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How to Deeply Connect with Your Readers

This week we published a moving story on ProBlogger from Naomi Dunford from IttyBiz.

When Naomi sent me the post a few days before we published it I immediately knew that it was going to be one that would do well and it was. 100+ comments within 4 hours of publishing – and not just any comments – they were comments that were heart felt (I’ve never seen so many readers admitting being moved to tears by a post), in depth and engaging.

Read them for yourself – the comments section is as compelling as the post itself.

These posts don’t happen every day and I feel honored to have witness it first hand here on ProBlogger and wanted to take a moment or two to reflect on what I saw.

So what was it about the post that connected with readers so deeply?

Here’s a few reflections on why I had a hunch it would hit the mark (feel free to add your own):

It was a Story – almost every ‘story’ post that I’ve published here on ProBlogger has connected with readers. Read more on Why stories are so effective on blogs.

It was Relevant – right from the opening line (‘I’ve sat where you sit.’) Naomi strove to connect the situation that the readers of ProBlogger are in with her story. She showed an awareness of one of the needs of readers and the empathetic way she told her story showed an understanding that just connected with people.

It was Relatable – one of the things that I felt reading the post myself was that parts of it reminded me of my own story. The comments section shows I’m not alone – many of those who read it seemed to just find it comforting to know someone else had experienced the things Naomi shared. It’s powerful to know that you’re not alone.

It was Honest – this story is raw and honest. She shared an experience from one of the hardest times of her life in a way that many of those leaving comments admired and related to.

It was Inspirational – the story was honest about the tough times but also about the good ones. Naomi shared some of what hanging in there through the tough times brought her to – personal success but also being able to do some inspirational things for the world. She gave those reading the story hope for their own situation which many needed to hear as they face their own tough times.

As a result of that above we see a comments section that is filled with honest, engaging, raw and heartfelt stories.

Some felt compelled to comment for the first time, others were moved to tears, and others felt moved to share some of their own stories.

The post ‘connected’.

Why do you think it was so powerful?

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. Mark Mason says:

    I think another item might be that the length was appropriate for the subject. There is something about blog posts that are too long for the subject that turns readers off. I think it is very important to make sure that posts are of appropriate length.

    Regards,
    Mark
    masonworld.com

  2. Ron Miller says:

    You left out several key point here. It was well written. It flowed and it was in the words of my friend Julie Roads (www.writingroads.com) it was authentic.

    It was an exceptionally good blog post.

    Ron

  3. Tommy says:

    I think you’re spot on. It was a great post and you’ve summarized it good!

  4. Jean Sarauer says:

    Naomi’s post was just plain real. It was as if she was sitting across from the table having coffee with me, and I could see the woman and not just her words. Most bloggers do have huge challenges at one point or another along the way. We want to give up because going forward seems insane. Naomi told us it’s okay to feel how we feel but also showed us that we can keep going. It succeeded for all the reasons you mentioned, but there was magic in there too.

  5. Naomi’s post really described my present situation. It shares what one will experience on the path to success. From her post, one could easily navigate the rough terrians of early blogging. It was so heart touching. She had her way around words. The fact is that, she has mastered the art of connective writing.

    Cheers,
    Ireti Paul.

  6. Erin Hill says:

    For me her post had all of those things, and if I had to put it into one word, she gave us HOPE. When you have a dream, and everyone around you (including yourself) is telling you it won’t happen, all you need is one strong, confident voice to tell you, “YOU CAN DO IT”, in order to silence the rest. She provided that voice, that comfort, that strength, and helped all of us believe in our dreams again. She has a gift and I’m so glad you’ve helped her share it with us. =) Thank you.

  7. Sathishkumar says:

    I am following the Honest, Relatable and Relevant points and I am getting a good number of comments for my posts. Will try the other ones.

    Thanks for writing an useful and a good blog post.

    Sathish

  8. Stories and analogies are the best way to communicate information by far. However, I sometimes have trouble thinking of relevant stories I want to share, or coming up with an analogy for something that will be intuitive to the reader.

    Anyone have any ideas?

  9. James says:

    I think it was different. It was inspirational by showing the uninspiring hard work and hard times that have led to Naomi’s success.
    She has definitely earned it.
    I am going to be spending more time in the Problogger archives.

  10. usi says:

    I like the story part, I will try implementing it.

  11. Neena says:

    I think many people could relate on some level to what Naomi was saying. I assume that most of your readers are struggling bloggers – people who are working hard at making their sites better – with very little reward at this point.

    Naomi’s story is a success story – and that is what we all are striving for.

  12. Moon Hussain says:

    I seem to get a lot more comments when I share something from a personal point of view. Thanks for the advice.

  13. Sriram Raj says:

    It is really find to get potential readers. Generally readers come and go. But finding some one who read and comment regularly are very hard to find

  14. Brad says:

    Ya you got to make a post interesting or people may fall asleep reading :P.

  15. Content is and always will be king. Write decent material and eventually, with adept marketing, you will get noticed.

