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5 Techniques to Create Raving Loyal Fans

This post is by Brad Branson of Lessons in Lifestyle Development.

Most people walk through life in a living daze. Most people live their lives vicariously through television, sports, or the gossip section. They are afraid to take action, afraid to take a risk. Why? Be average and you don’t risk embarrassment.

So, how does this relate to writing compelling blog articles and creating a devoted, enthusiastic fanbase?

You need to be polarizing. You need to set yourself apart from the masses, and be willing to take a risk in your writing. It’s not hard to find the vanilla ice cream out there; what people crave are the unique flavors. Be the jalapeño mocha light frappuccino, and they will come in droves. Create something different, dynamic, something unexpected.

What follows are five techniques to step outside of the box, cultivate a unique voice, and create an infectious website that compels readers to become subscribers.

1. Become an authority

One of the main problems of a non-remarkable blog is that the writer is afraid to step up and be a voice of authority.

As Seth Godin writes in his book, Tribes:

“Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead. This scarcity makes leadership valuable.”

When you lead, you take a risk. Risk can lead to failure. But because of that risk, people will reward you for taking action.

How do you become a leader? Set yourself apart. Be an expert on your topic. Do extensive research, and become obsessed about your writing. Or create a unique niche, and do it better than anyone else. Then start sharing it with the world.

Remember that leaders talk authoritatively, and make sure your writing follows suit. Here are a few examples:

WEAK: “I think one of the most important aspects of a successful blogger is the writing style they use.”
STRONG: “One of the most important aspects of a successful blogger is the writing style they use.”

Don’t use mitigating words such as: just, I think, like, might, or should.

WEAK: “You just have to write about topics you should enjoy.”
STRONG: “You have to write about topics you enjoy.”

Keep your writing forceful and authoritative. People give more credence to decisive leaders.

2. Use emotion in your writing

The demographic I write for is mostly single men looking for dating advice. One question I get often is how to continue the conversation after the initial interaction via text messaging. The problem is that you can’t create emotion or dynamics in a digital format.

One technique to combat this is by using emoticons, ALL CAPS, and vernacular to convey some personality and emotion. Haha ;)

It’s been said before, but in the blogosphere, the more colloquial you can make your writing, the better. Your readers want to feel like they know the person writing the articles. It’s about the relationship you create, not the professionalism of your writing.

Now that doesn’t mean punctuation, grammar, and diction aren’t important. To the contrary, they’re even more important, when you’re dropping curse words, to make sure people know you take the writing process seriously.

3. Be vulnerable

When I teach my weekend seminars, one of the main things we focus on is taking the client’s personality, “placing it on a volume knob, and turning the knob UP TO ELEVEN!”

Most people hear this and think, “Alright, I need to amplify all the cool things that I have going on in my life.” But, counter-intuitively, the true power is in amplifying the weird idiosyncrasies.

Do you like studying vocabulary words? Do you have a secret penchant for World of Warcraft? Do you have a fear of heights? Talk about that. Especially if you start cultivating the authoritative tone I mentioned earlier.

When people see both sides, they develop a stronger rapport with you. Vulnerability is a sign of authenticity. Authenticity creates trust. You become more human, not just words on a computer screen.

4. Create consistency in your blog’s message

Your main focus has to be on the content of your site, but every aspect—from font color to picture captions—adds to your “voice.”

Image is author's own

Feel like creating a specific ambiance as someone reads your article? Add a youTube video with a correlative song to set the mood. Pictures are great for breaking up text, and can either reinforce a concept, or offer a little comic relief.

Font formatting, color schemes, picture choice, picture captions, headlines, comments, and widgets all play an integral role in conveying the overall message of your blog.

5. Ostracize people. You can’t write for everyone.

Some of the content on my site may be considered “controversial.” When I started the blog, there were always persistent thoughts like, “If my family were to view my website, would they approve?” But is my readership my parents? My colleagues? (Well, for me, yeah I guess it is. Heh.)

My niche happens to be early 20-something to late-30-year-old single men, so a decent amount of “locker humor” is what resonates best with them.

As I slowly interacted with my audience, through comments, emails, and looking at their feedback and favorite articles, I realized that the more I took a risk, the more I pushed the boundary of what I thought was acceptable, the more I ostracized certain readers. And yet my subscription levels kept rising.

