Etiquette: Writing for Social Media and Blogs
If you’ve ever tried to find out the best way to write for social media and blogs, you’ve probably stumbled upon a lot of posts about listicles, “How to” articles, and what else Buzzfeed is currently doing. And while Buzzfeed is amazing for puppy content (which I need almost on the daily), it’s not a great way to structure your lifestyle blog. That’s because we go to certain sites for quick hits of entertainment and distraction from work. We can read those pieces of content quickly, close that tab, and go back to work without feeling guilty.
We didn’t waste that much time, right?
While we might be invested in an article, it’s harder to feel invested toward a certain writer on Buzzfeed. Not sure why I’m harping on Buzzfeed (pupppiiiiessss, heart eyes, swooning), but quickly consider this. Do you know anyone who writes for them? Would you recognize their name if you saw it right now? Probably not. And this is because we are not invested in them. We’re invested in the content. But, when it comes to your blog, your social media, and you, it’s very different. When you’re small, you need that thing that sets you apart. You want people to crave your content so much that they seek it out.
Tiers of Content
When I think about the blogs that I follow, there are different tiers of requirement. First, there’s straight up content. Puppies, fashion, health: things like that. Magazines can offer this sort of thing, and we buy new copies of InStyle every month because we like their ad-to-article ratio and we want to learn about fashion and beauty. Then, the second tier is personality. Going back to fashion magazines, you probably have a favorite one. But there’s something that makes you choose Vogue over Bazaar, right? Or, to make this easier, there’s something that makes you choose Domino over Better Homes and Gardens. The personality of Domino is a little more modern. A little more risk-taking. Maybe a little more accessible. BH&G can be a little more luxurious, more aspirational. And I’m sure their ideal client is different from Domino’s.
Think of magazines as a big round-up, whereas a fashion blog with one blogger (or editor) offers a specific point of view. You can choose either way, offering your personal opinion or keeping yourself a little more hidden from your blog. But, you do have to know what your audience is coming to you for. When it’s you, the cult of personality takes over and does a little of the heavy lifting. When it’s the content, you better be on pointe.
I can’t say this enough, but attitude is so important when you write. Blogging and social media are very heavy with the written word, and words can be misconstrued. Sure, Instagram Stories can help you show off your personality without analyzing every little thing you say, and I think that’s why YouTube is so popular. But, if you’re relying on the written word, you need to know how you come off to people.
Writing as you speak doesn’t always work, because there are things like body language and the tone of your voice that help people pick up on your meaning when you speak. Those things are missing in the written word. So, what could have been cute and funny comes off as rude and inconsiderate in a poorly-phrased Instagram post.
I mean, there’s a reason that writers have agonized over the right word and phrase for their books.
To sum up, there are so many ways of getting to the heart of what you want to write about. Ultimately, the best option is to be authentic. “Authenticity” doesn’t mean sharing every little detail of your life, but it does mean being honest to yourself and who you are. If you’re not that into fashion, don’t try to mimic those Instagram fashion bloggers. If you have a great sense of humor, use that in your writing. So many people try to emulate what they see on other people’s blogs, and that just makes you sound… boring. Be yourself, explore the things you love, and you’ll develop a strong voice that people want to hear from.