How can a Content Writer replicate your writing voice?
Have you ever thought about outsourcing your writing to a professional Content Writer? Well, if you have, I know that one of the things that may have stopped you from going ahead and actually hiring someone is the fact that you believe that no one can possibly sound like you and do a better job than you. After all, it’s your business, your website, and your blog we’re talking about. So how could someone else possibly know (and be able to replicate) your writing voice? In other words, if you decide to hire a Content Writer, will they sound like you? And if so, how exactly?
Writing in my clients’ voice is one of my key strengths – it’s one of my USPs, and what makes me a valuable resource for my clients. In this post, I’m going to lift the lid on the way I like to work and share some of the strategies that I use to write in your voice.
Re-purposing audio or video content
The easiest and most straightforward way for me to write in your voice is to use your actual voice. And I do that by re-purposing your audio or video content into blog posts. It’s an easy win for me, and a great win for you – and here are a few reasons why you should re-purpose your podcast episodes into blog posts.
So if you have a podcast, a YouTube channel, or if you’re someone who often creates live videos, you already have a lot of content in your voice.
The only problem is that it’s not in written form. Not yet, anyway.
When I come in and work with you, I turn the transcription of your audio or video recording into a well-written, well-structured, and search-engine friendly blog post. This means you only have to do the work once (i.e. record your podcast episode or video), and I’ll take care of the rest. If this doesn’t guarantee I can write in your voice, I don’t know what does!
Getting to know you and talking to you
It may sound obvious, but if I already know you and follow your work, it goes without saying that I’m already familiar with your writing voice. To be honest, I don’t think the fact that I’m a client of a lot of my own clients is a coincidence at all! Truth is, if I know you, personally or professionally, I have a much better idea of what you sound like, and I can be much more effective when creating content for you that’s on brand and on point.
If I know your business, follow your teachings, and enjoy your content on social media, it means I know what you and your business are all about. Having a professional relationship with my clients that’s based on mutual respect and trust is fundamental for me. If I already know, like, and trust you, it’s much easier for me to get your writing voice just right. My client (and friend) Lisa York has often told me that sometimes she feels I sound like her more than she does!
Paying attention to the things you say all the time
But maybe we don’t yet know each other very well yet. So how’s that going to work? Can I sound like you if I don’t know you? Well, if I’m writing for you, you can be sure we’ll get to know each other at some point. Because to be able to write in your voice, I need to tune in and really pay attention to how you speak and how you write. So what I do when I start working with you is to listen, watch, and read your existing content. And from there, I start to ‘unpick’ your language. I make notes of the phrases and expressions you use all the time – those little things that make you sound like you. Except you’re probably not even aware you say them all the time!
Let’s use an example of someone you may know – the amazing Chris Ducker from Youpreneur. Chris has a very distinctive voice – if you listen to his podcast, Youpreneur FM, you’ll pick up on this. And if you read his book, Rise of the Youpreneur, you’ll immediately know it’s been written by the same person. Some of the phrases you’ll notice Chris uses frequently are:
- ‘dropping value bombs’.
- ‘right out of the gate’.
- ‘I’m going out on a limb here, and say…’
- ‘see you on the inside’.
There are many more, and when you pay attention, you’ll notice them. They’re part of Chris’ language ‘make up’, as I call it. And when I read something or listen to someone, these kinds of things naturally really stand out to me, which is why I’m happy to claim that writing in someone else’s voice is one of USPs.
Picking up language patterns
My background is in languages – I’m Italian and studied English (and a bunch of other European languages) at school and university. When I first moved to London, my dream was to study for a Masters Degree in Linguistics, but you know how it is – life has a tendency to take over sometimes. I stumbled into a career that fit me like a glove and somehow missed the boat on that dream.
But people who know me well know I’m a bit of a grammar geek. Plus, I have a strong analytical mind, and when it comes to languages, I naturally look for patterns – I’m completely drawn to word combinations that I find unusual and interesting. And trust me, with English being my second language this still happens a lot.
