A man of 1000 voices

22 May, 2008

I’ve felt a lot like a man of 1000 voices since deciding to give blogging a go in November last year. I’ve been through many different phases from trying to produce journal style articles on abstract L&D topics, to short, sharp link to posts. It wasn’t until about a month ago that I felt like I had really ‘found my voice’.

One of the projects I’ve been working on recently has been to launch a blog. The goal is to provide an information resource to our customers and hopefully start some discussion. We engaged a subject matter expert to write the content and pulled together a plan detailing the topics we wanted to cover in our first few weeks, nothing concrete but a guide to help us avoid writer’s block!

Over the last couple weeks I have been finding myself going through the whole voice finding process again. I have not been writing the content but I have been reviewing it. The author already has his own voice; he is a fairly accomplished academic and writes thoughtful articulate posts. My challenge is to do with the blog voice, is an academic voice going to engage a corporate audience? Will they embrace an argument developed over 1500 words or do they (as I do when reading a blog) want to get to the heart of the issue in the first line, then read the discussion if they choose? Finally, what will keep them coming back?

The biggest challenge of the lot has been to work out my feedback. My instant reaction is to put my voice over the top, but who am I to enforce my voice over that of a recognized expert. And who says people want to read my voice? I like to think that I’m at least little engaging but I’m not quite full enough of myself to expect that I work for everyone!! In the end I went down the collaborative path and chatted to colleagues (old school around the water cooler), we talked through the objectives of the blog (engage and inform) and the audience (corporate finance types) and still don’t have a definitive answer.

I guess that’s because there isn’t one, a voice is always going to evolve and change, we’ll find people respond to some posts and we’ll find that they don’t respond to others, the trick for us is to keep our eyes open and listen to the people who speak to us. Getting caught up in our own idea of what is right and wrong is a sure fire way to end up with an empty blog!!

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