Friday, September 14, 2007

If Content is King, Voice is the Ambassador

You've heard that "content is king." It's a cliché by now, but true: on a website, or a blog, if there isn't content, it's not likely that there will be visitors. The "content" is facts. Information of some sort - text, visuals, or sound - that informs or entertains.

There's something else that's important, too.

I recently read that "any blogger can beat Wikipedia" by improving writing style, being opinionated, and staying up-to-date.

Today, I'm going to argue that the first point, writing style, is very important.

"Style," in this sense, goes beyond correct spelling and coherent syntax. It's a matter of putting 'personality' in your writing.

Dashiell Hammett and Charles Dickens are both accomplished writers. Although some academic purists might dispute my assertion, I'm basing my statement on the fact that they both sold quite a few commercially successful books.

However, their writing style was very different. Dashiell Hammett's style was "raw, unadorned, 'hard-boiled.' Charles Dickens style was the sort of 19th century semi-poetic saunter that led someone to quip that he must have been paid by the word.

"Voice" is the way writing 'sounds' when it's read. Voice is one of the reasons people kept buying books by Dickens and Hammett.

And an individual, appealing voice is a reason that people come back to one website or blog, and not to another, when both have similar content.

Voice can be entertaining by itself. More importantly, it creates a tone and and helps interpret content for the reader.

So, content may be king, but voice is the ambassador.


Vaughan said...

Absolutely, wording thigs in a certain way is most definitely a god given talent and content without voice is just that "content" it is voice that will set you apart.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Well - and succinctly - put!

Thanks for contributing.

Brigid said...

It's the same thing with writing anything, from a novel to a blog post. You gotta have a unique voice if you want to stand out from the crowd.

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