I vividly remember spending days at university analysing the language used in inaugural speeches by American presidents. We were encouraged to look for patterns, notice and analyse how the language was used to influence and persuade. Effectively, to sell. It was fascinating. And now I find myself doing this for pretty much everything I read. So you may not notice the things you say all the time. But I do!
Getting to know your key messages
Your voice isn’t just made by the little phrases and expressions you use all the time. It’s also (and mainly) about what you say and why. It’s about your message and your ethos.
- Why are you in business? Why do you do what you do?
- What are you passionate about?
- What are the things you believe in and teach? The things you find yourself telling your customers and clients all the time?
When you hire me as your Content Writer, I spend a lot of time getting to know you and your business. It goes without saying that I familiarise myself with your existing content (on your website, your blog, your social media channels, etc.). It’s an integral part of my job and something that allows me to add value to you and your work.
I can’t make it up – I can’t just rock up and sound like you! I can only really serve you when I fully understand and get behind what you stand for. And if you’re at a stage in your business where you haven’t quite been able to articulate this for yourself yet, then don’t worry. We’ll do it together – I’ll help you put your key messages into words. The right words (i.e. the ones that will resonate with your audience).
Asking the right questions
I’m naturally quite curious – learning is one of my passions and key drivers. If I’m not learning something new, I get bored! Put my curiosity and my analytical mind together, and it’s no surprise that in my twenties I ended up in a career that really suited my personality. For 13 years, I worked for as a Business Analyst (and don’t worry if you don’t know what that is – most people don’t. Honestly!). In a nutshell, my job mainly consisted of writing clear requirements from several stakeholders. And often, when working on a project, I’d come across stakeholders with opposite requests. And my job was to dig deep. Ask questions. Get to the real root of a problem, so I could translate requirements into a coherent piece of work that a team of developers could use to build a piece of software, for example.
And how does any of this help you?
Oh, it helps. Because my skill set and my experience make me a professional listener! But I’m also a professional Questioner (okay, that’s not a really a word, but let’s go with it). And my questions never fail to deliver. I’ve put quite a few of my clients through this process of answering my tailored questions, and I’ve delivered amazing results for them.
“Sara, this is amazing! I had goosebumps when reading this. You are helping me articulate my thoughts better, and most importantly translate them into words! This is going way beyond my expectations, and I look forward to working on more projects with you.” – Caroline Lamont, Health Coach.
By taking your notes and turning them into blog posts
Another strategy I use to write in your voice is by taking your notes (I like to call them ‘brain dumps’) and turning them into blog posts. If you’ve ever questioned how a Content Writer can sound like you, you’ve probably also wondered how they can possibly know what you know. Because they don’t. Obviously, I haven’t spent years running your business or becoming an expert in your field.
And maybe you don’t have the time to sit down and write regular posts for your business blog, but if you can share your knowledge with me somehow, I can then take it from there.
Your ‘brain dumps’ don’t need to be too structured – you can jot down some notes on your phone, record some audio notes on an app, and only if you feel more organised, then maybe you can type some notes into a Word or Google doc. Whatever works for you will work for me. Then you hand over to me, and I’ll fill in the gaps. And yes, it may be more of an iterative process – I might ask you some questions if I need to, but overall I’m confident I can turn your notes into fully-fledged blog posts you’ll be proud of.
Would you like to give it a go?
As one of my clients put it, having someone else write for you is a bit ‘weird’ at first. Mind you, for a second I thought she was calling me weird – then I realised she was talking about the fact that that at first, nothing that someone else has written for you will feel 100% right. And I totally get that.
But the fact is – if you’re not writing, or if you could use the time that you spend blogging doing something that could bring more value or revenue to your business, then you should seriously consider outsourcing. Yes, it may feel a little odd and alien at first, which is why I always work with clients for a minimum of three months. To be able to add value to you as a writer, I need that time to get to know you and your business really well.
And I may never sound 100% like you.
But I can guarantee you it’ll be close enough.
Because if you hire me to do your writing, I’ll do my best to replicate your writing voice.
And I really don’t like letting my clients down.