How many different styles of writing are there? Go ahead, take a guess.
If you guessed 7 billion, you’re probably right. I don’t know the exact number. Something like 7,385,345. Whatever the population of the world is.
Point is, each person has their own unique writing style. Which is both awesome and scary. We don’t have to copy other styles because we are unique. But it’s scary to try and find that unique voice. It takes a lot of soul-searching.
While we’re searching, there are essentially two different writing styles to choose from:
Let me explain:
I have two pairs of sandals — flip-flops and those shoes that don’t fall off when you’re rafting or canoeing or hiking. Crap. I’m blanking here. They’re on my feet right now. The sandals with the straps around the ankles and open-toes? What are those shoes called?
Whatever. Doesn’t matter.
I just wrote a Sandals paragraph. It’s a light-hearted look at life and business. Kinda like a conversation with our best friend. Sandal blogs flow well, making it easier for the audience to read the post. Likewise, this style organically creates an inclusive environment, where the community is excited to follow along the business’ journey without any expectations attached.
On the other side, there’s…
Corporations love the Suit-and-Tie approach to a blog. There are no risks in producing non-controversial content. Suit-and-Tie writers express specific keywords and sentences the company knows will attract the ideal client. All corporate blogs have extensive research, along with appropriate quotes, to emphasize certain points.
Overall, most Suit-and-Tie blogs are not easy to follow — if we’re looking to engage the general public. Instead, if we have a specific target audience, the Suit-and-Tie blog is the best option.
Don’t worry about picking one over the other; there’s a spectrum between each extremes. We could have a professional blog with a few jokes sprinkled in, or have a light-hearted blog that touches on some serious topics.
Since most of us are stuck in the middle of these extremes, I created this informal quiz to help us find our own writing style. There are 5 questions, each with three different answers. Each answer has a point value attached to it. At the end, count up the number of points, and that’s your final score.
Try to answer these questions honestly — or falsely. I don’t care. (Oh yeah: I’m a Sandals guy. For sure.)
The Unofficial Blog Writing Style Quiz
Question 1: How would you write the perfect “How-to” article?
- Do extensive research for five months, analyze every detail, keep the audience in mind, and make sure my SEO keywords are perfect and pristine (5 points)
- Do some research for a week, write a couple of jokes, but I get the point across efficiently and effectively (3 points)
- Who cares? I’ll figure out how to create the best “how-to” article through living and existing in three dimensions (1 point)
Question 2: Which do you prefer: hugs or handshakes?
- A solid handshake with everyone, including my spouse (5 points)
- Depends on the person and situation (3 points)
- I’ll hug anything alive or dead. I love trees, I love humans, I love all things, and hugs are the greatest (1 point)
Question 3: Which of these publications do you follow?
- Magazines specific to my industry (5 points)
- Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur (3 points)
- That one YouTube channel with a bunch of cat videos (1 point)
Question 4: What does your ideal vacation look like?
- I don’t take any days off, my work is my life. (5 points)
- I prefer a work-life flow. Some days I work hard; other days, I take a break and relax (3 points)
- I’m on vacation all the time. I hardly work. This is so much freaking fun, man! (1 point)
Question 5: If you were a fictional character, which one would you be?
- Walter, Buddy the Elf’s dad from Elf (5 points)
- Fraiser (Fraiser) or Sam (Cheers) (3 points)
- Kramer, from Seinfeld (1 point)
Results: if you scored between…
5-10 points — “I found the jokes unfunny. I believe I can write funnier blog posts than this stupid one. With lots of exclamation points and smiley faces 🙂 Anyway, there’s an Open Mic Night at a bar near me; I’m gonna check it out.”
11-14 points — More on the Sandals side, but can be serious at the appropriate times.
15 points — The Golden Middle: not too funny, not too corporate, just right.
16-20 points — More on the Suit-and-Tie side, but can throw in a few jokes when necessary.
21-25 points — “People need information. My business has the content. We shall provide the best content ever. We love keywords and SEO. Business is business. Let’s talk business in a business-like manner. Business.”
There are no wrong answers to this quiz. Because there are 7 billion different answers.
Last story before we go: my business partner (the wonderful Heath Rost) was looking through one of my blog posts. Since he’s also a blog coach, I wanted his opinion on my writing style.
I sent him the article earlier in an email. When I saw him in person and asked for his opinion, he frowned. I was worried. What didn’t he like about my awesome blog post?
He said, “Yeah, I liked your blog post, but it felt like a conversation between friends.”
Phew. That was a close one.
In my mind, I’m fist-pumping like Tiger Woods in a red polo shirt at the Masters circa 2003. That’s exactly the reaction I was looking for. Because I’m a Sandals guy. I want my writing to feel like a conversation between two friends. No pressure, no expectations. Just a nice, casual article.
Heath is a Suit-and-Tie blogger. He’s more formal than I am. And it works for him — he’s a successful businessman.
Don’t fret over which style you choose. Pick one that suits you the best.
Besides, there’s nothing wrong with wearing sandals with a suit-and-tie.
Now Its Your Turn
How did you score? Let me know in the comments!