  16. Adele Khoo says:

    I’ve avoided sharing personal stories or anything off-topic on my blog (didn’t want to be seen as self-indulgent) but I think it’s led to quite dry content and few comments. I’ll experiment and see what happens :) Great post!

  17. A blog is a personal journal – many people write blog articles in a prescriptive manner and then wonder why they get few, if any, comments.

    People are looking for that personal interaction and “telling a story” is an excellent way of getting your message across.

  18. We all like a story and the really talented storytellers out there are totally compelling. I also think our natural desire to connect and to be understood make the personal posts even more appealing. I think most of us can spot when someone is faking it and real passion flashes like a beacon to those of us who want the good stuff. Nicely put. :)

  19. I think it was powerful because your readers have dreams of making their blogs successful. A dream pursued comes with many challeges and victories, seeing the end results through Naomi filled readers with hope. I know she inspired me and reassured me that my dreams were not impossible. People want affirmation and she gave it with truth.

  20. Frugal Baby says:

    Sometime it is difficult to keep going. But we should always remember that our blog is not about us it is about the value we are trying to provide for our readers.

  21. Connecting is key. Being real is SO important–others have to be able to relate to you. If you portray yourself as perfect you are setting yourself up and your readers as well.

  22. Henry Okwach says:

    Actually the article was very original especially on relativeness. I do think it’s a good idea to maintain the well maintained pace.

  23. Henry Okwach says:

    I relate the whole idea to mine which I went through for quite sometime.

  24. I agree with all the reasons you gave.

    I would add it was Naomi.

    Many of us know some things about her, but she shared new personal stories that were truly inspirational. Plus, she was writing to thank and congratulate Problogger for helping her. Many times Naomi’s posts are brash and about herself. This one was very humble and sincere. It was a different side of Naomi that I thought was in her, but it made her shine.

  25. That’s true , because blogs readers are human not some bots, but not everyone can make true and honest story to put publicity, and i see that most of high traffic blogs, is the one with true story and real opinion from the owners.

  26. I agree with the comment above that mentioned HOPE as a key factor to the post’s success. That was the overwhelming feeling I had by the end of reading: that what I do as I daily strive for success online will amount to something I can stand behind and be proud of. Even if no one else is screaming my name from the rooftops or filling my inbox with speaking requests.

  27. Darren,
    I was relating to Naomi’s post 100%. The fear that becoming a pro blogger is just a pipe dream, shelving it for a time (I shelved mine for 2 years before re-staring in earnest.) Wondering how the heck you’re going to learn to do all the things that are recommended – who’s going to take you seriously enough to, etc., and on and on.

    I do find when I write a post from a more personal perspective my readers relate so much more. I just published a post about keeping your dreams alive, and the loss of my father – at first I thought it was too personal, and that no one would find value in it, but actually the responses have been just the opposite.

    Thanks for breaking down what makes a post most memorable.

  28. I was so moved I commented my appreciation directly to Naomi instead of the post. I’ve read lot’s of interesting or useful posts but can’t remember one that ever spoke directly to me like her’s did. It was strait from the heart. Naomi’s voice on the web is characterized by common sense sprinkled with course language. For me the absence of profanity in her story was very noticeable and made the story more personal allowing me to feel closer to her. I’m not suggesting Naomi change her style, it works for her. Don’t fix what’s not broken. I’m just saying the personal message of her post benefited from softening her normal language.

  29. Humility and sincerity. Plus hope.

  30. my husband speaks publicly frequently, and i
    always encourage him to use stories. we
    never tire of stories.

    thank you for sharing this moving one.

  31. Webranes says:

    Blogging doesn’t only involve writing article… it is more on convincing reader to read your blog and appreciate it. That is the challenge that every blogger have to face. Among your reflections you have mentioned being honest, i think, is the most exceptional. If you are true to what you are saying i think everything follows.

  32. Honesty is a big plus. Readers know if a blogger is lying to simply make a few sales off of a certain affiliate product.

  33. Elias says:

    The best way to connet with your readers is to share the same passion you are blogging about. This is hard to replace with anything else. It takes time to develop but once in place it makes people stick.

  34. Lisa says:

    I enjoyed the rawness of her story and aspirations. The human connection is made with her efforts on being real and relatable.

    When I read her story, I was in the process of crafting a new entry about Mistakes and Failure, then I realized much of the human component was missing. I injected my own personal accounts in a raw manner and now feel better about the piece as a whole. I also humanized the title:

    How to Embrace Mistakes and Kick Failure’s Butt
    http://ow.ly/2MoT7

    Thanks Darren & Julie for this timely post!

  35. Lisa says:

    I enjoyed the rawness of her story and aspirations. The human connection is made with her efforts on being real and relatable.

    When I read her story, I was in the process of crafting a new entry about Mistakes and Failure, then I realized much of the human component was missing. I injected my own personal accounts in a raw manner and now feel better about the piece as a whole. I also humanized the title:

    How to Embrace Mistakes and Kick Failure’s Butt
    http://ow.ly/2MoT7

    Thanks Darren & Naomi for this timely post!
    (Plz kill the first post -I mistakenly inserted a different name other than Naomi’s. Thnkx!)