Most writing online reads like Wikipedia entries.
Up until recently you could get away with it. Not anymore. Many writers are about to become an extinct species like the dinosaurs.
It’s been nice knowing you SEO writers! Why?
Artificial intelligence. More specifically, ChatGPT by OpenAI. If you want to write a boring ass step-by-step guide about how to build a house with your own two hands, AI can do it better and faster than you.
The solution to this problem, if you still love writing online, is to master a kickass “Writers Voice.”
I’m going to teach you. Why me? Well, most people think the tiny amount of success I’ve had as a writer is the result of:
- Business skills
- Great headlines
Nope. Readers and writers have told me for the last 8 years that what I accidentally mastered is a powerful writer’s voice. It helps me not sound like everyone else.
No AI is gonna replace me, I tell ya.
Let’s take the one writing skill most people agree I have and reverse-engineer how I do it, so you can use it to go viral consistently.
Write like you actually talk, mate
There’s a reason I write “mate” so many times in an article…
Because I say it a boatload of times in real life. Whatever I say in real life I say in my writing. Why don’t normal people do this? Because they self-reject and self-censor themselves.
They’re worried what others will think.
They’ve obsessed with what their dumb slave boss might say if he/she reads their work. Or they try to sound smart, so they replace normal words they say with fancy words from Oxford University professors.
All the authenticity goes out the window. And ya’ll know those fake-ass personal brand inst-glam influencers want you to be #authentic, right?
Most of us use simple words when we talk. This is good.
Simple language in writing is what sells because everyone can understand what the heck you’re trying to say. I’ve been a simpleton my entire life.
One thing that’s surprised me over the last 8 years is how many people from random countries say “I can’t read most writers because English is my second language. But I can always read your stuff.”
Simple English reaches millions more readers. Easier to go viral.
Create a “cool words” doc
Part of what makes you stand out is the words you use.
One pro tip is to make up words. I made up the word (I think) brotopia. It’s a utopia full of tech bros.
On a more serious note, I made up the phrase “The Permissionless Economy.” It’s an economy that runs online, where you don’t need to ask for permission anymore.
To claim the name I added “Permissionless Economy” as a keyword all over my personal website. Now google shows me as the original source.
What does all that mean? I don’t sound like every other muppet using the same words and writing the same old cliche advice of “have a cold shower and meditate every morning.”
Make sh*t up. Writing is play.
Insert lines or paragraphs from real-world conversations
Writing is lifeless when it lacks conversation.
Easiest way to overcome this problem is to add parts of conversations you have or overhear into your writing. Piece of piss.
If you want to see a writer do this better than I ever could, read Michael Thompson. He taught me.
Record memos and translate them with Otter
No matter how hard some of you try, you’ll always write like a robot. Or as if you’re in high school writing an English essay for graduation.
I have an easy hack for you: record yourself talking the article you want to write out loud. Then use the app Otter to translate the voice recording to text.
Now you don’t sound like Wikipedia anymore. Edit as you want.
Forget the grammar hippies
Grammar can screw up writing.
It’s why great writers like Nat Eliason say that when you ignore what Grammarly says, you sound more like yourself.
Online writing isn’t about winning a grammar award. Just look at some of the most viral stories ever to be published on Reddit. Most of them have the worst use of grammar you could ever imagine.
My friend Todd Brison’s English teacher father would rip the faces off them if he knew where they lived. But plain Jane grammar feels boring.
Change it up. Break up sentences. Get creative. Use short sentences and then one long sentence that takes up ten lines and has zero commas.
If you try too hard, oddly, readers give up on you.
Perfect Grammar = Tryhard
Sprinkle in some humor
Do you always talk like Wikipedia after you’ve had a few wines and stuffed your face full of beer-battered fries? Of course not.
*** Does Joker from Batman voice***
Then why so serious?
Shake off all the nerves. Have a laugh. You know you’ll die in a few decades, right? Ain’t none of us living forever. So write like it.
Add your country’s culture
It takes readers about 35 seconds to figure out I’m Aussie.
Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!
Soz. Had to. Love my home country. Can ya tell? Of course you can. My heritage is all the way through everything I write.
You know it’s my voice talking to you through all these articles — not some lifeless AI or human ghostwriter — because I can’t shut up about chucking a shrimp on the barbie or thinking “she’ll be right” when a natural disaster happens.
Many writers skip over this superpower. Use your heritage in your writing.
The hidden secret of a good writer’s voice
The stories from your life help differentiate your writer’s voice. Only you can tell a certain story from your life because you witnessed it. Hard to sound like a Wikipedia robot when you do.
You’ve been told 1000s of times … illustrate points with stories. Add stories. Add stories. Add stories. Just keep ’em short and sharp.
Why most online writing feels lifeless
The bottom line with writer’s voice is most of you aren’t having fun.
When you don’t have fun, what you write accidentally sounds boring and uninspired. And readers can tell. So what do the buggers do? They click away from your article and read someone who feels more human.
They just don’t know they’re consciously doing it.
So if you want to unleash your sexy writer’s voice and go viral consistently, and not have your writing hobby taken away by a dumbass AI overlord, then…
Let your inner child free. Be creative. Make stuff up. Let your imagination run wild. And write as if we’re in a coffee shop together having a chat, where talker’s block (close cousin of writer’s block) doesn’t exist.
That’s what I know about writer’s voice that can help you become unforgettable online and go viral constantly, if practiced.