Blogger’s style guide: Five tips on tone

  1. Be yourself. Write in the first person and let your personality show through – TIP: this will happen naturally if you choose to write about something you are interested in or enthusiastic about, otherwise this will seem like homework (and who wants to read homework?).
  2. It can take time to find your voice, especially if you are not used to writing in this more conversational way, but reading other blogs will help and practice makes perfect. Having trouble? Try pretending you are emailing a knowledgeable friend or colleague. And read it out loud – it shouldn’t jar.
  3. Avoid jargon – you might think it sounds clever but jargon is a no-no for readers. By all means show your expertise and authority, but explanations in plain English will be welcomed by, and more engaging for, your readers.
  4. Invite conversation – fortunately, you don’t have to know it all! Ask questions, think out loud, be humble and say that you’d be interested to hear what others think about >whatever you are writing about<.
  5. Have fun – this is not an annual report! You can still be a corporate expert, but be a human one.

Don’t worry, it takes time – here’s me wrestling with online tone and etiquette two years ago.

[FYI: Last year I wrote a Blogger’s Style Guide to help people in the organisations I was working for start writing posts and publishing them on the company blog. Many had never written anything beyond an email before but they did know their subject far better than I, so they just needed a good briefing in style, tone, structure and so on. This is that starter kit for company bloggers, consisting of  10 mini-posts in all.]

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