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What’s the difference between a diary/journal and a blog? Either one could be where you write your thoughts and feelings about life. You might write down some favorite recipes, gush about some new shoes you bought, or even share your opinion on the latest political/celebrity/religious uproar going around the internet.
The difference? Your diary is usually hidden between your mattresses or in your bedside table. A blog is published on the internet for all the world to see! I personally have never been able to keep up with a diary, but I’ve been blogging for seven and a half years. To me the difference is connection. I enjoy writing because I am making connections with people around the world I would otherwise never meet.
So if your goal is connection, how do you meet that goal with your blog? I am going to add to our blogging tips and tutorials series with some simple blogging tips to help you connect with your readers.
Simple Blogging Tips To Help You Connect With Your Readers
1. Be You
If you want people to connect with you, be you. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a level of anonymity online. You can certainly use an alias and a cartoon avatar to represent yourself if that’s what you choose. Go ahead and be vague about where you live and give your kids cute nicknames. Behind all that, though, there needs to be a real person. Juggling lies or half-truths is a fool’s errand. You’ll wear yourself out trying to keep track of everything, or you’ll alienate people who begin to see through the charade. The best way to be consistent with the details is to always tell the truth.
Skip the lies and just be who you are. Readers will sense your authenticity and relate to you.
2. Pull People In
When you write, you want to paint pictures with your words. You want people to feel something when they read what you’ve written. Are you passionate about the latest in politics? Sell your point of view. Help other people to understand why you feel that way. Are you posting a recipe? Describe the taste. Make people hungry with your words and pictures. If you are sharing a personal story, use words that will allow people to feel what you felt. Tug on the heart-strings a little bit. Don’t aim for emotional manipulations, but don’t write like it’s a textbook either.
When you activate their emotions, people can’t help but feel connected in some way.
3. Consider the Back Story
When we tell our stories to friends in person, it’s a given that those friends know the background details: who the characters are, the setting, the history, etc. You can’t always be sure of that in a blog post. Your regular readers will understand your reference to Uncle Teddy who spends one weekend a month living in your garage. A new person who stumbles upon your blog, might not get that.
Sometimes when you watch a TV show, you’ll see a little montage at the beginning that says “previously on …”, Maybe you need that on your blog every once in a while. It helps keeps new readers from feeling lost and reminds seasoned readers of the details. Usually a brief parenthetical citation with a link to previous posts is the best way to do this. I hate not understanding if this story about “Science Guy” refers to your husband, your kid, or your brother.
Help new readers feel more involved with the story and you’ll have more returning visitors.
4. Interact with your Readers
Readers stick around because they feel welcomed, valued, and connected. The conversation can’t be one-sided. Encourage your readers to think of a similar story in their lives. Ask a question for them to answer in the comments. And most importantly, respond to questions, comments, and shares. Follow up with people. If they know you care about their thoughts and opinions, they are more likely to continue sharing those things with you. Respond to them by name (or handle) and thank them for their input.
Every relationship has a give and a take. Do your part, and your readers will feel connected.
If you want all your thoughts and feelings to be private, keep a diary. If you blog and yearn for relationships, make sure you follow these tips to optimize your connections.
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