Blogging started years ago as an online journaling activity. Over time, it has gained in popularity, marketing techniques have been refined to monetize ideas around a core subject, and blogging is now an integral part of any business. ProEnglish is no exception.
We’ve had many people looking for our assistance and asking to enhance their style to sound accurate and reach out to the world. Regardless of the topic they are passionate about, they have something in common: none of them is a native English speaker, and the feeling of insecurity for composing a text, which is not in their native language, has affected their confidence. They hesitate to start their own blog or reawaken their dormant blog business, as they lack a solid English knowledge.
Our primary role at ProEnglish has gone beyond proofreading; our mission is rather to infuse courage and provide the necessary tools to enable any non-native English speaker to produce enticing blog posts that they are proud to publish online.
Recently, I have come across an excellent blog post by Jonathan Gebauer, the founder of blog.thesocialms.com, titled “Blogging in English – When It’s Not Your Primary Language“.
Jonathan addresses a common question: Can I or should I blog, if English is not my native language? Jonathan goes on to clarify the reasons why people blog in English:
- if you are a serious blogger, your message has no boundaries; it should fly across the globe
- if you are an expert in your field, it’s about forming a business relationship, one between you and your readers; ultimately, your readers are your potential clients
- if you have a good command of English, why not taking advantage of your skills, making a conscious decision and starting using English to communicate with the world
I would add a fourth reason based on my English coaching experience:
- besides reaching out to international audiences and markets, blogging in English is a great way to establish your expertise within specific online communities in the industry you belong to; creating an authentic online presence in the right circles will enable you to gain valuable contacts to share your work, and participate in events as a thought leader. A combination of online and physical presence in the world is the best way to promote who you are and what you do–Tweet that!
On the other hand, the blog post from Johnathan highlights all the reasons why you should NOT blog in English:
- you are blogging for your friends and family
- your main website (where you will be hosting your blog section) isn’t in English
- your English is quite poor, and producing clear, understandable texts is arduous for you – highly unlikely you’ve read thus far!
So what are the best tips Jonathan suggests for blogging in English?
- Read a lot
- Write daily
- Don’t be overly critical
- Get someone who is not a native speaker to read your work. I partly agree with this tip; however a non-native speaker may not always be able to highlight parts of your content that need to be reworked, so they make sense in English before you go live.
- Use visuals in your blog posts: infographics, images, quotes, charts, tables and statistics
The above tips for composing great English blog material are spot on! As an English Language Coach I find it of utmost importance to mention some additional recommendations:
- Localize, don’t translate: translating word by word from your native language into English is a trap. It simply doesn’t work. Instead, try to switch your mind into “English mode” and produce sentences that make sense in English. No need to write like a native English person; instead, describe in a simple way what you want to say.
- Keep it simple: producing overly complex sentences may confuse your readers. Adopt a simple and efficient system for grammar and syntax, and you’re good to go!
- Vocabulary: your readers don’t need to be impressed with difficult words, expressions or idioms. Instead, produce texts with easy and potent vocabulary to make your point without overloading your sentences with language that will leave your readers scratching their heads.
Avoid repetition too: instead, try to use synonyms to enrich your text and keep your audience engaged.
- Be yourself: instead of regurgitating material that’s already been discussed, try to offer a fresh, innovative, and genuine view to your readers. How? When you write with the intention to publish online, ask yourself if your audience would be interested in the topic, what their reaction to the topic would be, does this online work of yours help your audience in any way?
- Specific audience: If you blog for a particular field (e.g. Healthcare industry) make sure you have the appropriate verbiage, tone, and expressions that such texts include. How to do that? Read related material and notice the style before you compose yours.
Finally, a good blogger needs a few helpful tools to make his or her work better, and why not fun as well!
Jonathan mentions two excellent apps to get you started with your personal blogging journey:
- the Hemmingway App helps you analyse your text, and gives you hints on how to improve it. It’s not a spellchecker, although it shows you how to fix common problems such as: complex words or phrases, long sentences, too many adverbs and too many sentences in passive voice.
- Grammarly, one of our favourite grammar websites. With the app, you can find and correct up to 10 times more mistakes than your word processor does. It works!
I’d like to add a couple of helpful apps that can improve your writing skills even further:
- Readability Score calculates the readability scores of the text you enter. Find out if you have the readability factor!
- Writers Digest University If you want to dive in deeper and improve your English writing with professional online workshops, then this is the place to go.
- Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator A great blog post starts with an interesting title that your audience will find irresistible to ignore. Use this app and create great titles for your online material.
As you can see, it is possible to produce awesome, unique and compelling work in English as a blogger, even if it’s not your first language. It’s all a matter of focus, planning and practicing until you get the confidence you need to blossom as a blogger, regardless of your nationality.
If you want help in finding your unique voice and style as a professional blogger, consider a pit stop at ProEnglish and ask about our Sleek Authoring services. Together we will shape your unique language style that you need for creating compelling, captivating online material for your business.