How To Boost Your Online Popularity By Getting Personal

Let me guess…

You’re writing a blog to promote your business. But your blog isn’t exactly *uh* popular. Even some of your favourite clients aren’t tweeting, plussing or liking your posts. And far too often you see the dreaded ZERO comments.

Something is wrong. But you’re not sure what. And it’s getting you down.

Off line – in real life – you’ve no problem engaging customers. You enjoy talking with potential clients. Heck, you even chat with strangers while waiting for the bus.

So what’s going wrong on your blog?

What’s stopping people engaging with you online?

Your information is useful. Tick.

You’re promoting your blog posts on social media. Tick.

And via email. Tick.

So what’s up?

Are you hiding your personality? Are you writing with passion? Or do you sound a bit like a faceless, dull company?

Last month Chris Garrett wrote on the Micro Business Hub about being human. About showing your face rather than a logo on your social media profiles; and about making every interaction count. Excellent suggestions.

But how can you be more human on your blog? And engage with potential and existing clients?

You’ll have to let your personality shine through. Write with passion. And share your stories.

You’ll be richly rewarded with tweets, and likes, and plusses. And best of all, you’ll get comments.

Let’s start with how to add emotion to your writing.

How to write with passion

You enjoy working most with clients who you get on with, don’t you?

And you perform best when you feel you can be yourself? That’s why you have to let your personality shine through. Also when you write.

The first rule of writing with passion is: don’t ever try to sound like a big company. How can companies be passionate?  Here’s a pretty extreme example of how big organisations get communication oh-so-wrong. Never use vapid clichés and gobbledygook – meaningless nonsense like cutting edge, leading, and best-in-class. Instead use only simple phrases with a meaning. Sound like a person, not like a company.

That’s the first rule. Observe the first rule and you’re half way on your journey to writing with passion. Here are the additional rules:

  1. Write your first draft as if you’re emailing your favourite client. Be friendly and conversational.
  2. Then, in your second draft, make the story flow. And cut redundant paragraphs. Try to get just one message across.
  3. Next: reduce the average length of your sentences. Create a few broken sentences. Because they’re easy to read.
  4. And now: it’s time to add a few emotional words: vivid, sensory, or nostalgic words.
  5. Lastly, consider adding occasional surprise to make your reader pay attention. Try quirkiness (I like adding a sound like *Blllerrrrgh* for something really bad). Or use deliberate misspellings (I like writing huuuuge  or boooooring). Or you could add strong language (it sucks!) if that suits your tone of voice.

That’s how you should write. Bu what should you write about to make a personal connection?

How to engage your readers by sharing your stories

You know stories are powerful, don’t you?

Stories are memorable. Stories enchant. Stories connect.

Your stories can be small or big. It doesn’t matter. Here are three ideas for big stories you can share – recommended by John Jantsch:

  1. Your passion story: What is your mission? What makes you enjoy what you’re doing?
  2. Your purpose story: Who are you serving? And why?
  3. Your positioning or personality story: What’s different about working with you?

And what about small stories? It can be anything. Adding references to your life helps build connections. Talk about your pet, for instance. Or mention mistakes you’ve made. It makes you human. And you know people connect with humans, not with robots, don’t you?

Story telling is the most powerful skill you can learn in business.

The truth about getting personal

Do you feel nervous about sharing personal stories?

Write up a list of things you don’t want to share; things that are too personal for the public domain. You don’t have to bare all. You are in charge. You can set your own boundaries. But think about the things you share with clients. Could you repeat some of the conversations you have online?

Are you concerned that no one will be interested in your stories?

Not everyone needs to interested. Remember your favourite client? If she’d like to read your content, you’re on the right track.

Come on. Just try it. Add personality to your blog. Show emotion. Take a strong view point. And you’ll attract the right audience. And you’ll entice new clients to work with you.

And best of all: it will be fun.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Spend 15 minutes jotting down ideas for using stories in your blog posts to showcase your personality and avoid being anonymous and forgettable.

Henneke Duistermaat

Henneke Duistermaat is a marketer and copywriter. She helps companies win business with persuasive website and content. Sign up for her ultra-short, entertaining copywriting and content marketing tips at Enchanting Marketing.

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  1. Love it – too many bloggers especially business churn out the “oh, look here’s some minor award we’ve been nominated for” or “hey, guys we now stock red widgets to go with our blue widgets”.

    This is one thing i advise a lot of my small business clients who start blogging – Have a personality, have an opinion & use real life experiences.

    Another great example of a successful “personal blog post”has to be Jon Morrow’s guest blog on Problogger where he lays out his life story – it’s probably one of the most popular Problogger articles (ever!)

    Another example is Raven Tools who let their employes write on the company blog about his experiences after a major accident

  2. My writing has generally been for academic work and personality is not wanted. My natural style is very personality driven and talking right to people and what they care about. It’s taking me a while to feel ok about doing, this but getting there 🙂

    One useful tip I learnt from all those essays – for every point you make, think ‘why should my reader give a s**t?’ Make it CLEAR.
    Rosie Slosek recently posted..3 reasons cake belongs with bookkeepingMy Profile

    • That’s a good point, Rosie.

      And yes, I agree. Academic and business writing are completely different. The passive voice, for instance, is far more acceptable for academic writing. The active voice is preferable for business writing and blogging.

  3. Awesome post Henneke! I have struggled with this in the past as well. One of the best examples of someone getting personal with their blog is Naomi Dunford at
    Russ Henneberry recently posted..How To Become MemorableMy Profile

  4. Adding a little pint of humor will obviously be highly appreciated. But one should note that it’s LITTLE since you don’t know how great are your readers’ sense of humor.
    Further, going personal doesn’t sound you a robot.
    So, a GREAT post, Henneke (wow! Very unique name)

  5. Thanks, Henneke! You make an excellent point. Most of us involved with blogging learned long ago to avoid writing the way we talk. I love your handy suggestions for how to unlearn that lesson and re-introduce our personality. Success walks in baby steps, and we need frequent reminders like this!
    Robbie Schlosser recently posted..Good Conversation Skills for Wedding and Party MusicMy Profile


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