In today’s ultra-connected, information saturated online landscape, building a successful blog goes beyond simply producing content.
It’s no secret that many folks seek to build relationships with the bloggers they follow, so how does one go about creating and nurturing an emotional connection with an audience?
Think of your blog as a person.
Building a brand as a blogger often seems like a convoluted process, but it’s rather simple: think about what kind of person your ideal reader would admire and respect most. What qualities do they have? How do they communicate? What are their values?
Of course, this all comes down to the topics you blog about, your own personality, and the secret ingredients you want to add in order to stand out.
You have to decide whether or not a humorous approach is aligned with the way your ideal readers perceives a blogger, whether your online influence and authority is hindered by the words you use, or the fact that you write from personal experience or not.
The thing is, like most other elements of blogging, it’s all a balancing act. If you compromise too much of your personality, you will have trouble consistently producing content, and if you disregard what the reader wants, you will have trouble building an audience.
Like all superheroes, you need an origin story.
No matter what you blog about, you need to share your origin story. You need to share information about who you are, your journey to becoming that person, and how that can benefit the reader.
Do not underestimate the importance of telling a story about how your blog came to be.
The truth is that building a successful blog is all about offering your readers enough information, so they can paint a picture of who you are. They need enough information to know if you can be trusted. They also need to know if you’re as good as you claim to be.
For instance, it’s always fun to read about someone’s struggles with developing a certain skill. It shows they’re human, and it shows they are confident enough in their abilities (paradoxical, I know) that they don’t feel the need to project an aura of perfection.
The Art of Blogging’s motto is “punch the damn keys.”
I literally do that whenever I write a blog post, and it influences the way I write, the words I use, and my tone of voice.
The Art of Blogging is also my attempt at providing value, while learning new elements about building a successful blog.
Think about you and your blog. What’s your primary motivation for having a blog? Why do you write about the things that you do write about? What about your style? What are you looking for in a reader?
If you have a clear picture of what your blog is, you can better market it to those you want to read your content.
Most bloggers are willing to settle for anyone, as long as someone’s reading their content. Don’t do that. Be clear.
As an example, I do not consider my content to cater to those who are self-described hobby bloggers, those who share personal stories for lack of a diary, so I do my best to show that in the content I write, while also explaining to them that they’re not my target audience.
Because they aren’t.
I sell online courses for those who are serious about blogging, who want to build a proper audience, and who want to monetize their blog, so naturally I am not interested in those who are not serious and committed in their pursuit.
Treat your readers well.
You build emotional engagement with your readers by:
- providing value (sharing information that they can use, information that inspires them, or words that motivate them)
- being consistent (you are trustworthy enough that they can set their alarm clocks to the cadence of your blog)
- entertaining them (it’s not just about making people laugh, it’s about making them feel something; telling stories is integral to this)
- enabling them to connect with like-minded individuals (that’s why it’s often a struggle to build an audience from scratch… there’s no community to attract potential readers, so they can’t be sure they will be able to connect with others just like them)
You need to provide all of these in order to build an attractive brand that will make it almost impossible for your target audience not to subscribe.
Be brave enough to be vulnerable.
Authenticity and vulnerability are incredibly close to one another, and most times they even touch.
I’m not saying that we should all be crybabies, but I do think that we should share our fears, insecurities, struggles, and failures. We should also be brave in our desire to write our truth, even if we’re going to alienate some of our readers.
As wordsmith, as tellers of tales, we have an obligation to write the truth into existence, no matter the consequences.
Being authentic also means that you are honest with yourself enough to share the truth about the tips and tricks you share, that you are not click baiting readers by over-promising in your headline only to under-deliver in your article.
If you were to randomly select three of my blog posts, you’d find at least a sentence about exactly how much effort it takes to build a successful blogger.
I’m not trying to sugarcoat anything, because it will disappoint an alienate far more readers than I’m doing by telling them the truth about blogging success.
So, yeah, don’t be afraid to write your truth, even if your fingers shake against the keyboard. And don’t be afraid to show us that you’re human, just like the rest of us.
Building a successful blog, developing a brand, and attracting enough readers to have a community, all of them take time, but also intent.
It’s not something that just happens. Especially in today’s online environment, when information is just a few clicks away, being clear on your actions matters more than ever.
By consciously aiming to provide value, entertain, and connect with your readers, it’s possible to build a strong emotional connection with those who often invest much too valuable time on your blog.