As a writer first begins creating content, they quickly discover that narrowing the topic increases the growth of their audience. While writing for everyone is the quickest path to oblivion, niching down too far might get you stuck in the weeds.
When I first starting writing online I focused on leadership topics. Over time the content shifted to marketing tactics and eventually to writing. Now, I write about the life of a writer, which intersects with who I am and my life experiences.
This may shock you, but I don’t want to write about writing forever. I want to earn your trust as a reader and have the freedom to write about a variety of things. I am a writer and I’ve got my whole life to do this and explore new ideas.
None of us are one-dimensional. The challenge is what to do as you continue to develop as a creative and embrace change without leaving your audience behind?
This week on The Portfolio Life, Andy and I talk about perspectives on the writing process and maintaining your voice regardless of the topic. Listen in as we discuss being honest with your reader and how to go about developing yourself as a writer in front of your tribe.
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A tale of two coffee blogs
It’s no secret that I’m a coffee snob. I enjoy learning about the roasting process and trying out new brewing methods in my quest for the perfect cup of joe. Recently, I started researching espresso machines and have probably read one hundred different reviews by this point.
Here’s the problem—I can’t remember a single name of anyone who wrote one of those reviews.
While the content is valuable, there’s no worldview, no resonating voice, no personality to engage with. I don’t have a vested interest in a review website because it’s just a resource.
However, in my search for an espresso machine, I might stumble upon a blog written by someone so passionate about coffee that it drips into every post. Maybe they include a few product reviews, but the blog focuses on how coffee brings people together to create community.
Perhaps each post is written in a casual, conversational tone, and the writer sounds like a close friend sitting across the table from you at a coffee shop.
You’d buy whatever espresso machine they recommended, wouldn’t you?
A topic may catch a reader’s attention, but your personality—your voice—is what gains their trust and gives you permission to take them on a journey.
In this episode, we discuss:
- How writing is influenced by where you are versus where you aspire to go
- The irony of not reading blogs about writing
- Choosing what to write about
- Defining your writing voice in a new context
- How to determine how much of yourself to include in your writing
- Why killing 15% of your platform is a good idea
- Experimenting with voice and style over time
- What you need to do to bring your readers along on your journey
- The tension between a topical blog and a personal brand
- Organizing the platform of your portfolio of work
Quotes and Takeaways
- ”Take people with you on the journey so you can write more honestly.” —Andy Traub
- Start with personality and you eventually earn the right to talk about other things.
- Connecting people to a personality builds more trust than talking about what they are interested in.
- The Memoir Project by Marion Roach Smith
- The Authentic Swing by Steven Pressfield
BONUS: Tickets for the 2016 Tribe Conference are now available. To celebrate, I’ve asked the event team to discount the tickets for Christmas. Snag a ticket here for yourself or a friend before the price goes up January 1.
Where do you get your writing inspiration from? What you’ve already done? Or what you’re trying to become? Share in the comments