As part of my Twitter strategy, I’m constantly on the lookout for information to share with my followers. I have set up a few Google Alerts for the topics I want to cover and I receive them once a day. And I’ve noticed something that puzzles me: There is a lot of drivel out there on blogs.
And when I say drivel, I don’t necessarily mean bad or inaccurate information, although there is plenty of that. I’m talking about really bad, inauthentic writing.
There is this one blog (which will remain nameless) that has really good information, but the writing is so bad I never share links to that site. The writing style reads like elementary school English class essays. The sentence structure is prim and proper and often uses archaic words.
Maybe its my training in Journalism, but why must people use big words and phrases when simple ones will do? (My personal pet peeve is using “utilize” when “use” works just dandy.) Sometimes it just seems like folks are hiding behind a mask of proper English, afraid to let their true self expression show.
Anyway, if you want your blog to be personable, readable and attract and retain real people who can become your clients, then you want to write in an authentic way. Here are some tips I suggest for writing a blog that expresses your authentic self and in the process can build a following of prospects, clients and fans.
Write Kinda Like You Talk
When I write posts, I just talk them out and type as I go. Then I read what I’ve written back to myself out loud. Does what I’ve written sound conversational? If yes, then I’ve done what I’ve set out to do.
However, the reason I added in the modifier “kinda” is because a lot of us add in ums, ahs, likes, you knows and other verbal fillers when we talk. You can leave those out and still have your writing sound conversational.
Basically, what I’m getting at here is your blog posts should “sound” conversational, but really be just a notch above in quality.
Know When to Hold Em … And When to Fold Them
I like to think of grammar as more of a guideline than law. There are going to be times when you’re going to want to use less than proper grammar and even a colloquialism or two to express your thoughts. And that’s O.K.
Thomas W. Higginson, an American minister, author, abolitionist, and soldier, once said, “When a thought takes one’s breath away, a grammar lesson seems an impertinence.” And I have to agree with him. Don’t let proper grammar get in the way of expressing your true eloquence.
That said, make sure what you’ve written make sense. Grammar rules were created for a reason, you know.
Take All Grammar Advice with a Grain of Salt
If you are going to develop your authentic writing style, you’re going to need to pay attention to your inner writing voice. Yes, listen to the advice of others but don’t follow all advice blindly (including mine). Take what resonates with you and leave the rest alone.
For more opinion along these lines, you might enjoy reading this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education by Geoffrey K. Pullum: 50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice.