Why It’s Important To Humanize Your Blog Content

Humanize your blog content I used to think that you should not talk about yourself in your blog content. I actually read it somewhere and for a while I was careful not to do it.

“Always think about your audience. Nobody cares if you’re having coffee…”

But today I have a different opinion. Today I strongly believe in delivering the human being in your content. Let me tell you what I mean and share with you my own experience and what I learned:

Becoming Human Online

Following the rules

When I started blogging I followed a set of rules that was gently injected into my brain by the big boys in the blogosphere. I’m not saying it was bad advice, keep reading. For a while I kept myself out of the equation when I was writing content, I focused on talking to YOU and providing value for YOU.

Experimenting a little

I was able to start building an audience but, at some point I got uncomfortable and felt like I was reading the news. I started experimenting about how I write, I started using WE instead of YOU and, little by little started sharing my own thoughts.

Be fucking human man…

But somewhere in the process I was able to relax and write in the same way I would speak to you if you were right in front of me. I don’t have the best grammar either, English is not even my first language but hey… this is really me. And people seem to appreciate that.

I give you facts, opinions, I even admit that I’ve said something in the past and now I changed my mind. I talk about me, you, us, Bob Marley. Who cares.

When you start been too careful about what you say and how you say it, you stop being human.

What I Learned

First, I think that if you’re barely starting to blog or you haven’t yet started to build an audience is better to stay clear. Let’s be honest, if I don’t know who you are I really don’t care if you’re a coffee lover. Even if I love coffee too. I think it’s very easy to lose readers like that at the beginning.

My second point is that you need to experiment in order to find how to express yourself in a natural way. See how some people say that you need to find your voice? that sounds complicated, just find the way to be yourself. Period.

And lastly, be you, speak out, give your opinion, express your thoughts. If you find the way to be yourself when you write online, you are able to give so much more to your audience. Believe me, people can feel you.

@JonMorrow, Associate Editor of Copyblogger, calls it bonding. You tell people about yourself so they get to know you. People like to do business and buy products from someone they know.

Let’s look at some ways of humanizing your content:

Your Personality

How is your blog different?

How is your business different? For years I wasn’t able to answer this question. I thought the question was just stupid. I had a business that for a while was by far the leader in a segment. It was clear to everybody. I still didn’t know how it was different from the competition or at least how to come up with enough B.S. to answer the stupid question.

All blogs look about the same, same technology is accesible to everybody, stock photography is everywhere… There is only one aspect of your blog that is different from all the others: YOU.

If you don’t deliver yourself in your content, you blog is just like any other blog.

Your Perspective

Why do I care about reading YOUR blog post about “How to become an early riser” when I can read it from 10 other blogs?

Because you have your own thoughts and points of view about a topic and you make sure to express them in your writing. I enjoyed reading about productivity from Leo Babauta because I was able to feel a connection with how he approaches the whole thing. I actually bought his book knowing I wasn’t going to follow his method (I have issues with methods, specially on productivity) but his perspective gave me so much it was totally worth it.

Your perspective sets you apart from others and makes you human.

Your Tone

The tone you use in your writing may not seem as important as the other points but it is. It allows you to express yourself in a unique way. As I mentioned before, forget about “finding your voice” and focus only on finding yourself.

Do this exercise, visit some blogs and see if you can identify the blogger’s tone of voice, you will totally be able to tell if that person is trying hard to write like that or if it feels natural. Try to recognize different tones and tell me if you don’t get a little bit of the human being behind the words.

Tell Your Story

There is one more thing I did a few months ago, I took my “Who Is This Dude?” page and I made it more personal. I decided to share a little bit more of who I am, a short version of my story and how I got here. Shared a couple of lines about my kids and my current dreams. Nothing too crazy.

I’m not trying to say that I did a great job or that my story is so kick-ass but here is what happened. It turned into one of the most visited pages, a lot of people visiting for the first time hit this page after landing on a post (you can see this kind of stuff on your Google Analytics by the way…). I’ve received tons of positive comments about it and believe it or not, I have landed a couple of clients that actually said “I read your story, you’re my kind of guy and I wanna work with you”.

Story telling sells. Telling your story makes you human and, people want to associate with human beings.

Making Connections

When you start your whole online presence as a business or personal brand by humanizing what you put out there, you are making it easier for people to connect with you. Your audience will relate to your story, agree or disagree with your opinions and, starting a conversation with you will feel organic.

This is the same reason we sometimes advise to remove your logo from your social profiles and become the front man of your business.

Final Thought

Here is what I did with this post, I told you how important it is to humanize your blog content and, I did it by sharing my own experience and my points of view, right or wrong, my 2 cents. Did it come out like a “me, me, me” post? I hope not.

What are you doing to humanize you content? Share with the rest of us in the comments section.

 

  • I try to write like I would talk.  Keeping your writing too formal can make it feel “stuffy.”  I’m also bad about spelling and grammar because of that – I just like to write things as they flow, and sometimes they flow a little jumbled.  But writing that way also makes it sound more authentic and “you!”

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoy your “human” blog…it’s one of my must-reads.  Part of the attraction is that you shoot straight, and unfiltered.  It also makes your readers feel as if they’re on the inside.

    With my blogs and tweets and forum posts, even on the corporate site, I always try to sprinkle in personal details.  And when I analyze traffic, those “behind the scenes” posts always get the most page views, without fail.  When my kids were born, I had 20+ pages of comments in our community…and those bonds have stayed tight over the years!

  • Haha, Kristi I do the same. I often take longer to correct my grammar than to write a post because I just keep yapping away letting the creative flow take over giving little thought to my grammar.

    This was a challenge for me at the beginning for sure Francisco. Especially since I do a lot of tutorials, I often thought how do I inject my humor and personality into it? It took me a while, but I think I’ve managed to find a way… woot, woot. 😉

    I think it comes with time as you gain confidence in what you do and most importantly, when you stopping worrying about “looking good” and focusing on just delivering true value – from your perspective. 🙂

  • Absolutely. It also simplifies marketing when you build an audience around yourself based on people who have a bond with you, or even like the same things as you. You can then write something, put it aside, come back later and think “would I think I was full of shit if I read this?” or “would I find this as valuable as it felt like it was when I first wrote it?”

    And if you feel you come across authentically, chances are, so will your audience. 

  • Many thanks for that. I’m just starting out and agree that its ‘too early’ to be personal – but one day, who knows?  I just wanted to add that many folk who are busy rely on RSS feeds to keep up to date with new posts etc. Because of this we loose the design, the visual ‘cues’ that a post has when positioned on a blog or website – so your ‘personal’ style is even more important to us when your posts are read in a ‘cold’ RSS reader.

    Best wishes,

    Martin 

  • Seems like all I do is talk about my coffee. 🙂

  • Right on Francisco, this is probably the single most important point that any blogger can learn or come to understand.

    Human beings want to connect with other humans beings, and human stories, and human faces, and human names, not aliases or robots, no cat avatars or logos. Humans. One of the comments that I will always remember (on one of my very human “revealing” posts) was that the appeal of art is that it is so human, so flawed, so raw and authentic. It’s not the art we connect with, its the human being behind it that we connect with.

    Dave

  • I started off as an academic writer for my own library blog (which oddly enough was funny and full of my personality while talking about libraries), after I started my personal blog, I had a hard time putting myself into it.  I’m still finding my voice but I think it’s less stilted than it used to be and I think my readers can definitely get more of a feel for who I am.  I also try to personalize by engaging my readers on a one on one level.

  •  I check into your site now and then, especially when I catch a post on facebook that takes my fancy!
    I like what your saying. too much awesome… too much totally brilliant… not enough pull up a chair and hey what’s going on.
    Billy
    If you would like to see my about page and tell me what you think I’d appreciate it. its on social-tango.com

  • another sound advice from you Francisco. will put that to use, as i’m a beginner myself. this post sure didn’t felt like “me me me”, but more like you were talking to me face to face compared to reading some news article.

  • If you don’t inject yourself, is sort of like lying by ommission.  You’re not being the full you, and how do you know if you’re attracting the “right” people that are interested in the real you.
    I say, be raw, be you, and let the chips fall where they may.  Ultimately the audience will find its level and be far more engaged in the long run.

    …and no, this didn’t come accross like a “me me me” post.  Thanks for sparking some thought

  • Same to you.

  • Nice writing.

  • When being used for business, a blog is a less formal outlet to communicate.  It shouldn’t read like a white paper.  People are interested in other people.  The success of Facebook proves this.  Show some personality in your blog, but keep it professional.  I agree that you can begin to show more personality as time goes on and as trust has been established.  

  • Thank you for making the distinction between humanizing a post and making it all about “me.” This is a subtle difference that is sosoSO often missed by bloggers. 
    Truth is, people only want to know about us inasmuch as it tells them what we can do for them. Telling our story is an important part of that, but it has to be approached with our potential customers’ needs in mind. 

  • Writing is so much easier for me if I’m in it.

    I think this really hit home writing when I got on Facebook and started making people laugh their ass off at the stupid shit I let pour out my mind onto the page. THAT writing just flows out of me. Writing for money, not so much.

    Writing to an audience is still new to me. And so, it’s gotten easier than when I first started and was trying to put on a show to impress people. But with the help of Dan Kennedy and Leo Babauta I’ve come to that realization that you did in that YOU are the X factor in a world where your prospect can find what you’re teaching in 10 other places.

