If you’re like me, you’ve wondered how to be as genuine as possible in writing online but without being too personal. I understand some people are extremely open but I’m not. Telling my personal business is not something I do in real life, let alone online. However, to relate to people does require some level of openness. How does one balance this? Here’re some things I’ve tried doing on this blog to help you to relate to me personally without being too detailed:
- Talk to Us, Not at Us
You are not my fans and this is not a stage. We hear it over and over again the importance of writing in a conversational manner. This means to approach your blog as if the people reading (that’s us) are actually sitting right across from your breakfast table sipping coffee or maybe sitting on the couch laughing and you’re having a conversation. This is recommended because it makes your posts read more genuine than the business-like tone (unless your post is strictly business-like). I’d recommend this for your email lists as well.
- Share Experiences / Admit Mistakes
This really helps us to remember that you’re not a robot programmed to schedule posts. We’ve all been through things in our life that has provided us with much to share. I’m sure many of us are over twenty-one and have tons of stories and life lessons to give. There’s no such thing as being “qualified” to give advice. No one has walked your shoes so no one can tell the stories or share the wisdom that you share. It’s like writing. While we can certainly share information, resources, and tips, why you write is a separate matter. No one can define this for you. It’s a different journey in and of itself. In any event, sharing experiences certainly gives your blog a more personal feel to it. With this comes admitting to your mistakes. It will take lots of courage to admit to a mistake you made in private let alone in public but this can be balanced with what you are learning from that mistake to create a nice personal touch. In this way, you’re not just whining but offering something of value to your blog without over doing it. It also showcases humility.
- Show Emotion
I’ve found that some of my best posts are the ones where I am showing emotion. This isn’t to say that I’m writing you tears or cursing someone out. That’s extra. Showing emotion just means that you are being real. Even the strongest person is going to get frustrated sometimes or hurt or experience doubt. It doesn’t make you weak or unfaithful, it just makes you real. It’s OK to use your blog to vent a little bit. Not to the point where you’re out of control but just enough to show vulnerability. Again, this isn’t weakness, its realness. We struggle every day and hiding that struggle only makes you look like a phony. No, you do not have it all together and even if you do some days are not going to be easy. Readers can relate to this kind of stuff and it helps to build a stronger bond with us. You never know who is reading your blog and gaining from your strength.
- Family Photos / Updates
No, I’m not talking about why your sister in law’s baby cousin Tracy slept with your best friend. That’s telling you and someone else’ business. I’m just talking about a little family update now and again. Posting family photos or giving family updates is a great way to connect with readers. Again, it’s a personal thing but not over the top. Maybe you just had an anniversary, bought a house, or took a family trip. What was it like? Did you enjoy yourself? This makes readers feel closer to you and as a result, closer to your blog.
This seems obvious but it really can pass us by as we settle into our blog niches and routines (I don’t really do the niche thing. I blog about whatever moves me). Your personality is your character and not many people showcase their character in their post but this is a nice personal touch without going all out. Even in business type posts, it’s OK to implement some persona. Are you funny? Sarcastic? Serious? These attributes should come across in your writing because it’s you. It helps readers get to know you in a very personal but not too personal way. By very personal I mean that people understand what you like and what you don’t like. They know what makes you upset and what makes you laugh. They get to know you because who you are will shine through your writing.
- News Articles and Third Party Links
They say 90% of communication is non-verbal. This means that most of who you are do not come through in your words but in your actions (i.e. actions speak louder than words). When you share content from others, even news, you are showing a part of yourself. If you pay attention, you can discern the persona or the thoughts of bloggers who rarely blog about how they are feeling because you can see them in the third party information that they share. I can see it in your quotes, your re-blogs, and your links. You may not say much, but I see you. I see you in your actions. I feel when you are in disagreement because the contention is dripping from your energy. I can feel your nose turned up into the air and almost see your head shake. I know because I can smell the aura on your breath and not even the best perfume, cologne, or craftily arranged words will hide it.
What is more personal than music? If actions show your true self, then music is a mirror. The inspiration behind my Throwback Thursday Jams is my attempt at showing another side of myself on this blog other than writing. It is my way of opening up. Not to the extent that I’m talking too much, but just enough for you to get to know me a little more. If you’re still not sure how to be more personal, talking about the kind of music you like or any kind of art is a great way to connect with others.
I can probably think of so many other ways in which we can get personal in our blog post (sharing recipes is another one) without telling our business but I’d like to hear your thoughts as well so I’ll stop here. To be clear, when I say personal I’m not talking about personal in the sense that we tend to think of it. I’m not saying to gossip about your neighbor or tell us that your nephew is homeless. I’m not saying to “sneak diss” someone you didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to approach personally, and I’m not talking about posting about how your rent was due but your husband or wife couldn’t pay the bill. By personal, I just mean to incorporate a dash of persona, a pinch of emotion, and a sprinkle of humility in each post. Let us know that you’re real.