Publicity & Growth: The Personality of your Blog

Personality by Pezibear CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay

A few years ago, I entered the National Novel Writing Month and one of the charac­ter­ist­ics I found was that the people in my story built their own person­al­ity. The story may have come from my own mind but it was the charac­ters that wrote themselves into each element of the story. They built their own person­al­ity, expressed their desires, fears etc. My role: simply to note their actions, as if I was watch­ing the story unfold in front of me. The fly on the wall.

 
A blog is not simply a mirror of your own person­al­ity, it devel­ops and grows on its own. It has some simil­ar­it­ies to nurtur­ing a child.
 

Relating to Readers

 
Story by Pexels CC0 Public DomainBy sharing stories, you help your readers relate to you.” says Daniela Uslan of Twelveskip. Yet it is my belief that, given time, blogs devel­op their own person­al­ity. The words come from you. In part your writing style defines that person­al­ity. But, it also relates to the subject matter of the site. You do not have free rein. Blogs are specif­ic in nature. A blog about a focused business subject cannot carry an article about knitting and the pleas­ure it gives.
 
Relevance to the specif­ic audience needs consid­er­a­tion for all articles published. It may mean your soft-side will not show itself to this audience.
 
Of course people have wide interests. There is nothing stopping a business guru and CEO of a fortune 500 company from having an interest in knitting. Some people would encour­age it. Trouble is you cannot write about knitting on your business blog. Blogs are focused, talking about one speci­al­ity. Thus the need to be specif­ic. Two diverse interests may have trouble mixing
 
It is possible to have multiple blogs. Following this example, the writer could have a specif­ic business blog and a knitting one.
 

Priorities

 
You should know the themes and topics you will cover over the next period. Create a public­a­tion plan. Also, you must realise that prior­it­ies do change and issues that were not on the horizon a month ago are now the most import­ant thing in the world.
 
I have a sheet of paper on my desk listing the prior­it­ies for upcom­ing articles. That sheet lists everything I intend to publish. It breaks the working articles down into the follow­ing groups:
 
  1. Next 6 weeks,
  2. 6 Weeks to 3 months,
  3. 3 to 6 months,
  4. 6 months to 1 year, and 
  5. Longer
I printed my list and cross out completed items. Most of the first block is now complete. Simply, waiting for approv­al for one piece, written for a client. It also has new items pencilled in.
 
This process allows me time to look at all the notes collec­ted, assess each, either based on how complete it was of on sub-topic import­ance. Then fit it into one of the groups. I have tried to ensure all categor­ies (or main blog topics) are covered. This ensures each of the themes get covered over time. I typic­ally repeat the process every couple of months.
 

Distinguish Yourself

 
Perspective by Free-Photos CC0 Public Domain from PixabayWhat is your perspect­ive on the subject? Make it clear, almost from the first article. One of the challenges of blogging is finding a unique perspect­ive. On some sub-topics your views are very differ­ent to many other writers, this is good. Encourage your individu­al­ity and try to bring this out, it should contrib­ute to a unique­ness about your blog.
 
Chandra Clarke from Business to Community says “it can be easy to get caught up in your ego and assume that your blog is the best on the subject. However, keeping your ‘enemies’ close by check­ing other blogs that share the same follow­ers as yours will help you find ways to differ­en­ti­ate your content and brew up new angles and ideas”.
 
In most cases, your site is not the only source of inform­a­tion avail­able to the reader. You may have the best inform­a­tion, but the prospect­ive reader doesn’t know that when encoun­ter­ing your site on their search results. In most special­ist areas there is a common camarader­ie. You should get to know other people in your special­ist area, seek ways to collab­or­ate with them. Even working togeth­er you can distin­guish yourself. Share your ideas.
 

Don’t be Afraid to Show Personality

 
“Show your emotion,” someone once advised me about my writing. I was writing a business report, so I tried for a long time to under­stand how emotion comes into play. What they meant, I needed to show which options I had reasoned were best. Be more enthu­si­ast­ic, then prove why they required support. It wasn’t neces­sar­ily emotion, but a cold, calcu­lated, logic­al reason for doing something, perhaps a combin­a­tion. Readers often need a nudge to do something.
 
When you are writing a blog you need to ensure your writing is not flat. Business writing has a tendency to be flat, it shows little emotion. After all, logic should drive decisions, they should be logic­al or based on money. Is that true? Even at the highest levels level of business human emotions drive decisions. CEO of a Fortune 500 company once told me he approved of the software product we had selec­ted because it looked good with his company logo. 
 
Decisions are often based on some sense of moral­ity. That moral­ity or emotion becomes a person­al­ity trait of your blog. The anniversary of its creation is a special date, as are other milestones you meet along the way. Chris Brecheen talked about the need to celeb­rateThis is all a part of build­ing the blog’s person­al­ity. 
 

