When starting out blogging, it can feel strange, unnatural even, to be expressing yourself in a new way. The same is true when standing in front of a video camera and when podcasting, though I have no experience of the latter. This initial awkwardness is eventually overcome when you find your voice online.
Your online voice is your presentation or writing style, your unique approach to your topic and even your choice of stock photos to illustrate your point. It’s what makes you, you.
When I first began shooting videos, I was totally feeling my way as I went along. There certainly wasn’t much intentionality about it (is that even a word?!). I made mistakes and still do, but I am now much more confident in my own style and technique, as well as the technical aspects of video production and posting.
Perhaps you are struggling to find your own voice. Here are 5 ideas to help you along:
1. Be yourself
This should go without saying but it is so tempting to try to replicate something we have seen, heard or read online that works. But even if your subject matter is the same as many other blogs out there, no-one else has your take on the topic. You are unique and so will your voice be. So many blog posts I read are similar to others I have read in the past, but the author’s unique voice makes the content fresh and valuable again.
2. Stop beating yourself up
A colleague in the financial planning world recently confided that her first attempt at video was, in her words, crap. This same adviser is carving a platform for herself on national TV and radio, so I’m certain that her video wasn’t crap at all! She also trains other advisers so I’m fairly sure her presentation style is more than acceptable. She was concerned that looking away from the camera to check on her notes looked bad, but frankly, I doubt it was even remotely a big deal. I used to think the same myself until I learned to put my notes right under the camera lens and to glance at them in a natural pause in my flow. In short, the thing she thought was ruining her video was likely no big deal, and she needed to relax and let her natural charisma and charm come through. I haven’t seen the final video yet, but I know it’ll be fine. Go easy on yourself; everyone else we be much less critical!
3. Get input from others
Find someone you can trust to be honest and not just tell you what you want to hear. Ask them to watch/listen/read your post and critique it for readability, tone and content. Don’t be offended if they make suggestions but instead thank them and take their comments on board.
4. Learn from others
This really doesn’t need to be in conflict with No. 1 above. Don’t copy, learn. For instance I can’t watch any video now without thinking about how they made a particular edit or title sequence. My favourite is Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals – I just love how it is put together. What can you take from your favourite writer or podcaster and apply to your own content?
5. Be patient
It can take time to find your voice, but when you do, your content will be lifted above mere communication and become uniquely yours. Persevere when you feel like quitting. Define and then re-visit why you started blogging in the first place. Read the book that first got you inspired to write or shoot videos (mine was Crush It, by Gary Vaynerchuk – affiliate link). Keep going, your audience deserves it.
How have you overcome your own doubts about your online voice? What are you struggling with right now?