    I can’t recommend Dan Kennedy’s “Influential Writing” course highly enough. He goes like 13 CD’s deep into the topic of weaving you into your content and your marketing and it’s some of his best work I’ve ever come across and I’ve come across it ALL.

  • Anonymous

    Rad post. Totally agree, everyone comes onto Twitter with the mindset that they’re a tv network broadcasting to millions, so they need to censor what they say to fit for everyone. In reality, barely anyone sees what you’re saying at the start – and if you’re pumping out generic crap content that’s how it’ll stay. But if you break the shackles and use your own voice, a few people might take notice – and the beauty of these followers is they’re following you for who you are, not who you pretend to be, so it’s easy to maintain them; just keep being yourself!

  • Peter Zmijewski

     I am always be in this faith that i have to express my thoughts what I really feel for the particular thing….get more humanize blogs at http://peterzmijewski.wordpress.com/

  • Loving this! I personally think that blog posts should be nothing like news articles. It’s a totally different medium, and I expect the personality of the writer to play a major role in blogging. The only blogs I read are those where the blogger as a person is right there in front of me, and I can feel a sense of connection to him or her. That’s what keeps me coming back for more!

  • Anonymous
  • The thing is to make sure there’s a reason you’re mentioning you’re having coffee. There are so many small details about your life you might share – do so indiscriminately and you’ll bore your readers. Do it with a point, as part of a story and your readers will appreciate the personal touch. 

  • Anonymous

    Wow what a post Francisco, totally agree, everyone is different and this should come across in the blogs, i have and own 2 sites one is a website design company and I have not added any human elements to it whatsoever as I want it to be professional looking but my blog is totally different, i have two pages on my blog one called ‘About Phillip’ and one about guest blogging on my blog. another point I would like to add is that every blog owner should add a happy pic of themselves in the about page. I have a saying…

    “People dont buy products or systems, People buy people” “If someone does not buy you they will not buy your system or product no matter what it is!” “but if someone does buy you they will buy your system or product no matter what it is”

    Stay human brother

    -P

  • Sheila

    Nice post, Francisco.  I remember when you and I were first working together I insisted I wanted to be personal and you somewhat suggested I not do this.  We talked about it a bit and I shared my thoughts and certainly took yours to heart.  Nice to hear more of you.  I think it is through “revealing ourselves” that we truly bring the “value” we all desire to deliver.

  • Hi, Francisco.

    I found your blog through Nitty Griddy’s roundup and I am mighty glad I did because this post made me feel better about the course I am going in my own blog. I am relatively a young blogger, since I just started blogging more than a month ago. But, Bill Dorman advised me that the most important thing in blogging is building a community. So, I did just that and while doing it, I tried to inject my personality into my posts. I was not really sure if this was the best course to take considering my newness to the blogosphere, but I went with it anyway. 

    Reading your post makes me feel like I am going on the right path. It is erasing the self-doubt I have been having about writing about pie in relation to hiring a 3D rendering artist. It has made me happy to have shared my efforts at marketing in a guest post, my own way. 

    Thanks, Francisco. I am so glad to have met you. 🙂 

  • Hi nice article.Its the nature of the every human being.One human beings want to connect with other human’s beings, and human stories, human names. It’s not the art we connect with; it’s the human being behind it that we connect with.Its really inspiring me.Keep sharing with us.

  • We spent the first year of our blog writing anonymously so my company would not find out about our plans.  We gained some followers, but the real growth did not occur until we shed the nom de plumes and started sharing more about who we are.  However, the real eye opener was when I wrote this post that shared my innermost secrets http://www.marriedwithluggage.com/2010/07/26/many-experiences-have-shaped-my-life/.  It was hard to share this level of personal information, but it resonated with our audience.  Now we are building a strong relationship with a group of wonderful readers and it would have never happened if we did not let it all hang out.  

    It is wonderful getting to know you as a human.

  • Yes your success proves that. I agree that you can begin to show more personality as time goes on and as trust has been established.

  • I like your tips its very true and useful but some of are very common,over all its very helpful to make a blog humanize,Write now I don’t have blog but whenever I write blog and post it,I’ll follow your rules…

  • Share with you my own experience and what I learned:

  • “Always think about your audience. Nobody cares if you’re having coffee…”

  • I was able to start building an audience but, at some point I got uncomfortable and felt like I was reading the news. 

  • I used to think that you should not talk about yourself in your blog
    content. I actually read it somewhere and for a while I was careful not
    to do it.

  • “Always think about your audience. Nobody cares if you’re having coffee…”
     

  • I write, I started using WE instead of YOU and, little by little started sharing my own thoughts.

  • Your story, agree or disagree with your opinions and, starting a conversation with you will feel organic.