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The Power of Getting Personal on Your Niche Blog

This time last weekend I was sitting in a delivery suite in a Melbourne hospital waiting for the arrival of my second son Henri. It would be another 12 hours til he was actually born but after he’d come along and we’d had a little recovery time I managed to get online and post that I’d become a father again.

Getting-Personal-Blog

This morning I had a couple of spare hours to get online again and check my blogs (I’m taking next week off too by the way) and also sent out a quick newsletter to my DPS subscribers. Again – in that newsletter I mentioned that we’d had another baby.

I tend not to get too personal on my blogs – I like to keep to the topic at hand for the vast majority of posts – however both on the ProBlogger post and today with my newsletter I was amazed by the response from readers. The ProBlogger post has over 300 comments (and I’ve had 100 or so emails) and just a couple of hours after sending out my newsletter I’ve had over 100 emails from DPS readers. The same thing happened last time when we had a baby and I posted about it.

What I’ve noticed about the comments and emails is that many are from people I’ve never heard of before but who say that they have been regular readers for years.

Also in many cases the emails go beyond just saying ‘congratulations’ and tell me something about themselves, their families and their interaction with the blog.

It struck me as I waded through these emails this morning just how powerful ‘getting personal’ can be on a blog. I’m not advocating doing it every day and revealing everything about your personal live – but there’s something quite special that happens when you do. I guess it humanizes you as a blogger a little, shows a different side of you, makes you more relatable to your readers and gives them another potential connecting point with you.

Read more about Adding a Personal Touch To Your Blog (series).

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. Great article Darren, it really is very true. Congratulations on the birth of your son Henri, I’m sure he’ll grow up to be a great blogger too. You should start them out at an early age, would certainly help out with their English learning skills.

  2. I missed the baby announcement so congrats! I hope you’re getting some sleep. :)

    I love getting a personal peek on blogs– it makes the blog so much more connective that way.

  3. Very interesting effect. I suspect that most of the responses were from people who also have kids? If you’d posted about breaking a leg, would people who have been through that trial respond?

  4. Vered says:

    Well, my own blog IS personal so I can’t really be occasionally personal over there, but I do agree that people relate to you on a different level when you are personal. And, a personal announcement of this magnitude definitely pushes lurkers into commenting.

  5. I think if a blog isn’t personal then what is the difference from reading that and a trade journal. I love reading blogs that carry a personal tone.

    Congratulations on the baby. I didn’t get a chance to leave a comment on your post.

  6. jhay says:

    It just proves that you too are human, just like the rest of us. It boosts the idea that “if Darren can be a great blogger, I can too.”

  7. Suzie Cheel says:

    I am with Tom, I think the personal tone adds to one’s blog. I like knowing about the blogger behind the blog. The human touch is so important. Also when you meet the person I real life
    the conversation is easy.

    Thanks for sharing this-I thought you were having time out, blogging is addictive :)

  8. MyStore says:

    Blogs have feelings too!!!

  9. Jess says:

    the lesson to be learnt from all this is …the secret to a successful blog is to have more babies.
    lol
    I read a journalist said a similiar thing about her blog. Soon as she mentioned having a baby her blog comments went off the charts..
    Guess with sitting in front of the cold hard computer screens it is nice to hear that there is actually a human behind there ….somewhere…

    Congrats Darren

    jess

  10. QuickGold says:

    First of all, congratulation on your baby boy.

    About going personal on blogging, I’m not really sure about that.. Maybe it is okay for bloggers who doesn’t mind about their personal life being read by thousands of internet users, but I don’t think I’ll post about my personal life especially about my family, I’m just not comfortable to share it. Maybe it will change in the future, who knows..

  11. Absolutely. People want to know who they’re reading. The more personal you can get without going overboard and totally giving up your privacy the better in my opinion.

    Just look at the success of John Chow. He’s always sharing stories from his personal life. I tune in all the time.

  12. Hi Darren, congratulations again.
    Yes it’s true, people love to know that there is a real person behind the blog they are reading, and giving a personal touch is very important, and will also add another dimension for the blog

    Tanny
    Home Business Ideas and Opportunities

  13. axel g says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Keeping a healthy balance between what’s personal and what’s public make for happiness at both camps. Traffic and feedback is something but far from everything…

    All the very best with the newborn!

  14. Great article darren…
    And congratulations for your new baby:)

  15. Julien says:

    Nice article Darren!!!
    And congratulation for being a father again, he’s gorgeous!!!

  16. Marty Weil says:

    First, congrats!

    Second, the personalization of posts is something I initially wrestled with on the ephemera blog. To add a personal touch, I created a category called “My Back Pages” for posts which stay true to the theme of the blog but include very personal experiences.

