Blogging is an intimate writing medium. That’s what distinguishes it from many other types of writing. Whether your blog offers a slice-of-life look at the day-to-day happenings in your personal world or discusses your company’s products, policies, and promotions, blogging is an up-close-and-personal way to do it. As a highly interactive medium (and we hope your blog does allow comments), blogging is, in a very real sense, a two-way conversation between you and your readers. And while you may do most of the talking via your (hopefully copious) blog posts, engaging with those who are interested enough to visit and read your musings day after day can help make you more authentic—and more successful—as a blogger.
But, let’s start from the beginning. Here are a few ways you can become a more authentic blogger and connect with your audience in a way that helps you grow a loyal and dedicated readership:
Be yourself. You won’t get far as a blogger by trying to be someone you’re not. Many new bloggers feel that they need to imitate other popular bloggers to be popular themselves. But, that isn’t true. The most popular bloggers got that way, not by copying others, but by being themselves. You have something unique to offer your readers, something that no one else can give them. Discover what that “something” is and use it to develop your following.
Write about things you care about. Your readers will be able to tell when your heart is in your writing—and when it isn’t. You may think you can pull off writing about a topic that bores you to death, but it rarely works for long. Your blogging simply won’t have the spark of inspiration that attracts people like a magnet. When you write about things that don’t matter to you, your posts will lack the enthusiasm that can make them matter to other people, too. Blogging about things you don’t care about will also likely cause you to burn out quickly, which isn’t helpful to you or your audience.
Write about things your audience cares about. Know who your target audience is, and find the point where your interests and theirs intersect. That will be your “sweet spot” for real engagement. Write about what both you and they love and do it in a compelling way, and watch that audience flock to your blog and hang onto every word you write.
Always respond to comments left on your posts. Show your commenters the simple courtesy of responding to the thoughts they’ve taken the time and effort to share in response to your posts. Remember that they didn’t have to leave a comment. They could have simply read your post and moved on. Unless your blog is so outrageously popular that responding to the number of comments you receive would be a full-time job in itself, do give your readers the benefit of an authentic—even if short—reply.
Ask your readers’ opinions, and use them to plot the direction of future posts. Your readers will appreciate the feeling of validation this gives them. One of the best ways of being authentic as a blogger is by letting your readers know that it isn’t all about you—that they count, too.
Let your readers know who you are. Don’t be afraid to reveal your true identity to them—to show a little heart. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to reveal the intimate details of your life. But, it does mean that you should reveal your personality. Once your readers get to know you, they will care more about what you think.
Authenticity is what blogging is all about. It’s the true heart of the medium. Work on developing this endearing trait, and you’ll build a die-hard following that will stick with you for the long term.
Guest post contributed by Harry French, on behalf of www.bloggingtips.com.