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