“The casual conversational tone of a blog is what makes it particularly dangerous.” – Daniel B. Beaulieu, The Accidental Entrepreneur
Blogging is a paradox for writers, a kind of thinking out loud on an exceptionally public platform. When writing a blog post, you want to showcase your own personal style and your life experience. At the same time, you should keep a professional tone to maintain authority.
It’s a challenge, of course, but it’s this balance of personal and professional that makes blogging so effective.
Here are 5 tips for finding that perfect balance.
1. Save Your Dirty Laundry for Facebook
Your blog is not the place for you to air out your dirty laundry, inclusive of complaints about infidelity and illness, or venting about the behavior of your co-workers. In all honesty, you shouldn’t be doing this anywhere online, but if you are, save it for Facebook, and make sure your profile is private. Your blog posts are meant to help people and provide value for your readers.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share your struggles, because you should. When you have gained something from a difficult experience, and the lesson is learned, you should share your understanding with readers.
When sharing about your hardships, ask yourself who your readers are, and what you’ve learned that can help them.
This popular post generated a lot more success than it would have had Bob decided to explain that he was in a terrible financial mess. Try to generate empathy and awe from your readers through lessons using concrete personal examples, not sympathy and pity from victimization.
2. Only Share Your Best Knowledge
Wouldn’t you want one well-behaved, loyal dog rather than 8 untrained mutts? Of course you would. Your readers are thinking the same thing. So, just because you have something to say, doesn’t mean you should say it. Keep your content relevant, helpful, and high-quality.
“Blogging is hard because of the grind required to stay interesting and relevant.” – Sufia Tippu
Posting a ton of keyword-optimized articles could get you picked up by Google and Bing, but shares and engagement are going to affect your rankings even more. If you are sharing every thought that crosses your mind in your blog just so you have something to post, stop now. Your readers are intelligent, and they want you to increase their intelligence rather than waste their time.
Don’t share every thought that crosses your mind in your blog just so you have something to post.
3. Give Re-Posts Your Own Creative Spin
I did a quick search on Google for pages containing the exact phrase “new testosterone booster hits the shelves.” This query resulted in 184,000 articles. As you can guess, not many of these posts are going to be very shareable.
This post here has received exactly zero likes or shares. Can you guess why?
The internet is saturated with posts containing duplicate content. Blogs are a great place to share news, but you’re not going to come across as a trusted authority on any matter without your own creative spin on the topic at hand.
Here’s how I would have worded the headline:
“This is What I Think About the Supplement Everyone is Talking About”
It’s clickable, and here’s what Google had to say about that exact phrase:
Even retelling a familiar story can be done with originality, and it always should when you are blogging. This helps maintain a flawless marriage between personality and professionalism.
4. Talk to a Friend… with Restraint
This one truth about your audience will make all the difference. Remember: You’re on the internet, so everyone can see what you have to say.
I like to imagine that I’m having a conversation with my best friend… in front of my boss. It helps me dance with my words along that fine line between business and pleasure.
If you can keep this in mind, it should help you intuitively figure out what is appropriate and what might be considered taboo. Each niche varies as far as calibrating levels of appropriateness, and some writers can get away with more provocation than others. After all, controversy does get attention.
5. Leverage Your Readers’ Insight
Once you’ve got an established following—email subscribers, social media followers, and commenters—you have everything you need for targeted blog posts. All you have to do is listen to your followers. If people are asking questions, answer them. If they are challenging your stance, accept the challenge. Take your responses a step beyond the comment thread, and write articles about these topics.
A good response to the above comment might be, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but X,XXX subscribers disagree.” Or, you could really appeal to an entire group of people who think this way by writing a blog post in response:
“5 Ways X is Contributing to the X Industry in a Big Way”
Instead of apologizing, I would respond to this type of comment with a link to a blog post addressing it. It’s a polite way to let everyone know you’re paying attention, change the media perception of your brand, and just impress people reading the thread.
Do You Think You Can Unify Personal and Professional Now?
Nix the drama, always share quality over quantity, maintain your own creative edge, write with your entire audience in mind, and leverage your readers’ thoughts for content ideas. By integrating these tactics into your current blogging strategy, you will start to see a whole new dimension of relationship with your readers. Let us know how this advice helps you with your next post.
About the Author: Megan Hicks is a content manager who provides online marketing consultations to aspiring bloggers.