Finding a Voice

Yesterday, I was on a panel for the AMA Phoenix meeting on "Leveraging B2B Marketing Technologies."

What it really came down to was blogging, podcasting, Wiki/collaborative technology and permission email marketing.

I was the blogger on the panel, and the AMA chapter in Phoenix is going to post video, so I will be able to post that when I write a bigger piece.

Two things that I want to highlight, though. The last question to each panelist was "in 60 seconds, what is the takeaway for your area?"

I said just three words: Pubsub, Technorati and Blogpulse. Then, went on that while it is not necessary for a company to blog (or podcast or video podcast), it is extremely important that they know what is being said out there about the company, about the executives. That if you are not taking part in the conversation, at least know about the conversation.

After the panel, though, I was talking with James Peggie from Elexir Systems' Search Engine Marketing Blog - who already has blogged the event - along with Jennifer Deurloo also from Elexir, Nice Moseley (who arranged the whole event) from DirectResults, and Andrew Lahser, an attorney that has a patent law blawg and podcast at Patent Pod. The conversation came around to finding a voice for your blog (or podcast).

It is an interesting point - when you begin to blog, you really do not have a voice. There are blogs that I read (or cringingly read) that are just parroting information and have no real voice. However, those blogs might be well read, but they provide no real value to the conversation because they are voiceless.

Then, you can scan the blogs at PR Blogs, and you can hear the students' voice. They might not be seasoned bloggers, but they have a voice because they are adept at the online world, growing up with IM and The Facebook and Myspace.

How did I develop my voice? I write in a conversational tone, and while I like to say all blogs are character blogs, because we can not be this way in the real world. But, my tone on the blog is pretty similar to the tone in real life - it's my voice, with less of a nasal twang.

How do others find their voice? By blogging or continuing to blog. Eventually, if you are being true to yourself, a voice will appear. And, that is what makes a blog worth reading - an intimate tone.

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  1. Neat post, Jeremy.

    Yes, if you are true to your self and not "putting on airs," than who you are comes out in your blog. Your voice. Your tone (usually). Your style. Your personality.

    Though not all companies should blog, blogging does help give companies a voice. Even a personality. But, it must be sincere. Other than the interaction of the sales team and others in the field, and CS reps., companies don't really have another way to really show their personality. Right?


  2. I have to admit that I never knew what blogging was and never imagined the impact or importance it has until Robert's class at Auburn. And, honestly, if someone had told me of blogging, I would have left it to the so-called computer geeks who sit in front of their screens all day.

    Now, thankfully, I'm forced to blog. I don't always feel thankful, but when I sit back and think about, it has pushed me over the top compared to some other students.

    I don't always feel as though I have a real voice through my blog, which is sometimes a good thing seeing how a lot of my blogs are quite less than insightful. After all, it's pretty intimidating to be talking to top PR professionals every week.

    But, like you said, even if you don't have a voice, the benefits are enormous from simply knowing the conversations. I've learned so much from just reading blogs that I would have never encountered in the classroom. And, I really do feel ahead of a lot of students because I know the hot topics in PR. I know the new technology. And, of course, I talk to those PR pros about these things.

    For lack of a better way to put it, blogging sometimes sucks when you're forced to do it, but overall it's been extrememly beneficial, and I'm glad I've encountered the opporutnity. Robert should be happy!

  3. Remember the monotonous voice of the teacher on Charlie Brown? "Whah, wha-whah, whah, whah ..." Yeah. I've read blogs like that. Pretty blah.

    They just don't contribute to that world-wide conversation, you know? Just parroting information from somewhere else.

    As far as my own voice? Um, I haven't really thought about it. I will say, though, I still get extremely nervous each time I go to press the "publish" button on a new post or comment. Just because I'm very aware that I'm about to put something out there for everyone in the world to see. It's hard to imagine, but when I first started blogging a few months ago, I was even more nervous. I've actually come a long way. :-) A big thing that contributes to that anxious feeling in my stomach is that I know I'm no expert on these things, and I know I have a lot to learn. I also have seen blogs out there that are ... well, crap. And I DON'T want to fall into that category. (LOL ... who knows, maybe I do!) But I am trying, and Jeremy, you're right -- to really develop your voice, you just have to keep blogging.

  4. "Finding a Voice," can be one of the most challenging things in life. You worry about what others think, what your statements will reflect about you personally and if your perception of things is effectively explainable to others.

    It is a little harder to develop your own voice when you have been introduced to the blogging world through Marcomblog. There are some similar opinions on tactics and techniques. However, it seems each "highy-respected" contributor has a different piece of advice. This advice coming from a mentoring point of view, I feel it is wise to listen. This can have a jumbling affect on finding your own voice.

    I began blogging this past spring for Robert's PR Foundations class and have continued through to his Style and Design class now. There is a huge difference in my posts over this period of time. I am more confident in my posts now that I have had more experience with the whole community. It has taken some "not-so-nice" comments in the process but I accepted them as constructive criticism and used them to my advantage. It has been pointed out to me by a fellow blogger that I often tend to simply present the facts and not contribute "my own voice."

    Thanks for the post. I realize that it is essential to create a recognizable blogging identity through a distinguishable "voice."

  5. I agree that companies need to know what is being said about them. I'd like to put two comments together and then comment on them myself. You mentioned that companies don't need to be blogging yet. Michael said that blogs is what gives companies a personality. I find both comments interesting because (1) the window where companies can get by without a blog is not that much longer and (2) with everything going on the web, people really do want some way, anything really, to know that they are dealing with a company with real people.