Blogging presents a great way to market your practice and improve your website’s search results positioning. 77% of internet users read blogs, and nearly half of all marketers cite blogging as their most vital content marketing strategy. Once you understand the basics of blogging and why it’s so vital to your online marketing strategy, read on to discover seven tips to find your blog’s voice.
1. Really Know Your Audience
Think for a minute about who reads your blogs. Remember, your blog is not a medical journal; it’s a resource for regular people who use the internet. Forget that fancy healthcare jargon and write for your true readers: patients, potential patients, and folks who arrive at your site because a search engine sent them there. If you keep in mind exactly who’s reading your blog as you write it, you’ll be one step closer to honing in on your perfect blog voice.
2. Write Like a Super-Smart Ten-Year-Old
Some say that blogs should be written for a fifth-grader. Well, basically that’s true. The Literacy Project Foundation asserts that half of Americans adults cannot read a book written for an eighth-grader and that 45 million Americans read below a fifth-grade level. It’s okay to be smart, but try to avoid very advanced words. Keep your voice simple and accessible to ensure that everyone understands and enjoys your blog.
How can you tell if your writing is too advanced for your readers?
First, think about your content and its target audience. Since this article is geared toward healthcare professionals, there is an expectation of literacy – that gives us a little more wiggle room. We’re writing simply, yet almost at seventh-grade level. Your most basic articles (e.g., Seasonal Allergy Guide, How to Pack a Healthy Lunch) should be slightly less advanced.
Second, use your word processor to evaluate your blog post’s reading level. For Microsoft Word, enable this helpful aid by heading to Options → Spelling & Grammar, and then selecting “show readability statistics.” Once you complete a spelling & grammar check for your document, Word will automatically display the reading level of your document.
Check out the stats for this blog post:
3. Vary Blog Post Types
Forgo the traditional article to effortlessly simplify your language and voice. Blog post formats such as listicles, infographics, how-to guides, and Q&As encourage less dense, more straight-forward writing. Of course, you need not avoid writing articles entirely. Just make sure when you write them, you have a lot to say about something important, and that your thoughts are well-organized. Otherwise, articles sometimes drag, and you want to keep your voice as fresh, sharp, and concise as possible.
4. Be Warm and Be Informative: Let Your Personality Shine Through
You already know to keep it simple, but let’s discuss a few other ways to really enhance your blogging voice. Think about when you speak to a patient. How would you describe the way you communicate? Hopefully, you speak warmly, simply, and informatively. Try to impart these same positive characteristics in your writing.
There are a million blogs out there. Make sure your blogging voice helps yours stand out. You’ll really enhance your blog voice if you let your personality shine through. Don’t know quite what a written personality – a blog voice – looks like? Consider this example:
Boring, plain voice: Sick patients ask me what they can do to feel better. I tell them to sleep, drink water, and take time off work.
Personable voice: Under-the-weather patients often wonder what they can do to feel better, faster. Consider these three tips: Get some quality rest, stay super-hydrated, and treat yourself to a sick day.
See the difference? Notice that bland, uninspired voice in the first version of the sentence? Avoid that unremarkable voice by being as specific as possible, and utilizing meaningful words, phrases, and examples. Keep a digital thesaurus bookmarked for quick reference.
5. Show Off an Active Voice
Utilizing an active voice captures your audience and animates your blog. Employ active voice as often as possible, and reap the benefits of clearer, more engaging blog posts. Need an example of passive voice vs. active voice? Here you go:
Passive voice: The feverish patient was told to drink more fluids.
Active voice: Encourage the feverish patient to drink more fluids.
Notice how the active voice creates a fluid, engaging, and personable sentence. Take out as many instances of “is” and “are” from your writing as possible. Replace them with active verbs that really sing.
Need a little grammar lesson? Check out this handy tutorial from Towson University to learn a bit more about active and passive voice.
6. Write Like You Speak
You already know to convert your stellar bedside manner into an accessible, bright blog voice. Kick your already strong voice up a notch by employing conversational writing. Feel free to use contractions (e.g., I’m, don’t, can’t) to keep your voice cool and casual. Don’t be afraid to make a joke or throw in a cute pun, either.
Of course, writing like you speak doesn’t mean you should blindly publish your first drafts. Focus on the casual, simple components of spoken communication, then enhance your writing with review and revisions. When you write like you speak and then clarify what you’ve said, you really hone in on your voice.
7. Find That Voice – and Stick With It
Whatever voice you settle on, commit to it. Maintain a consistent tone from one blog entry to the next. A stable voice improves credibility, boosts your reputation as a thought leader, and markets your practice as unified and thorough.
You've Found Your Voice – Now Go Use It
You’re ready to write. Know your audience and write at a reading level that works for everyone. Avoid overly-technical medical jargon. Keep your language warm, personable, and informative. Use active voice whenever possible, and employ casual, conversational language. As you continue to grow your blog, stick with your sincere, active voice – it’ll help you market your practice and generate new leads.