Finding YOUR Blog Voice - Review #4 - WeBLOG Handbook by Rebecca Blood

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine NH and Maine Broker

The WeBLOG Handbook

Welcome to Review #4 of a series of reviews being done on "The WeBLOG Handbook", by Rebecca Blood.  As has been mentioned in the previous reviews, this book is a great book to read for all the nuts and bolts of blogging.  I'm finding it's a BIG help to me now at this point, now that I've done a little blogging as it's easier to understand and grasp the concepts now.

The previous reviews covered:

"What" is Blogging - Mariana Wagner
"Why" Blog - Ines Hegedus-Garcia
"Making & Maintaining" a Blog - me (Ann Cummings)

This review will cover what makes a good blog by helping you "find your voice" to make your blogs yours.


                "No one can be exactly like me.  Sometimes even I have trouble doing it"
                                                  - Tallulah Bankhead

I think many of us have struggled with the notion of what to write about once we decided we wanted to jump into blogging.  I know I did!  I knew I wanted to try this crazy thing called "blogging", but wasn't sure what to do with it. 

Your own personality will define your blog - your views, things that interest you, even things that annoy you - all of this goes into creating your points of view, which in turn defines the point of view of your blog.  Figure out what the purpose is, or will be, of your blog, even if it's just a loose description to start with, and think about who you'll be writing for.  As you write with regularity, your blog's purpose will become more defined.

Typically, there are 4 main purposes for most people to work to maintain a blog:
     *  Self-expression
     *  Keeping in touch with others
     *  Information Sharing
     *  Reputation Buildling

Self-expression allows one to rant and vent, to be goofy, to brag, etc.  Self-expression can run the gamut of all kinds of posts - anything you can think of.  Every post you make will help you hone your writing skills, and your creativity will shine through.  Having to write regularly increases your confidence in your writing, and by doing so, you tend to become more creative.

Blogs allow people to easily stay in touch with others - friends, family, etc.  Instead of feeling out of touch, blogs can create a sense of always touching those with whom you want to give regular updates to.

In this day and age, blogs are used for anything one can possibly think of.  We do live in the 'information age", and blogs are the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to share information.  Regular bloggers are great at sharing whatever it is that interests them most - politics, humor, community events, etc.  This is a great way to get to know alot about the writer - they're conveying to the world the things that really interest them.

Building a blog to showcase your area of expertise allows you to build a reputation that people all over the world can read about.  By this being your purpose for maintaining your blog, you continually demonstrate your expertise and with that comes being known as an expert in your area and in your profession.  Through regular maintenance of your blog, you can go from being completely unknown to being recognized as an expert.

There are some key components to keep in mind when building a 'reputation-building' blog.

     *  Never publicly complain about clients, co-workers, bosses, etc. - if you wouldn't say it in an interview, DO NOT write about it on your business-related blog.  DO NO HARM to anyone.
     *  Define your audience - think of your blog (and your website) as your calling card to the world.
     *  Keep your audience in mind - awareness of your audience will force you to keep getting better, both in your writing and in what you choose to write about and in what you choose to link to in your writings. 
     *  Experiment with different writing techniques - this will allow you to build up a variety of ways to express yourself that you're comfortable with.

The MOST important point in this whole chapter talks about your audience and what you should NOT be doing when writing posts for your blog.  If you write with the purpose of getting a large audience or lots of comments, you will have lost the focus of your blog and whatever enjoyment you initially got out of maintaining it will be lost.  This sentence captures it perfectly, "The surest way to sabotage your enjoyment of your weblog is to start caring how many people a day look at your site."  Your main purpose should be to harm no one and to not completely offend anyone.

YOU must be your own intended audience - the "audience of one" is the most important principle of being able to keep your content fresh and interesting, and above all else, compelling.  If you add links, are they of interest to YOU?  Is the content you're writing of interest to YOU?  If it isn't of interest to YOU, chances are it won't be of interest to anyone else either.

"Think as you write, and be willing to rewrite until each sentence of each entry says exactly what you want it to."  You have time, and don't be afraid to use a dictionary or a thesaurus.  Keep your posts interesting, both for you and your readers.  Research what you're going to write on.  Search for good links to use - make them interesting for those looking at them.  Don't try to be perfect - you can always insert a correction later.  And always HAVE FUN!

"The distinguishing characteristic of a successful blogger is not that she is consistently brilliant, but that she consistently updates her site..."

                                                     FIND YOUR VOICE and HAVE FUN!!

In case you missed the previous reviews:
BLOG History 101 -- Review #1 - Mariana Wagner
Why BLOG - Review #2 - Ines Hegedus-Garcia
Creating and Maintaining Your Blog - Review #3 - Ann Cummings


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Derek and Mariana Wagner
Wagner iTeam - Re/Max Real Estate Group - Colorado Springs, CO
Wagner iTeam - Colorado Springs REALTORS®
Ann, Wow! Two reviews in a row... I like how informative this one was. A lot of great info. I have not finished this chapter yet, so now I am even more motivated. Thank you. I love the "audience of one" statement. It really makes sense. I like writing about things that I either LIKE or want to LEARN MORE about. Good job Ann!!
Jan 25, 2007 12:29 PM #1
Monika McGillicuddy
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty - Hampstead, NH
Southern NH & the Seacoast Area

Great job Ann on this review ...full of detail and like Marina said the "audience of one"...really got to me as well. Thanks for doing review # 4 Ann you really captured it.



Jan 25, 2007 12:48 PM #2
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Mariana - you're FAST!!  I was still playing around with this and then found your comment.  Thanks for reading and for the feedback.  I felt this chapter made ALOT of sense to me, too.  I have to like what I'm writing about or it just isn't worth the book says, I am my own audience, and if I don't like, I won't be excited writing about it and that will likely show in the writing.

Thanks for the fast feedback!

Jan 25, 2007 01:18 PM #3
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

MoniKa - another fast one and you snuck in while I was replying to Mariana's comments.  I liked that phrase, 'audience of one', too.  And in thinking back on my posts, I have to say that without having read that phrase before, I guess I was writing for me because I had to like what I wrote or it didn't go up for anyone else to read.

Thanks for your feedback and comments!

Jan 25, 2007 01:21 PM #4
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
Think as I write? Why, you are expecting a lot! :-)  TY Ann for stepping up to the plate and more importantly, this is a wonderful review, written at the office or not!  xxxx
Jan 25, 2007 02:25 PM #5
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Hey Carole - thank YOU for your comments!  Yeah, I thought that 'thinking while writing' part might be a bit much!!  ;-)))


Jan 25, 2007 02:55 PM #6
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL


Thank you so much for stepping up and filling in. You did a wonderful job for someone who was on the spot.

My goodness looks to me like you found the VOICE :)



Jan 25, 2007 03:36 PM #7
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

TLW - thank you for your comments and your feedback.  These reviews have certainly been helpful in learning all about more than I knew there was to know - including "voices".

Thanks again,

Jan 25, 2007 04:06 PM #8
Renee Kokoszka
Citizens First Financial - Park City, UT

Do not harm anyone!   After surfing through today's blogs, I just thought that needed to be repeated. 

Many times when I read a blog, I think, "Wish I would have written that." 

Once in awhile, I find one that I think, "Oh my gosh, let me back out of this quick,  I don't want to be caught reading this!"

Your book review was great.  Thanks for sharing!

Jan 25, 2007 06:06 PM #9
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Hi Renee - many thanks for reading, and for your feedback.  If you have an interest, be sure to check out the previous reviews. Those have some great info in them as well, and they'll be several others coming after this one, too.

Thanks again,

Jan 25, 2007 07:00 PM #10
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL

Ann - you have definitely stepped up in the whole sense of the statement.  The voice, the voice....that's is the most interesting concept of this whole blogging thing.  Sometimes we are afraid to let our personality show, but without it, the blog would not be you.  I also agree with the "do not harm anyone" statement.  I was talking to the manager of a major Hotel chain a couple of days ago and mentioned I had written a blog on one of the restaurants in the hotel.  The manager said "I hope it wasn't about the snooty attitude the hostesses have" - although I agreed with the statement...I would have not written a negative blog.  Great jog AGAIN Ann!

Jan 25, 2007 08:23 PM #11
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Ines - thanks so much for your feedback and comments.  I agree about the voice - my voice, your voice - our blogs have to be us otherwise they just don't work.  It you're not you, readers will know and then you've defeated the whole purpose.  The more writing and posting we do, the more comfortable we are letting all of us come through in our writings.


Jan 25, 2007 08:30 PM #12
Denise Shockey
RE/MAX Aerospace Realty - Cocoa Beach, FL
Cocoa Beach, Brevard County Florida Real Estate
Great information and very helpful information.  I am just getting started and this was great. Thank you for sharing!
Dec 05, 2007 02:36 PM #13
Bonnie & Terry Westbrook
Westbrook Realty - Ada, MI
Grand Rapids MI Real Estate
I just found you, Ann, but it looks like a few others have found you before me - 5995 to be exact. Thanks for this review. I am working on "my voice" and appreciate any help.
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Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

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