    While I’ve never received an outpouring of love for any of my personal posts, I do think they serve to personalize the blog and help build and attract at least some of my audience.

  17. You look like a very proud father. That’s awesome.

    I agree that we do need to get personal every once in a while. It’s what separates us from the newspapers. That’s why blogs are thriving. We give a different perspective than main stream media.

  18. Rob O. says:

    This is an excellent example of why your blog should, at a minimum, have an “About” page that features a bit of information about yourself. Even better still, make sure to include a photo or two as well.

  19. Katie says:

    In a world of technology, we still strive to connect. Being personal is the key because people like genuine, honest, and true. Thanks, Darren.

  20. sherry says:

    I’ve occasionally gotten some negative feedback when I get personal on one of my niche blogs but the vast majority of people seem to enjoy it and it sparks conversations in the comments. I think it helps people remember it’s not a robot updating but an actual person.

  21. Nancy Nally says:

    Darren that picture cracks me up every time I see it because you and the baby have the same hairline and its so darn cute! (Yeah, I know, my mommy is showing LOL)

    In starting my new site Café Autism (www.cafeautism.com) I’ve been shifting between writing entries describing my personal experiences as a mom of an autistic child (like yesterday’s rant about the thoughtlessness of our local school district) and news items like the story about Jlo visiting a school for autistic kids. And sometimes I blend the two, like including my personal experiences in a piece about choosing a pediatrician for your autistic child.

    I know my experiences are basically my qualification to write this blog. It would also be hard for me to set them aside and write “neutral” about this topic that is so much a part of who I am. And I want my readers to feel like my site is a welcoming place, a warm place. So, my readers are stuck getting to know a little bit about me. ;)

  22. Sire says:

    Yeah, I’m afraid that I do not like to get too personal, and so I do not have any photos of myself or my family as their are some pretty sick weirdos out there. Yeah I know I probably am being a little paranoid but then that’s just me.

    I reckon though that seeing as how I don’t get anywhere as many hits as you do, I probably could get personal and no-one would really notice.

  23. Scott says:

    When my mother passed away, I mentioned a small blurb about it on my blog because I wanted to simply explain why I hadn’t been around in ten days.

    Although I only have 150 RSS readers, I received numerous emails and responses.

    It helped me through a tough time, so I agree with the underlying sentiment behind this post.

    Cheers!
    Scott

  24. Congratulations on the arrival of your son.
    I agree that there needs to be a balance between personal writing and dry informative writing on blogs. A lot of readers like myself are looking for tips and advice on our business but it is helpful to get some of the writers personality. I find it easier to write my posts if I inject some personality into the writing.
    Cheers,
    David

  25. Robin says:

    I guess I’ll have to have a baby.
    Congrats, Darren.

  26. Makes me wish I started my blog seven years ago when I had my first child. Isn’t the feeling just awesome to be receiving all kinds of well wishes from readers whom you’ve never met?

    Congrats once again!

    Evelyn

  27. Ryan Mac says:

    Personal, people love it when you are personal
    It means that they not only get to learn about information but they get to know a person. When people know you they are more likely to listen to your advice

  28. ITrush says:

    Nice post, and congratz.

  29. Ari Herzog says:

    Nicely conveyed, Darren. I’ve often said that everyone has a story to tell; the hard part is asking people to share them to me.

    But here is my story; here is my background so you and other commenters can better understand who I am.

    Congrats on the successful birth!

  30. Yes, Every blogger need to share their important and most unforgettable things happened in their life.

    By sharing, it will make them happy and feel little built relax

  31. Valerie says:

    Darren,

    Congratulations on your new arrival. My children are 35 and 28 but I still remember what a proud papa my husband was when they were born.

    Babies bring out the personal side in most of us.

    Nice picture. I’ve got one just like it except baby and daddy are a lot darker :)

  32. Todd Andrews says:

    Getting personal is huge. I wish I did it more often, but I err on the side of professionalism…and I admit – this is a mistake of mine.

  33. Darren,

    Nice post…I didn’t know this blog-ism ;-) but it rings so true for me.

    I’ve noticed some of my largest responding pages on my blogs over time are the ones that related my life instead of those that were strictly product oriented are technical.

    I’m guessing from the responses, this has been a valued post.

    Timothy Carter

  34. Mike Huang says:

    Getting a bit personal tends to let the readers know a bit more about your personal life. Personal posts usually receive the higher amount of traffic because it’s out of the ordinary. Look at John Chow’s blog.

    -Mike

  35. This is one of the things I am ‘exploring’ in some of my posts. I want to check that I will still maintain the balance of my niche content as well as giving my posts a personal touch.
    Congratulations on your new baby! =)

  36. Sarah says:

    I think it is easy to get personal with a Niche Blog.