Mastering your unique voice in writing is key to making a lasting impact, and honing your voice is your path to influence and innovation in your niche.
Today’s guest post is by Amanda Reseburg, Writer — Otter PR
If there’s one thing that’s expected of thought leaders, it’s writing. Thought leaders use writing in order to get their unique message across to target audiences, prompting engagement and influencing thoughts and behaviors.
If you’re looking to establish yourself as a thought leader, but the very idea of writing induces bad memories of middle school English class, all hope is not lost — one of the biggest hurdles to being an effective writer in the thought leadership space is honing one’s own unique voice.
Being a great thought leader doesn’t mean you have to be the most grammatically sound writer. In fact, those thought leaders who inject a bit of their own personality and tone into their writing are more likely to make a bigger impact.
So, how does one hone their unique writing voice? The short answer is that it takes practice, awareness, and a little skill. However, once your voice is solid and comes naturally to you, the benefits are sure to follow in the form of better engagement and overall success.
Write the same way you speak: naturally
When writing as a thought leader, it can be tempting to try and sound as formal and authoritative as possible, but a tone that is too formal or too far removed from how you and your target audience speak conversationally could turn people off and lead them away from your message.
Depending on the outlet you’re contributing to as a thought leader, you can get away with being more relaxed with their content. You can even try your hand at adding slang, interjections, or asides as you would in normal, spoken conversations, which lends authenticity to your writing and allows the audience to connect more with you as a writer.
Although this way of writing may feel awkward at first, your unique voice will begin to emerge the more you continue to write, which leads us to the next major key point.
Always keep writing
There’s an old joke that has an up-and-coming musician on their way to their “big break” performance in New York City. When asking for directions, they ask a passerby, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Their response is the punchline: “Practice, practice, practice!” And the same is true of writing as a thought leader.
You cannot possibly hone a unique writing style or voice without a lot of practice. Before trying to secure guest posts or op-ed opportunities as an aspiring thought leader, you should have your own space where you can post your writing and form your particular voice through trial and error.
Like honing any craft that requires skill, every thought leader should also take time to analyze past content and re-read what they have written. This will allow you to pinpoint where a unique voice is coming through or where you can tweak content to allow for more individuality.
Remember to consider your target audience and the outlet’s readers
As a thought leader, the ones who read your content — and where they read it — matter deeply. Your voice should always remain unique, but your voice will shift depending on who you’re writing for and where the writing will be published. For example, content written for Entrepreneur Magazine will differ greatly from content written for a private blog or social media post.
The target audience you’re writing for matters just as much. Some target audiences for your content will be more receptive to a relaxed vibe, while others may not. It’s up to you to consider whether or not having their unique voice out there — front and center — is worth running the risk of alienating some people.
Focus your engagement points
The saying “jack of all trades, master of none” should not apply to you as a thought leader because you will need to develop your voice within a niche area. Jumping from topic to topic will only serve to confuse your target audience, who will eventually look elsewhere for more refined guidance.
Remember that there are thought leaders in every space imaginable, from healthcare to the arts, to parenting and business — to name only a few. Analyze your strengths and make sure everything you put out in your writing buoys those strengths and puts you in front of the audience looking for this niche leadership. By focusing on where you truly shine, your voice will be stronger and more influential.
Thought leaders are not a new concept, but in this age of social media and a crowded influencer space, it has become more important to stand out from the competition. By honing one’s unique writing voice, one can target an audience effectively and make an impact that will resonate.
Amanda Reseburg is a writer for Otter PR, a public relations firm that specializes in media relations, reputation management, and crisis management. She lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and three daughters.
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