Can you find your authentic blogging voice? I found mine – but it wasn’t easy

I thought writing my weekly blog was going to be easier than what I’m currently experiencing. I thought I would take one of the many ideas that pops up in my head and start jotting down thoughts – but it’s not so easy.

I believed I could do a bit of research and sprinkle some stats in-between the lines to add credibility and perhaps an “ah-ha” moment. I thought, and I thought wrong. I have an active business in populating other corporate sites and our corporate sites with multiple voices and stories, yet, when it came to my blog I forgot the basics. And what are the basics? Simply put, it’s being able to tell a story with your unique voice. Not somebody else’s voice.

And so, as President and CMO of Canada’s top digital IT media shop, I find myself having to do a bit of therapy to recognize and articulate my unique perspective. Part of my internal struggle is effectively voicing what I think about certain topics vs. what I read about them. Such questions are forcing me to reflect on having to sort through the mounds of papers, links, and social channels I frequent to clarify my value perspective on all the different content coming through my feeds. We’re talking about a diverse set of stories – from honey collected from smaller colonies of bees to the latest Fitbit gadgets we must possess and the recent policies from CRTC we must accept.

An effective communicator must first have something to say about something, anything on your affiliations and time spent. Even Trump manages to find a few juicy repetitive lines that are capturing world headlines and hopefully repelling back to Canada some of the great talents we’ve lost to the U.S. Now, going a step further if we are to commit to a regular blog, featuring our unique personality and views, what should it be about that will help your company engage your prospects or audience? What is the magic sauce that will help position you in your enviable position to the outside world?

When I originally began to blog, I had a simple theme to share. I based it on whatever came across my desk as president, which I thought to be of interest to others. I never quite identified ‘others’ a topic for another time, but I did manage to write 20 blogs over a 10-month period and collected over 200 followers on a URL that wasn’t part of the ITWC channels. I was just testing my ability first to write something consistently and then to see if my views caught anyone’s interest. The answer was yes to both, but then I fell into the trap of  telling myself “I’m way too busy.” There were other excuses too: “Nothing is capturing my attention that would be of interest to others. Someone else has more insight. Who cares?”

Yes, I came up with many lame excuses of why I shouldn’t blog and leave it to journalists and experts. I didn’t reinforce in my thinking my deep expertise nor any of the benefits of what writing in your authentic voice might generate over time for your image, your company, your shared insights and your leadership development. I might run a publishing firm that specializes in Information Technology, but I can assure you every major business topic from money, people, customers, policies, trends, practices still fall under every business that is open for business. And being in one of the most disruptive industries and the media business to boot, there is a lot to write and share.

We continuously hear in the media today that everyone is a publisher. Yes, anyone can publish anything they wish to share. So, what is this particular blog trying to advocate or share? One simple thing. Creating your voice for your unique brand must be the starting point if you are to succeed. I have several brands within my domain. ITWC. IT World Canada. IT Business. Canadian CIO. CMO Digital. Direction Informatique. Computer Dealer News. And then there are many event brands. Then we have product brands. ITWC Events. ITWC Ad Network. ITWC Content.

I still have more up my sleeve, but you get the drift. When it comes to finding my voice, I realize it’s not in my product brands. It’s not in my individual network brands. It’s not in my event brands. It’s in everything that stands and is represented by ITWC. My voice resides in the corporation and its brands because that is where I live, and this is my passion.

As President and CMO, my first stop for expression is around the organization’s expertise and brands within ITWC. It makes sense for me to talk about what ITWC is doing, why it’s doing it, what difference it might make, what strategies might we embrace to make our vision for success a reality? Storytelling about what I know is critical. Basing the story’s voice as its President and CMO, besides a Canadian female business leader, becomes how my voice is truly authentic rather than an industry spokesperson in the third person.

You first need to ask yourself, “What does your voice stand for on your own merit and as part of your company and its brands?”

And I mean your genuine voice, not the voice you think everyone else wishes to hear or gives to you. I was fortunate enough to have hired a VP of marketing that could look me in the eye and say, “you are talking as if you’re an industry voice, not a unique voice.” That was when the light went on.

I hope the light is either already on or coming on for you. Happy Blogging.

Fawn Annan
Fawn Annan
Fawn Annan is the President and Group Publisher of IT World Canada/IDG Canada, the largest global IT media company located in 87 countries. Its global brands such as CanadianCIO and Computing Canada are written with local views for global IT issues.

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