Writes of Passage for a Blogging Neophyte – Part II

Did you miss me?  I had every intention of posting this a week ago, but then life got in the way.  But here it is, Part Two of my series for new bloggers.  I know, you’ve been waiting in anticipation, checking in every day, only to be disappointed that there was no post from me.  Your wait is finally over!

Finding Your Blogging Voice

Finding my blogging voice was probably the second hardest part of starting my blog.  How do I want to present myself to my readers?  I started thinking of all the pitfalls of choosing the wrong voice long before I started to blog; one of the reasons I kept putting it off.

I had been lurking on several blog sites for about a year before I started my own.  I noticed fairly quickly a pattern of post voices from certain bloggers.  Some bloggers only posted about how they hated other REALTORS, their clients, and all consumers.  Other bloggers posted as if they were news reporters, no emotion – just the facts ma’am.  Some would just steal other people’s blog posts and publish them as their own, ventriloquists.  And still others were very cheerful, but not entirely helpful or informative.  As I started to gravitate toward certain blog sites and bloggers I began to see a pattern for what I like.  I tend to lean toward the straight-talkers.  The bloggers that present a clear message and have their own spin on the blogs topics.  I like to read the blog in the voice of the blogger.  So, what was my voice?  Who did I want to captivate?  Who do I want to become my "blog groupie?"

I think there are some very important questions to ask yourself before you start writing blog posts.

1.  Who Is My Audience?  – What type of reader do I want to attract?  The consumer?  The fellow REALTOR?  The "I’m angry as all heck" guy?  Or the "Everything is Just Peachy" guy?  – I quickly came to the conclusion that I wanted to attract the consumer that wants to learn about the market and is not afraid of honesty.  I did not feel that my blog site should focus on REALTOR to REALTOR issues and I stay away from those.  There are other avenues for me to express my professional concerns outside of my blog site.  Do I attract other REALTORs to my blog?  Absolutely, but I do not write for them.

2.  What Emotion Do I Want to Portray? – The worst for me is reading a post and sensing negative emotions from the author.  Angry writing does nothing for me.  It actually turns me off and I will stop following an angry blogger.  My #1 Rule for Blogging – Don’t Blog When You Are Angry or Sad!  You may regret what you wrote.  I think emotion and passion are important aspects of any blog, but you have to be careful what message you are sending to your readers.  I try to make sure I am in a positive and stable frame of mind when I sit down to write a post.  I don’t want to be tuned out because I come across as an emotional waste basket.

3.  Do I Get Personal?  There are some topics that a real estate blogger should just stay away from!  These would include anything that violates the Code of Ethics!  But, I also believe that allowing your reader to get to know you is very important.  I had a major break-through with this when Lisa Sanderson MeMe’d me.  (A MeMe is a blog post that another blogger has asked you to write that answers specific questions about yourself).  Writing my first MeMe allowed me to loosen up and just be me.  So, I still stay away from sensitive issues like my personal political views, my religious views, and keeping my family life as private as possible, but I understand the importance of having my readers learn who I am.  I want my readers to hear Me through my writing.

Finding your blogging voice takes time.  But, once you find it, you will feel a sense of relief.  All of your blog posts will start to flow.  You will find it easier to pick topics, easier to write, and easier to sustain the energy it takes to be a successful blogger.  So, here’s to finding our voices and keeping our voices.  May as many people hear us as possible!

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9 Responses to Writes of Passage for a Blogging Neophyte – Part II

  1. Ned Carey says:

    I am like you in that I don’t bring lot of my personal opinions on my blog. I am just too conservative to want to rock the boat or risk turning off potential clients or associates.

    However writing about something controversial, or taking a controversial position is a way to get readers and get readers involved in the discussion through commenting.

    I am enjoing your articles and lool forward to the next one.

  2. Sarah: Your voice is beautiful, congrats on finding it! :)

    This article is an excellent starting point for any would-be blogger. The only thing I would add is, just do it! While you should absolutely think about all of the things suggested here, do not feel like you have to perfect your voice before beginning. Your voice will change and grow as you mature as a blogger, so take the plunge and write!

  3. Jay Thompson says:

    Another great article Sarah!

    “Finding your voice” is important, but I agree with Lisa’s comment above. Don’t dwell on it, just write, and your voice will come (and will indeed grow and change over time).

    I’m a little different in that I write for both consumer, and fellow agents, and even selfishly just for myself. Interestingly, many of my clients have said they enjoy some of my realtor-realtor posts the most as it gives them insight and understanding into the industry. I could probably make an argument that it shows a passion for real estate that some consumers would appreciate. But if one chooses to go this route, it’s important to strike a healthy balance between audiences.

    I agree completely to not write when you’re angry. Sometimes I’ll write in that frame of mind, but not publish. Almost without fail I’ll read it the next day, delete it, and be glad I didn’t post it.

    I do write when sad sometimes. This weekend was a perfect example as I wrote about the death of one of my daughters friends at the hands of a drunk driver. Yes, this had nothing to do with real estate, but selfishly it was therapeutic for me, and I think some in the community as well. I was indeed an emotional wastebasket. If someone is turned off by that, oh well, that’s probably someone that wouldn’t be a very good fit as a client anyway.

  4. I agree with you both. My voice has definitely changed since I first started posting. And I do blog when I am emotional. The hardest post I’ve ever made was about my father. I cried for 30 minutes after I hit the publish button. It was healing though.

  5. Jeremy Hart says:

    Your post about your dad hit home for me as well, Sarah. I had written about the loss of my father over a year ago, during the shootings at Virginia Tech, and talked about how the events happening locally had brought up deep, unresolved issues of my own. That voice you found is what keeps people like me coming back – sure, I want the facts on what’s happening in Fredericksburg because it allows me to talk intelligently with clients from in and around that area, but more importantly that voice allows me to know you. It engages me to read more, and to come back.

    Knowing your voice helps readers know you, and it allows for greater agent-client relationships. Keep it going.

  6. George McCumiskey says:

    Thanks for all the info about becoming a blogger having a specific voice. As a writer myself, I need to simply be myself. I rage on sometimes. The possibility of not being able to sell my house for a decent price due to the political mess in US does that to me. heheh.

  7. David says:

    I’m a little different in that I write for both consumer, and fellow agents, and even selfishly just for myself. Interestingly, many of my clients have said they enjoy some of my realtor-realtor posts the most as it gives them insight and understanding into the industry. I could probably make an argument that it shows a passion for real estate that some consumers would appreciate. But if one chooses to go this route, it’s important to strike a healthy balance between audiences.

    I agree completely to not write when you’re angry. Sometimes I’ll write in that frame of mind, but not publish. Almost without fail I’ll read it the next day, delete it, and be glad I didn’t post it.

  8. Allen says:

    This article is an excellent starting point for any would-be blogger. The only thing I would add is, just do it! While you should absolutely think about all of the things suggested here, do not feel like you have to perfect your voice before beginning. Your voice will change and grow as you mature as a blogger, so take the plunge and write!

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