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