Blogging has become big business and in a world where content is currency, from what I see quantity over quality seems to be the metric for success. But is authentic blog writing still important and does it have a place in this overcrowded space?
Tools, techniques, and frameworks to pump out as many blog articles as possible are popping up all over the show. I am new to blogging, but certainly not new to writing, however, that doesn’t mean that I am an expert by any means.
In fact, I have learnt so much about new writing techniques and styles in order to keep an online audience engaged, so much so that I regard myself as a novice in this world, and that’s why I am asking this question.
This is not a critical post, it is just me trying to find an answer and my place in the blogging world.
They say that everything you write has already been written, so I gather that it’s the way that you unpack something that makes it authentic.
Let’s jump right into it…
What is authenticity?
The Webster’s Dictionary defines Authentic as “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character”, which I think about sums it up.
So for me authenticity in writing should be a representation of YOU – your personality should shine through. If a friend or family member were to read it, they should hear your voice.
Why is it important to write in your own voice?
Firstly no one can be a better you than YOU!
It also builds trust.
Does what you are writing about matter to you? Forget about the questions in your mind, wondering if anyone will find it useful or if it will make sense or if people will think that you’re a plank… those voices will only lead to you writing something for someone else’s pleasure, and that’s not authentic. In fact, if it matters to you, it will matter to someone else, so it is worth sharing in your voice.
Here’s a good tip: Read it out loud to yourself and picture that you are actually telling it to your friend in a coffee shop – is this how you would sound when you speak with them?
I’ll share a quick story –
Recently I posted a hand-written letter to my nephew and his wife in New Zealand. How many people still write letters in today’s world of email, WhatsApp and Facebook? I guess there is something special and very personal about a handwritten letter. Anyway, my nephew was so moved when he received my letter, he sent me a WhatsApp (go figure) and thanked me. He said that when he read the letter, it was as if he could hear me speaking.
To me this is authentic and there is definitely an appreciation when you see a person’s true self coming through in writing.
My question is…
When you have an affiliate and informational site where you are reviewing products, does authenticity matter? I mean most of the time the reviewer has not even tested the products, and more often than not they have outsourced the research and writing.
My feeling is that if it is a clinical review – like a piece of tech, and it provides valuable insights and helps to save time by eliminating the complexity and need for someone else to spend hours doing research, then authenticity is neither here nor there. Of course, if the person writing the review actually loves the product it does make a better sales pitch!
But if you have an affiliate website that focuses on more personal interests like self-improvement, life coaching, healthy living, and the like, I would feel more comfortable reading something authentic from a person who has had first-hand experience.
How am I finding my own voice?
- I am asking questions and being curious as I learn. This helps me gain insight and see things from various perspectives
- I am genuinely interested in what I am writing about
- Practise, practise, practise! I know that it will take time to develop my writing style
- So I am being patient as I learn
- I am not cutting myself up. I know I will not get it right the first time around.
- I am embracing being uncomfortable, vulnerable and exposed
I robbed myself of this experience!
I do not like to look stupid, and this often robs me of enjoying something new, or even learning something new.
A few years ago I attended Spanish classes – I fell in love with the language when I visited Argentina and Uruguay, and had the notion that I might enjoy a sojourn in the region some time. I enrolled with the hope of acquiring a better understanding of the language.
What I acquired was a better understanding of myself. I did not want to look stupid, so I was disengaged during the course. Imagine a life of being scared to fail or so concerned about what other people think that you do not even try – how does one learn anything new without sticking your head out?
Needless to say I never learnt any Spanish on that course.
A few years later I enrolled in an English teaching class at a local university – this was one of the toughest and unexpected challenges! I was a native English speaker after all.
But I vowed not to make the same mistake as I did in the Spanish classes – I asked questions, even questions that I thought were dumb. Turns out my fellow students often thanked me for asking the “dumb” questions.
I guess this was a watershed moment for me, and I have since not been too afraid to take a plunge into situations where failure is a real option. I have learnt that this perceived fear is a thief, stealing my experiences and learning opportunities.
My point is that it is alright to be fearful and to fail – this makes for a fertile learning ground, and if learning is my objective then it is all good!
“Do it afraid” is a great phrase I have heard recently.
To wrap up, I am learning the whole time – learning things about myself and learning new skills and often the odds of success are stacked against me. But that’s ok! As much as I want everything I do to succeed, most times success is the learning that happens as you fail and adjust direction on the journey to the end goal!
I often tell people that it is more important to do something than do nothing. Even if it is the wrong thing, you can change direction if you’re moving forward!
Looping back to “Is authentic blog writing still important?”
I believe it is, and I think the more new mediums of communication emerge humans will always seek out an authentic connection – a human connection!