I’ll cut straight to the chase: it’s honesty.
That’s the vital ingredient your blog is missing right now.
And I know what you’re thinking: “What are you talking about Kelly? I already am being honest on my blog.”
And of course you are. But here’s the thing, you’re probably only being honest about the good stuff.
Yep, everywhere I look there are bright and shiny blogs filled with bright and shiny thoughts and ideas that are great for SEO and establishing the writer as an authority in their field. But here’s the problem with bright and shiny – readers find it hard to connect with that. They can aspire to bright and shiny. And they can admire bright and shiny. But aspiration and admiration create a barrier between you and the reader. It’s you subtly telling the reader “I’m better than you.”
And if that’s your goal – to set yourself above your reader – then carry right along.
But if you’d like to truly connect with your reader; if you’d like readers who feel like you just get them, then read on. I have three three case studies that will show how you can bring the kind of honesty that connects into your blogging mix:
Kate is a copywriter. She’s worked with huge brands such as Westpac and Kmart as well as small businesses. She writes sales copy, web copy, SEO friendly copy … the lot, and is a genuine expert in her field. She could easily choose to position herself above her readers, but she doesn’t. She chooses to take a very honest, unfiltered, warts and all approach to her blogging. And people love it. Kate has many raving fans. When someone is on the lookout for a copywriter all those fans cannot put her name forward fast enough. This means Kate is never short of work and gets to be choosy about who she wants to work with.
Here are some key posts from Kate that demonstrate the above:
- 6 shitty things that happened to my business (and the lessons I learned)
- The one question that changed the way I do business
- You’re a success. What next?
Andrew is Australia’s #1 Small Business and Entrepreneurial author with 12 books being sold in 60 countries. He is an absolute authority in his space. Yet Andrew makes no secret of the fact that he started life as an orphan, experienced quite a tumultuous upbringing and, as an adult, has had to fight anxiety. It’d be tempting to think that all these revelations would dent his status as an expert in his field, yet all they do is make people love him and flock to him even more than they did before. Like Kate, this means he is never short on work and speaking gigs … and has led to him being invited to write for big international publications like Inc.com and Flying Solo. Andrew is very real and honest, and people just love that about him.
Here are some posts that show off that honesty and realness:
- Recently I had the great pleasure of delivering a TEDx talk
- 9 signs you are talking to a ‘Douchepreneur’
- Sometimes, I get scared
Dan is known today as the founder of WP Curve and the author of The 7 Day Startup and Content Machine (two books every business owner should read). Dan brings honesty to the table in a different way to Andrew and Kate. He doesn’t share about his life – he shares about his business. Each month on the WP Curve blog he shares what he calls the monthly run rate. It’s a report on how much WP Curve has made that month, what their goals for their content marketing strategy are, whether all their targets have been hit … and if they haven’t, why not. Once again, it would be easy to think this would dent Dan’s status as a thought leader in his space. But it doesn’t. When Dan creates Facebook communities that give access to him and his brain, he has over 1000 people sign up. When he releases a new book, it hits the bestseller lists on Amazon immediately. People love him and just want him to succeed. So they get behind him.
Want some examples of Dan’s monthly income reports? Your wish is my command:
- $65,522 monthly run rate – June 2015 monthly report
- $66,596 monthly run rate, 11% increase in traffic, and big events – May 2015 monthly report
- $66,154 run rate and content updates – April 2015 monthly report
If you’re keen to be more honest with your blog writing, but you’re not sure where to start, my advice is, as with anything: start small.
My favourite ‘honesty template’ is this:
FIRST: Share about a problem you had in your business.
THEN: Share about how you went about dealing with that problem and the lessons you took away from the experience.
So simple and yet so effective.
The beauty of this template is that it offers the reader an insight into your world, genuinely helps them (because they will learn from what you’ve learned) and also gives them hope.
- If I’m busy, why do I need to market my business?
- Stressed out? Here’s how to be the egg, not the potato
- 7 ways to kick ass at a conference when you’re an introvert
Showing your readers that successful people face the same challenges they do – and showing them how these challenges can be surmounted and moved past to achieve success is a hugely powerful tool for connection (and ironically, it’s a powerful for authority too.)