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Your Blog’s Readers are People Too

Breaking News!!! Your blog’s readers are people.

Have you ever lost sight of that fact?

If you have – you’re not alone. I suspect that most of us as bloggers forget it from time to time.

In the busyness of life, in pressure we put on ourselves to post regularly, in the desire to make a blog profitable or to build it’s traffic – it’s easy to forget that while we enter our thoughts and ideas into a plastic box of wires and electrical currents that those who interact with our words are flesh and blood – just like us.

It’s worth reminding ourselves of the humanity on the other side of our blogs for a number of reasons.

1. People deserve respect

One of the side effects of allowing those who read your blog to become just another statistic is that there is a temptation to treat them as such – without respect, honor or dignity. It’s easy to do online where there is little chance of face to face interaction (it is easy to treat someone badly when you’ll never meet them), where there is no body language to give visual cues on how other people are feeling and where controversy and conflict tends to escalate quickly. However despite all this people have a right to be treated with respect regardless of race, religion or any other distinguishing factor (unless they support the Collingwood football club – sorry about the Melbourne ‘humor’).

2. People have needs

I believe that this is an aspect of our readers that is especially important to keep in mind as we blog. People (all of us) have a variety of different needs in our lives. Some of them are felt needs and some of them are unfelt ones. The people who come to read your blog will often do so with a felt need. They might be searching for information or an answer to a question, they might seek education, they could be looking for company or even entertainment. Keep the needs of your readers in mind and seek to fulfill them and you’ll not only help out another person – but the flow on effects will improve your own position as a blogger (as the reader becomes a regular and loyal reader, as they spread the world about your blog etc). Many bloggers seem to forget the needs of their readers and blog in a ‘know-it-all’ fashion that is likely to alienate rather than draw people in.

3. People are relational

One of the ‘needs’ that people have is to connect with others. Some of us have a greater need for this than others – but we all like to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves and most of us respond well to knowing that others have gone our of their way for us. Blogs naturally tap into this in the way that they link to one another, the way that they have comment sections (generally) and in the tone that they are often written in. Of course this doesn’t stop some bloggers ignoring their readers altogether.

4. People are emotional beings

One of my favorite books of last year was Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands – a book that explored a variety of aspects of marketing and branding. One of the numerous helpful ideas in the book was that people have emotions and respond well when these emotions are engaged. Inject emotion into your blogging and you’ll find that people relate and connect with it. I find that one particularly useful emotion injector is ‘story’. Tell your story (and that of others) and people will connect.

5. People have hopes and dreams

Similarly – all people have some level of hope or some type of dream for the future. When you tap into this as a blogger you’re connecting with something quite powerful in others. People like to be inspired and motivated to reach their potential – to become better people (in different aspects of their lives) – blog from this place and you’ll find they respond. Keep in mind that when you start blogging about issues of the heart like hopes and dreams that you’re treading on fairly personal ground – so you need to be able to deliver what you’re writing about and not abuse the privilege (it comes back to #1 – respect).

I’m sure there are other aspects of the ‘humanness’ of people that we could tap into in our blogging but these seem to me like a good starting point for me as I get back into blogging after a couple of weeks off.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Adam says:

    What about trolls? I don’t think they deserve my respect.

  2. Danifer says:

    That’s a really good point and well said. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that when you write you’re writing for other people’s benefit, not your own. When I’ve been at the computer too long, I find myself writing articles for myself and not the readers. It takes a lot of effort keep the focus.

  3. Gil says:

    I have to keep reminding myself of that when I write…I tend to get a little too technical and then I have to go back to the drawing board and make it simpler.
    With regards to respect..I feel that it should be a two way road, as bloggers and as commentators. I have encountered that in some of my websites and even others that some people have the tendency to lash out at others and say things which should not be said.
    People do not take the time to take what others are saying and putting it into context, ‘is the person who is asking the question computer literate, no – well then structure your answer in such a way that it is easy to understand and not offending.’ some folks who are really good with computers have a tendency to think that everybody should know what they know and if they don’t – well they can sometimes get nasty with replies.
    Sorry I rambled on, but it’s something that I encounter a lot. Well my .02

  4. Bill McRea says:

    People are emotional and knowing that is a great ally in developing a loyal following. If you can touch a nerve or supply useful information, your readship will grow dramatically…thus your income or influence will grow as well.

  5. Are you serious? :) Just kidding. The more we cater to and support out readers the better our blogs are!

  6. PreZ says:

    All my blog readers are robots… clearly

  7. thinkdigit says:

    enlightening
    myself a bot called human.
    hahaha

  8. DesWire.com says:

    nice tips

  9. Joe says:

    Hey Darren,

    I agree with the whole post, but My problem is getting readers involved enough to get a feel for what they really need/want.

    I have open comments, contact info and ask for feedback on just about every post. Still feedback is hard to come by.

    It’s hard to tell what people are feeling from stats. ;-)

    Joe

Trackbacks

  1. [...] He’s about as cute as Tyrannosaurii come. Just after the previous post, in which I assert that my blog is fine like it is, Darren Rowse writes to remind us that Readers are People Too. It’s a good piece, and worth your time, if you blog too. [...]

  2. [...] I’m talking about the subjective, experience-type posts (like two of Darren Rowse’s recent posts). Here, I’ll stick my neck out and give the obvious explanation: There’s really no textbook content for much of the stuff on blogging, and the like. You could probably flesh out your article indefinitely if you wished to, or (try to) take into account the various perspectives your readers may have. [...]

  3. [...] This post is born out of a pet peeve. I am tired of being dealt with strictly via email. In the spirit of Problogger’s post dealing with the humanity of people, please deal with me as a person, not as a machine that reads text. [...]