How Sincerity Helped Increase My Readership

How Sincerity

I fell into the same trap that a lot of bloggers do when they first start blogging. I looked to the bloggers that I admired and read regularly and tried to emulate what made them unique. It took me awhile, but I learned that trying to copy something that is unique takes the originality out of it and soon my blogging felt forced and contrived.  I knew what I liked reading in blogs and I tried to write the same way.  That is fine and good, but there are SO MANY blogs on the internet. No one wants to read the same thing over and over again.

I started out with my passionate explanations about why I wanted to start my blog, but after I got all of those things out, I felt that my posts got a little repetitive and I wasn’t enjoying the writing as much. I tried to force my life on my readers in hopes that they would find it spellbinding and would be unable to wait for a new recap of when I went to the farmer’s market (spoiler alert: that will still come up now that I am in a new city and the weather is improving). My page views either increased slowly or leveled off since I wasn’t offering anything different or adding my unique voice to my writing.

Then I decided to get real.  

If you have been reading for awhile you know I am a recovering addict. I have given talks on it and have published writing attesting to the fact, yet it took me half a year or more to actually talk about it on this blog.  I embraced the honesty that I was practicing in my recovery and decided to use it in all aspects of my life.  After looking at stats following my more honest posts, I learned how sincerity helped increase my readership.

I opened up about my past and shared with you about how I went from an honor roll student to a heroin addict. I shared about my subsequent struggles with disordered eating and exercise addiction. I talked about realizing that I didn’t know who I was, dealing with disappointment, and my struggles with moving to a new city halfway across the country.

I discovered that the more I was honest with people, the more engagement I got. I think we all want to connect with other people and stepping outside of that mask to take the risk of being vulnerable takes a lot of courage. Not everyone is comfortable with that, but I have found that the more I do it, the easier it becomes and the more people respond.

I always like reading posts where bloggers write about something REAL–be it a struggle or an emotional achievement.  After reading post after post of product reviews and all of the AMAZING things going on in someone’s life I start to get suspicious. Those people don’t seem real to me.

Once I started talking openly about my feelings and how I want more for myself, the number of people who empathized soon turned into the number of people who starting following this blog. Connection is such a powerful thing and when we feel that we can identify with someone else, the likelihood of us returning to read more from that person greatly increases.

I know not everyone is comfortable with opening their lives up to the scrutiny of the internet, so if the thought freaks you out, just start small. Talk about how you had a tough day at work and how you got through it (hint: always talk about the solution, even if you’re not there yet. Don’t use it as a venue to vomit complaints and place blame).  Sometimes it’s the smallest things you share that resonate the most with readers.  Don’t be afraid to get real.

Thanks as always Amanda for letting me think out loud.

Questions:

  • What kinds of posts are your favorite to read?
  • Do you open up on your blog?
  • How has sincerity worked for you?
Follow:

19 Comments

  1. April 30, 2015 / 6:16 am

    I like to think that I am the secret to increasing your blog readership 😀 Seriously, you know I’m kidding. I think that we all are in blogging and we read these blogs because, sure, we are interested in the tips and such. But really? we are here for the stories, the unique perspectives. And people are dumb, but they are also very smart–they can see through that front in a hot second. Never hide from your past–just know where you don’t want to return to.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Windy City Bloggers, Soulcycle, and Random RandomsMy Profile

  2. April 30, 2015 / 8:04 am

    i love this. and yes, it’s all about being YOU and relatable, yes?

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 30, 2015 / 2:52 pm

      Exactly! When I read other people’s blogs I am interested in THEM, not just a rehashing of something I’ve read a million times. Thanks for reading Lindsay!

  3. April 30, 2015 / 8:25 am

    I can definitely relate, girl. I started blogging when I was actively recovering from my eating disorder, and I’m pretty sure that talking openly about my struggles was what helped me make the biggest connections with people. I think our blogs have to be a [slightly-edited] extension of ourselves, and that we can’t put on a front or hope to put across a life that isn’t really ours and expect people to buy it. Our blogs can change over time, but I think it’s always important to be writing from a place that comes from inside of us instead of trying to emulate others or write in a certain way that we think we’re supposed to.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. thinking out loud #128 .My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 30, 2015 / 2:53 pm

      Totally agree. It’s those personal tidbits that help us connect and realize we aren’t alone in a crazy world!

  4. April 30, 2015 / 12:54 pm

    Sincerity is much appreciated from this reader. I find the blogging world so interesting. I’m interested in reading about people’s lives that I might not ever meet in real life, but I keep coming back for more. If I feel a blogger is sincere and honest, not trying to make a buck on each post, then I stay around. As for my own writing, I’d love to write more in depth on certain topics, but since they are such sensitive matters and usually involve someone else I don’t. That grey area gets too risky to jeopardize a friendship/relationship. I love writing the raw, honest posts…even though hitting ‘post’ is nerve wracking! Thanks for your honesty, its nice to read. xoxo, ganeeban
    ganeeban recently posted…WIAW – Road Trip StyleMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 30, 2015 / 2:54 pm

      That’s definitely a good point. There are more things that I would like to write about, but sometimes they involve other people. If I have their permission to write about it I will, but I don’t want to invade anyone else’s privacy. For the most part I am safe when the story is about me alone and I just have to be careful if it’s bigger than me.

    • April 30, 2015 / 3:46 pm

      I struggle with this as well. With so many people (children, step-kids, exes, and all the emotions that go along) it is very VERY tricky to write transparently without offending anyone. Whew. So hard, especially when I’ve been into the wine.
      Suzy recently posted…Dear Brain, From FacebookMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 30, 2015 / 2:54 pm

      Thanks girl! You have been knocking out some good ones lately 🙂

  5. April 30, 2015 / 3:43 pm

    I love honesty because it’s freeing. Honest pain is more rewarding than fake happy. Something my dad taught me that goes along these lines is that we are only as sick as our secrets so if we truly want to be free from things that bind us, then we will bring them out to the light. It’s a scary thing to do, but this post has proven that it’s worth it. People want to help others as much as we want to heal ourselves and it’s a gift from the universe that we are able to do both at the same time. I love your writing, Erin! You’re the good shit.

    • erinsinsidejob
      May 5, 2015 / 9:57 am

      I agree with all of this! It took awhile for me to become comfortable with it and I’m still not always, but it is just so much easier to be honest than to try and dance around things or come up with some kind of other explanation.

  6. May 1, 2015 / 3:54 am

    Honesty is the key to creating meaningful relationships both in real life and the blog world to me. Though I will say I struggled with that in the beginning because other bloggers seemed to go through life with ease and positivity all day every day. However, like you I noticed people commenting more and coming back to my blog when I revealed that no, life isn’t perfect for me and started sharing more of what was really on my mind.
    You’re setting a great example with your openness, Erin. That’s what makes me come back to your blog time and time again.
    Miss Polkadot recently posted…One chance you shouldn’t miss when bloggingMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      May 5, 2015 / 9:58 am

      Thank you!

      Like I said, I get a little suspicious when everything I see is flowers and sunshine. Everyone struggles and I think it’s important to share that rather than pretend it doesn’t exist. That really only perpetuates the cycle.

  7. May 1, 2015 / 9:40 am

    I love reading unique and REAL posts from bloggers – I immediately think of yours! It’s so refreshing to read something that is close to what I think a blogger’s personality is like.
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Gluten-free chocolate peanut butter barsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      May 5, 2015 / 10:02 am

      Aw thanks Jess!

    • erinsinsidejob
      July 9, 2015 / 5:12 pm

      I hope so! I’ve always found being genuine has resonated the most. Thanks for reading Amy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge