05 Dec 2017
I used to host a meetup group called “Brisbane Business Bloggers Brunch” wherein business owners and managers who want to blog can join me once a month to get advice for writing their own blogs and stay motivated to keep blogging. My first meetup was a wonderful experience and I’m looking forward to my resurrecting the group early next year. In this first meetup, I was asked a question that I think a lot of people might wonder about. In this post, I share some tips on how to write a personal blog (on your business website). Before I go further just remember my number one tip on this: Lots of Personality VS Being too Personal.
Does this sound like you? One of the coolest facts about blogging is that it originated as somewhat of an online diary, it was as personal as it can get and today, a great blog should always have that personal touch. That’s not to say it’s ok to blog about everything that you ate that day on your business blog, but you can bring in your personal recount or personal lessons onto your business blog. Personal anecdotes make you more human. Nowadays people need brands and businesses to be relatable and more transparent with its motivations.
With any form of writing, there’s an editing process. If you think you have a blog post you really want to write – write it. But then go back and analyse what you’ve written so far! What do you want readers to take away? It isn’t enough to simply write about a certain topic, it’s best to share what you learned/how it changed you/what it meant etc. because it allows readers to join the journey with you. While readers might not relate to your story directly, they’ll be able to identify with the key takeaway/s enabling us to connect in a real way.
Next, it’s time to edit (if you haven’t already begun while you were analysing your post) get rid of any unnecessary fillers and fluff. Get to the point as quickly as possible without sacrificing your voice.
A personal rule of thumb of mine is to keep personal posts below 400 words, any more and there are fewer chances people will end up reading the blog post in its entirety. You can make the blog post even more compelling when it’s accompanied by photos or videos that help tell your story.
You don’t have to write a personal blog all the time. Only write a personal topic if it feels right. To write confidently about something that’s personal you need to truly believe in it from deep within. I know I may sound a bit airy-fairy/hocus pocus/mystical or whatever but honestly, you’ll get what I mean when you get an idea to write and just know you want to tell that story. If the story is truly you, you’ll want to share it!
See your blog not as a place where you have to unveil your most private inner thoughts for all to see but rather as a tv show series or one of those old radio serials. Release a smaller part of a story at a time (a story within a story – sort of like an episode that has its wrap up but an ongoing arc), introduce a few “characters” and people will come back to read more about the ongoing adventure.
Have a look at this blog by Jasmine Star she gives you the perfect example of balancing business and personal blogging. She’s admitted she’s an extremely private person, revealing very little of herself online. However, she’s placed “characters” (herself, family members etc) on her blog and allowed us to hear short, interesting stories about them. Readers have come to care about these “characters” and are interested in updates because they’re regularly shared bits of emotion ‘behind the scenes’ with them. Of course, the blog is engaging and popular because of it’s great writing, generosity in sharing information and humour (among other things) but part of its continual draw is that she’s slowly weaving a story. One her readers want to know what happens next.
Characters aren’t people that are make-believe or false. A character just has a few recognisable traits and a goal that makes us want to know more. We don’t necessarily need to know what the character dreamt of last night to be interested in them. You, the author, get to control what information is shared.
Okay, firstly, you are not, you just can’t see yourself from the outside; and secondly, don’t think personal blog posts necessarily have to be all about you. Remember, personal posts are a connection thread that runs between sessions/tips/events etc and lend a relatable, non-corporate voice to all that’s in-between.
You could mark blogs as personal or business so people can click on the blog knowing that it’s either or. Many times business blogs might even sound a little personal and that’s fine. A personal blog post is one that might not really be directly connected to your business – but it lets your audience get to know you, to trust you.