supposed to act like.

    I got over that and it's a lot more fun to write now. Get it spicier for sure πŸ˜‰

  • I've done a lot of writing in the past, but it's still taken me time to find my blogging voice. I was so used to boxing myself in to please editors and clients that my blog writing was a bland pile of goo at first. It's still a pile of goo, but it's getting a bit spicier πŸ™‚

  • Mike CJ says:

    That's the first time I've ever done that – I read the whole post in my reader and didn't work out that it wasn't David writing until I came here. Nice work Tony on finding the voice of this blog.

    I really liked the fish references – I'm a Barracuda by the way.

    “Write like you talk” worked for me. Nathan and I were lucky enough to interview Seth Godin the other day. I loved this from him on writer's block:

    “Writer's block? Have you ever heard anyone tell you they have speaker's block? Or a plumber who has plumber's block? If you write like you speak, you'll never suffer with writer's block, because you can always speak.”

  • Good point Jenn, “The only way to find it is to get out there and use it.”

    I've found that to be true at least in (my) case. That's why I titled it The (my) Guide, simply because I'm not a “writer” per say although I have done some studying and of course applied it.

    I'm waiting for an experienced writer to pop in and give me a different perspective. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the share and kind words!

  • Gurl says:

    Hey Tony,
    Great points about finding your voice. In truth, the only way to find it is to get out there and use it. At first you will suck…it's almost a guarantee. But you will get better with practice. Or so I've been told, and I am beginning to see it in myself a bit. Excellent post, as always, my friend. Looking forward to more πŸ™‚

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