Finding YOUR Blog Voice - Review #4 - WeBLOG Handbook by Rebecca Blood

Real Estate Broker with RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine NH and Maine Broker

The WeBLOG Handbook

Welcome to Review #4 of a series of reviews being done on "The WeBLOG Handbook", by Rebecca Blood.  As has been mentioned in the previous reviews, this book is a great book to read for all the nuts and bolts of blogging.  I'm finding it's a BIG help to me now at this point, now that I've done a little blogging as it's easier to understand and grasp the concepts now.

The previous reviews covered:

"What" is Blogging - Mariana Wagner
"Why" Blog - Ines Hegedus-Garcia
"Making & Maintaining" a Blog - me (Ann Cummings)

This review will cover what makes a good blog by helping you "find your voice" to make your blogs yours.


                "No one can be exactly like me.  Sometimes even I have trouble doing it"
                                                  - Tallulah Bankhead

I think many of us have struggled with the notion of what to write about once we decided we wanted to jump into blogging.  I know I did!  I knew I wanted to try this crazy thing called "blogging", but wasn't sure what to do with it. 

Your own personality will define your blog - your views, things that interest you, even things that annoy you - all of this goes into creating your points of view, which in turn defines the point of view of your blog.  Figure out what the purpose is, or will be, of your blog, even if it's just a loose description to start with, and think about who you'll be writing for.  As you write with regularity, your blog's purpose will become more defined.

Typically, there are 4 main purposes for most people to work to maintain a blog:
     *  Self-expression
     *  Keeping in touch with others
     *  Information Sharing
     *  Reputation Buildling

Self-expression allows one to rant and vent, to be goofy, to brag, etc.  Self-expression can run the gamut of all kinds of posts - anything you can think of.  Every post you make will help you hone your writing skills, and your creativity will shine through.  Having to write regularly increases your confidence in your writing, and by doing so, you tend to become more creative.

Blogs allow people to easily stay in touch with others - friends, family, etc.  Instead of feeling out of touch, blogs can create a sense of always touching those with whom you want to give regular updates to.

In this day and age, blogs are used for anything one can possibly think of.  We do live in the 'information age", and blogs are the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to share information.  Regular bloggers are great at sharing whatever it is that interests them most - politics, humor, community events, etc.  This is a great way to get to know alot about the writer - they're conveying to the world the things that really interest them.

Building a blog to showcase your area of expertise allows you to build a reputation that people all over the world can read about.  By this being your purpose for maintaining your blog, you continually demonstrate your expertise and with that comes being known as an expert in your area and in your profession.  Through regular maintenance of your blog, you can go from being completely unknown to being recognized as an expert.

There are some key components to keep in mind when building a 'reputation-building' blog.

     *  Never publicly complain about clients, co-workers, bosses, etc. - if you wouldn't say it in an interview, DO NOT write about it on your business-related blog.  DO NO HARM to anyone.
     *  Define your audience - think of your blog (and your website) as your calling card to the world.
     *  Keep your audience in mind - awareness of your audience will force you to keep getting better, both in your writing and in what you choose to write about and in what you choose to link to in your writings. 
     *  Experiment with different writing techniques - this will allow you to build up a variety of ways to express yourself that you're comfortable with.

The MOST important point in this whole chapter talks about your audience and what you should NOT be doing when writing posts for your blog.  If you write with the purpose of getting a large audience or lots of comments, you will have lost the focus of your blog and whatever enjoyment you initially got out of maintaining it will be lost.  This sentence captures it perfectly, "The surest way to sabotage your enjoyment of your weblog is to start caring how many people a day look at your site."  Your main purpose should be to harm no one and to not completely offend anyone.

YOU must be your own intended audience - the "audience of one" is the most important principle of being able to keep your content fresh and interesting, and above all else, compelling.  If you add links, are they of interest to YOU?  Is the content you're writing of interest to YOU?  If it isn't of interest to YOU, chances are it won't be of interest to anyone else either.

"Think as you write, and be willing to rewrite until each sentence of each entry says exactly what you want it to."  You have time, and don't be afraid to use a dictionary or a thesaurus.  Keep your posts interesting, both for you and your readers.  Research what you're going to write on.  Search for good links to use - make them interesting for those looking at them.  Don't try to be perfect - you can always insert a correction later.  And always HAVE FUN!

"The distinguishing characteristic of a successful blogger is not that she is consistently brilliant, but that she consistently updates her site..."

                                                     FIND YOUR VOICE and HAVE FUN!!

In case you missed the previous reviews:
BLOG History 101 -- Review #1 - Mariana Wagner
Why BLOG - Review #2 - Ines Hegedus-Garcia
Creating and Maintaining Your Blog - Review #3 - Ann Cummings


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Ann Cummings
Portsmouth NH Homes - Service With a Smile!
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine

Ines - thanks so much for your feedback and comments.  I agree about the voice - my voice, your voice - our blogs have to be us otherwise they just don't work.  It you're not you, readers will know and then you've defeated the whole purpose.  The more writing and posting we do, the more comfortable we are letting all of us come through in our writings.


January 25, 2007 08:30 PM
Denise Shockey
Cocoa Beach, Brevard County Florida Real Estate
RE/MAX Aerospace Realty
Great information and very helpful information.  I am just getting started and this was great. Thank you for sharing!
December 05, 2007 02:37 PM
Bonnie & Terry Westbrook
Grand Rapids MI Real Estate
Westbrook Realty
I just found you, Ann, but it looks like a few others have found you before me - 5995 to be exact. Thanks for this review. I am working on "my voice" and appreciate any help.
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