For years, I kept my own blogs, writing about my thoughts, observations, and experiences. I find it to be therapeutic to release the hundreds of thoughts whirling around my head at any given moment and put them all on paper. Writing personal blogs is easy, because the thoughts are my own and I am not pushing any agendas. When I started writing blog posts for companies, though, I found the process to be much more difficult, as I was no longer writing my own personal thoughts and feelings, I was pushing someone else's agenda. In order to make the process feel more natural, I came up with a few tactics to keep a professional blog for a company without feeling as if I was selling my soul.
Use your own voice to sell a product.
Yes, you are writing for a company and you have to embody the company's vision in your work, but that doesn't mean that you should lose your voice as a writer. The best pieces are those where the author's voice can be heard through the words, as if the author is speaking directly to the reader. A writer who loses his or her voice in the vision of a company is probably working for the wrong company.
If you don't relate to the company you are writing for, stop writing for them or find a way to relate.
Granted writer's don't usually have the luxury of quitting a steady writing job, but it's extremely draining to have to write about a topic or product that you don't believe in. The writing usually doesn't come out too well, either. When I began blogging for a company, I found that I didn't always connect to the subjects that my bosses wanted me to write about, or I felt that there was a better way to engage the target audience, so I changed the focus of the posts, while keeping the agenda of the company at the heart of the piece.
Speak up if you feel like a product you're trying to sell isn't fit for the target audience.
A couple of times, I found myself telling my bosses that they are marketing a certain product in a way that may deter potential customers. I am not a marketer, but I do understand the voice of the audience. You also have every right to protect your byline - if your name is on this piece and it's going to send customers away, it's very important to speak up.
Make the time to write personal pieces in between deadlines.
In order to keep your personal voice as a writer fresh, it's important to write personal pieces now and again. This is also a great way to release all of the personal thoughts and feelings that you cannot put in a professional blog post. I try to post one personal piece per every three or four professional posts. This way, I'm making deadlines and also money at the company, but not completely setting aside my passion.
Set hours for yourself to work, because "freelance writer" doesn't necessarily mean "open 24/7".
It can be very easy for a company to assume that employing a freelance writer to write a professional blog means that the writer is available 24/7 and can meet short deadlines. When I got started, I was answering to my bosses' every beck and call, thinking that if I didn't, they might fire me and find someone who would. This very quickly gave employers the impression that I don't have boundaries when it comes to working hours and deadlines. I felt chained to my computer. I realized that setting boundaries for employers is one of the most crucial parts of freelance writing. I also realized that I need to be realistic with myself about my ability to meet very short deadlines and still do good work.
Be the writer YOU want to be, and not the writer employers necessarily expect you to be.
The most important thing in writing is being proud of what you put out. If you lose yourself as a writer, and lose your unique voice, it's time to stop and look around. Be the writer you want to be, or put yourself on a path to become the writer you want to be. There is nothing more important!