One of the unsaid commandments of writing is to keep things professional and in most cases, avoid putting personal stuff out there. For me, an occasional personal topic on a niche blog is okay, but the occurrence should be rare and should still relate as much as possible to the niche. Of course this assumes that your niche blog is not geared towards your own personal development. Getting personal becomes a bit tougher when you are talking about a freelance writing website that is essentially a storefront for your writing business.
I think it may be okay to blur the line a bit between personal and professional as long as it is done correctly. And there’s the rub, isn’t it? The success of this venture is going to directly relate to your writing ability and your ability to strike a balance. Reveal too much and potential clients may not feel comfortable in handing over their work to you. On the other hand, making a site too plastic and professional may keep you from winning clients who are seeking a more personal touch.
How To Be “Just Right” Personal
- Tone – What does your tone say about you? Is your writing voice very formal? It’s important to take an honest assessment of your writing style. For some folks an informal (personal) tone comes naturally and in fact they may sometimes struggle to write something from an authority standpoint. If this describes you, then you already have an advantage when it comes to making your site a bit more personal. A word of advice here: If you just cannot write in a conversational tone, contract out with a trusted writing buddy to put this together for you.
- Content – Here is where your decision matrix needs to be in top form. Going on for a dozen paragraphs on your “about” page, relating every detail of the nasty divorce that drove you to writing is ill advised. It is okay to go into your background a bit – and I don’t mean your writing background necessarily. A little dialogue about where you grew up or maybe your interests could lead to common ground with a potential client. A word of caution though. Just like good dinner conversation, the topics of religion and politics should be off the table. Some folks have very strong leanings in these regards and will not hire you if they see they are on the opposite side of the fence.
- Placement – Some personal information is appropriate on your landing page. This information should be classified as semi-formal and might include something about your writing background and how you got started in this crazy business. Otherwise, let it all hang out on your “about” page.
- Images – A quick word here. A good picture of you is an absolute necessity. Potential clients need to know they are dealing with a real person, not just words on a screen. Keep family photos, pictures of your favorite pet snake and the one you really like that your buddy took of you at the beer garden far away from your website. That’s why God invented Facebook.
In the end, it’s a good thing to be a tad personal. If you are unsure if you’ve crossed any lines, sned the content to a writing buddy to have a look-see.
What is your take on being personal?
Posted by: George