As your business grows and develops, you’ll find your writing style start to shift a bit. You’ll be more comfortable writing for your business, but your voice might shift as you hone in on your niche. And overall, you’ll grow as a business owner.
While it’s important to stay consistent with your messaging, it’s okay to shift your voice and really refine your writing style to give your audience what they need. Here’s how to do that, without losing sight of your voice, your vision and your message.
Review Old Writing
Looking back at some of your old pieces—from the first days and months of your business—might be enough to give you the hives. But this is a big step in the process of growing as a writer.
When I was an elementary school teacher, I’d save my students’ writing from the beginning of the school year so I could show them (and their parents) how much growth they made by the end of the year. Growth happens in tiny increments, and it’s tough to see when you look at it every day. It’s like watching your hair grow. You don’t notice it until you’re ready for a haircut. But comparing a story in May to one written the previous September shows leaps and bounds of growth for the writer and his or her audience.
So dig out those old blogs. Find the first iteration of your website copy. Look back at your first email newsletter. Then read them. (Try to keep the cork in the wine bottle while you’re doing this.) Yes, it might be painful. Yep, you’ll think, “What was I thinking!?” And you’ll probably get a good laugh out of it too. Celebrate in the growth you’ve made!
Got Confidence? Good!
Now that you can see all the growth you’ve made over the months or years, it’s time to take a closer look at where you are now.
Here’s what to make note of:
Who are you talking to? Is your audience the same today as it was back then?
Chances are your business has shifted a bit as you’ve grown. Make sure you are still speaking to your target audience, even if it’s different from when you first started your business.
[bctt tweet=”Your audience has changed since you started your biz. Your writing style should shift too.” username=””]
When I started freelancing in 2007, I worked mostly with education-based organizations: Curriculum companies, a company that created websites for schools, education publishers. My business has changed a lot since then, and my audience has shifted a few times. Today, I work mostly with online business owners and creatives who have been in business for at least a year. So when I sit down to write for my blog, my social pages and my emails, I make sure those are the business owners I speak to. Will others, outside my target audience, benefit from my content? Sure; they’re a bonus!
How do you want your audience to view you?
When someone clicks on your blogs or opens your emails, what message do you want to send? I’m not talking about what you might want to teach them or what lessons you want them to come away with. I’m talking about the message they take from you. I mean, what will they think about you, as a professional?
I know the general theme is, “Do you,” and “Don’t worry about what others think.” And while that’s usually a good position to take (to a point), you don’t want your audience to think you’re shady or uneducated or flighty. You want them to see you as the poised, well-read professional you are.
When you create content for your business, make sure that’s the message that comes across—loud and clear. Your content should look and sound like you and should deliver a message that is valuable. So you become known as someone who produces quality content.
[bctt tweet=”Your content should look and sound like you and should deliver a message that is valuable.” username=””]
Now Get Consistent.
You need to be able to put all of this into action, consistently, across all platforms—your blog, your social channels, your emails and anywhere else you’re publishing content. (Guest blogs and podcasts, anyone?)
Consistency can be the trickiest part of the equation, and I get that. Especially if you have someone helping you with your content. But it is possible.
When you read a newspaper or magazine, which is written by many different writers and edited by a team, you’ll find that most writing elements are consistent from piece to piece. That’s thanks to a style book, a document that spells out the rules for that publication.
(Uuugh, rules.) But here’s the great part: It’s your business so you get to make up the rules. This week in the Social Boss Society Facebook group, we’re talking about how to get started. Make sure you’re a member of the group and sign up here to get access to the worksheets you need to get on the right track!