Have you ever read a book, blog post or magazine article that you enjoyed more on account of the way it was written than the content itself? Me too.
The one that always stands out for me is Dolly Alderton’s Everything I know About Love. The content is gold but the niche MSN lingo we used as teenagers and the passive aggressive emails she includes are what truly make this book one of my favourite reads of all time.
Ultimately it’s all down to Dolly’s writing style. It’s sarcastic, self-deprecating and also extremely sensitive at times but above all else, it’s relatable which is what makes it so memorable like good writing should be.
A distinctive writing style like this one is something that comes naturally to a lot of people but can also take others years to perfect. That’s why I’ve put together a list of questions to ask yourself if yours is still a work in progress.
Who are you writing for?
You’d talk to someone your own age about fashion very differently than you would do to someone older than you about marketing so before you do anything else, it’s important to establish who your target audience is.
From there, you can really start to build your brand’s personality as a way of communicating with them. Are you professional and informative, friendly and approachable or somewhere in-between the two? Once you’ve answered those questions and determined which characteristics are most appropriate for your audience, make sure they come across both in the kind of language you use and the structure of your writing.
Whose writing style do you admire?
Copying someone else’s writing style is never going to work. Doing your market research and comparing different writers is a great way to get inspired though.
Try and come up with a list of 3-5 people whose writing you really enjoy and then look at the common themes between them. Maybe it’s the humorous side of their writing you enjoy or the way they make complex terminology easy to understand. Either way, do some reading and figure out what it is you value in good writing and think of ways to apply it to your own.
How can you make your writing personal to you?
Blogs and social media captions often lend themselves to a very personal, individual writing style and incorporating the way you speak into that can definitely make yours unique to you.
Think about the phrases that you use on a regular basis, even record yourself in conversation if you have to, and try to translate the little quirks that come across in your speech into your writing too.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Finding your writing style is really all about experimentation. Once you’ve narrowed down your target audience, how you should be speaking to them, the other writing styles you like and how you can make sure it sounds like ‘you’, get creative!
No one’s expecting you to nail your writing style in your very first post and it’s almost certainly something that’s going to change over time anyway so don’t be afraid to have fun with it and try new things.