This column is written by Kimberly Turner from Regator (a great tool that gathers and organizes the world’s best blog posts). – Darren
After a brutal summer flu took me down and prevented me from writing last week’s weekly trends post, I’m especially happy to be back to bring you a fresh list of the most blogged-about stories of the last seven days. This week, along with the trends provided by Regator, we’ll be discussing your blog’s tone/voice. We’re talking about something more than first person versus third person or opinion versus hard news.
Think of your favorite blog. What keeps you coming back for more? The subject matter is certainly important, but it’s likely that the blogger’s voice and tone also play an important role in your appreciation for the content. Bloggers whose personalities shine through their writing are often more appealing, engaging, readable, and influential than those who hide their true voices. Read your three most recent posts. Do they “sound” like you? As in, would people who know you well in real life recognize your voice in your posts? Don’t beat yourself up if the answer is no. Maybe purposely adopting a voice that differs from your everyday voice, or maybe you haven’t been blogging long enough to find your writing voice. Give it time and, most importantly, have faith that your personal tone and voice will come with time and practice.
When I was a writing tutor in college, one of my peers who could verbally tell the most hilarious, charming stories you’d ever want to hear told me that he “couldn’t write.” I asked him to put down his pencil and tell me the story he’d told me a few days prior. I started a recorder and let him tell it. He conveyed it in his usual witty way and, when he was through, I stopped the recorder and we transcribed it, word for word. It was utter brilliance. He just needed to stop worrying about sounding “writerly” and start letting his natural tone come through. Let’s take a look at some posts about this week’s top stories that demonstrate the author’s voice:
- Independence Day – The Frisky’s “6 Ways To Celebrate Being Single And Independent This Independence Day!” is an example of that blog’s positive, encouraging, reassuring tone. The post’s suggestions to raise a glass and celebrate by making a new friend or indulging in a craving are cheerful and bubbly.
- LeBron James – Fanhouse’s posts, such as “ESPN Defends LeBron James Special,” are professional, straightforward, and unbiased. While this tone brings less personality than some others, it’s a valid choice for those who want to stay closer to the path of traditional journalism.
- World Cup – Like all of Slate’s blogs, Sports Nut’s tone is conversational but also slightly high-brow. It doesn’t come close to being snooty, but the language (“idée fixe,” “guru of aesthetic purity,” “quixotic displays of good taste”) in “Why all soccer fans should root for Holland to lose to Spain” certainly caters to an educated audience.
- Lindsay Lohan – The tone of ParentDish’s “Opinion: What Went Wrong With Lindsay Lohan” is sympathetic, earnest, and personal—traits that work well on a parenting blog.
- Gulf of Mexico – The Consumerist often adopts a slightly cynical, snarky tone, but “BP Spill Now Spoiling All Gulf States As Tar Balls Hit Texas” takes it to the next level with bonus sarcasm and bitterness…but given the subject matter, they can hardly be blamed for that.
- The Twilight Saga – As evidenced by the not one but two exclamation points in the headline itself, the tone of “Twilighters Own The Box Office! Eclipse Takes In $261.2M Worldwide!” is the same over-excited, enthusiastic, melodramatic style for which Perez Hilton has become famous. Love him or hate him, the man has a distinct voice.
- Michael Steele – When it comes to being controversial, angry, opinionated, and divisive, political bloggers have every other niche beat, hands down. “Michael Ames–Lying Liberal Scumbag” from The Tygrrrr Express fits the mold, complete with “If Michael Ames thought I was fiery in Idaho, he is going to get the Bachmann Turner Overdrive treatment.” Bringing BTO into it is hardcore, am I right?
- Mel Gibson – Unlike the aforementioned angry political bloggers, Feministing is not always full of rage but it is always exceptionally straightforward and to-the-point, as indicated in “Mel Gibson: Bonafide Abusive A$$hole.”
- Emmy Nominations – BuddyTV’s tone is conversational but more importantly, the voice indicates that you are reading the words of a highly authoritative expert, as indicated in “The 10 Biggest Emmy Snubs: Where’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’?”
- The Social Network – Like its sister sites in the Gawker blog network, Defamer’s tone is colloquial, informal, and often tinged with humor. “The Facebook Movie Teaser Trailer 2: Too Fast, Too Serious” is a perfect example of how well this tone can work.
Are you careful to keep a consistent tone on your blog? Share your thoughts in the comments. See you next week!