Knowing your Audience

 
AudienceDo you get comments? I have been on blogs where hundreds of comments are left. When someone writes In part I am jealous — wishing I had as many comments. One of the things I have learned about comments is that they bring an oppor­tun­ity to devel­op your thoughts further.
 
One piece of advice that is constantly paraded by experts, is “know your audience”. One of the best ways of knowing your audience is to listen to what they write in their comments. Normally comments show one of four things: appre­ci­ation for your words, agree­ment, disagree­ment, or suggest areas for future consid­er­a­tion.
 
Of this set it is the last two that give you oppor­tun­it­ies for growth. Despite all the research, you can never think of everything. Those items for future consid­er­a­tion may, or, may not, be topics you have already considered. Perhaps it is time to change your prior­it­ies and publish something under­way sooner.
 
It is how you handle dissent­ing views that can tell most about the blog’s person­al­ity. You could certainly ignore them or you could regard them as a challenge that needs answer­ing. Which will you do?
 

Tell Stories and Anecdotes

 
“Telling stories to each other is what makes us human. They help us under­stand the forces at work in our lives. Stories have a begin­ning, middle and end” ~ Heidi Cohen 
 
Everyone loves a story. This may be a well worn cliché, but it is true. Readers tend to pay atten­tion more to stories than pure comment­ary. Stories must have a purpose, they should tell a person­al exper­i­ence (not neces­sar­ily yours). They should fit the broad­er context. Within the confines of a blog they need to be short, one paragraph, perhaps two. Most of all stories provide person­al­ity, but they can also make the point.
 
This is where the bravery of an explorer has relev­ance to a business blog. You put the audience into the shoes of the explorer, showing the bravery, tenacity, and the need to take one more step when all seems lost. The story is there to help the reader under­stand your point.
 

To the Point

 
Pin Point by OpenClipartVectors CC0 Public DomainWe all love to tell stories. Of that we can all agree. Trouble is it is too easy to tell one that goes on and on, then misses the point. The challenge with your blog is telling the right ones and make sure they illus­trate the point.
 
You must avoid those well trodden stories taken from famous books. It is likely that every other blogger who has written on this subject has made that connec­tion before you. The story should gener­ally support your view.
 
Quotes are anoth­er thing to avoid. In my view 95% of all quotes are wrongly used or taken out of context. In one, rare, instance I have seen a quote be used the oppose the very view the origin­at­or suppor­ted his whole life.
 

Style of Writing

 
Many blogs come from person­al exper­i­ence and tend to follow the essay style of writing. There is nothing wrong with this, except, perhaps, overem­phas­is of your person­al prefer­ences. Essay writing is often in first person. It is true that first person is the one most often poorly executed by inexper­i­enced writers. This involves repeated use of “I”, arguably overuse.
 
One posit­ive aspect about first person is that it pulls a person into the story being told. You add person­al­ity when person­al exper­i­ence dictates the stories told. This makes its use perfect, and a lesson the author learned. It will not work for something the writer has no direct exper­i­ence of. Likely the reason most experts advise writers to avoid first person.
 

Avoiding Gobbledygook

 
When writing for a business audience there is a tendency to write in the language of your speci­al­ity. The account­ant and computer program­mer each have their own jargon. Yet, it is not always appro­pri­ate to use. The language of your speci­al­ity is best reserved for the most technic­al of conver­sa­tions. A blog can, in part, be ideal for a discus­sion using jargon, but the audience must be the correct one, e.g. all members of your profes­sion. The account­ant speak­ing with a fellow account­ant for example.
 
Even here it is better to use normal English rather than jargon whenev­er possible. The audience will appre­ci­ate you as a person. It will devel­op a person­al­ity for your blog.
 
If the blog offers special­ist advice then the language used must be detailed and precise. For example a computer program­mer discuss­ing a specif­ic problem using the Java program­ming language will need to give specif­ic examples, in Java. Then such a post would appeal only to a specif­ic audience and would not be for the gener­al public.
 

Personality? — A Conclusion

 
All of the charac­ter­ist­ics discussed here come togeth­er to give your blog a distinct person­al­ity. That needs to be nurtured and allowed to grow. How you publi­cise the site and the readers you have also impact the blog’s person­al­ity. Pictures also add to person­al­ity, they help convey meaning and help the reader consider your words more, the fact they also break up the text adds to the person­al­ity.
 

Other Related Items

 
There are other pages on GobbledeGoox cover­ing relate topics that may interest you, includ­ing:

 

 

If you like this post then make a donation to the upkeep of GobbledeGoox . What are your thoughts on devel­op­ing the person­al­ity of your blog? Something to contrib­ute? Please leave a comment. The images here were either created or owned by Peter Giblett or have been sourced from a public domain location, such as Pixabay.

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