It’s marketing 101: write for everyone and you write for no one. Find your niche and focus your writing style and “voice” to those people. They’ll feel more of a connection and relationship, which is what blogging is all about.

Is there something holding you back? A fear that you might not be well received? Do you censor yourself ?

I’m sure I just ostracized a few readers, but for those left, how did you develop your voice, and how has it evolved as your blog matured?

Brad Branson has taught dating advice and personal development in over 30 countries on 4 continents. His site, Lessons in Lifestyle Development, takes you through his journey around the world and the insights gained from the teaching process.

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Comments

  1. Apu says:

    Love the vanilla example

  2. dave says:

    “Most people walk through life in a living daze. Most people live their lives vicariously through television, sports, or the gossip section. They are afraid to take action, afraid to take a risk. Why? Be average and you don’t risk embarrassment.”

    its all i needed for today! so true and awesome!

  3. For me, the “Become An Authority” is so difficult for me. I find it’s hard for me to make absoulte statements to I make concessions by putting things like “in my opinion”, “i think”, “i feel like”.

    But I realize this isn’t the best way to write if I’m trying to be persuasive.

  4. Patty Gale says:

    This is great advice, Brandon and something that I know a lot of people, including myself, struggle with from time to time. It’s that ‘letting your hair down’ and just letting people see who you are that can sometimes be a challenge.

    Thanks for the article!

    Patty

  5. What a wonderful post! I love the examples that you have on strong and weak statements–definitely something I will be taking to heart as I write future posts.

    It’s so true that in writing for everyone, you’re writing for no one. When I finally did finalize my niche for my writing blog, I’m writing posts with a much higher level of confidence, and a much more focused premise. Since this time, my blog traffic has doubled, and I don’t receive much of a dip in traffic on the weekends either.

    Thanks for the added inspiration!

  6. Amanda says:

    Some brave steps indeed – especially the last.
    However, I totally agree. Being wishy-washy never got anyone anywhere and, in order to sound as you know what you are on about, you need to take a stand eventually.
    Feedback from my readers also tells me that they like to get a glimpse of the person behind the words, so it is important to let them see the real me sometimes.

  7. Brandy says:

    Great tips!

  8. V&A says:

    In many ways one could say there’s a sixth technique to this – become fearless. So many of us as afraid of exposing our selves or offending someone. But, if you don’t take chances then why should readers take a chance on you?

  9. Bill Simmel says:

    Great post, the bottom line, people must work to get out of the “comfort zone” and others must learn “to get out of their own way”.

  10. Barb says:

    I wish I had studied the english language better when I was younger. Maybe then I would be better at writing blog posts. My posts seem to be short and sweet.

  11. I think it’s possible to step too far outside the box sometimes. I know I’m guilty of that.

  12. “It’s marketing 101: write for everyone and you write for no one.”

    GREAT POINT! It’s hard when you are writing copy to remember that sometimes.

  13. I actually wish I could make my content a bit more provocative… or edgy. It is challenging to do so, given the subject matter, but I know it can be done… with deliberate effort. It’s something I really need to work on if I expect to build readership… involved readers, that is.

  14. Andee says:

    Love the part about “not writing for everyone.” I really considered how my content would be received when I started and since that time, I have followed the advice of writing for myself. If anyone wants to come along on the journey, fantastic … especially since I write about a subject pretty much everyone wants to be an expert in!

    Thanks for the tips!

  15. MB says:

    great piece of advice !! Will remember it next time i write a post

  16. Bella Q says:

    GREAT advice- great post. The three top posts I did were all ones I almost didn’t publish- they were too emotional, too personal, too controversial. But I’m glad I did- by using my true feelings and sharing my real opinons on subjects raging from death, ageing and tragedy on a fashion blog, I gained more readers, got more traffic and developed into an voice of authenticity and authority in my field. I put the personal in personal style blogging, and now know that the more I write about real things that impact me, the more impact my blog has on my readers.
    the Citizen Rosebud

  17. The bit about becoming an authority is obviously the main event in my opinion, and this takes time. First of all it takes allot of work and time to actuall know your stuff, and then takes years writing about “your stuff” before anyone has a chance to even judge if you are some sort of an authority on the subject matter.

    Then you have to have some data to back up your rhetoric.

  18. this has been one of the best articles i read on how to successfully blog, by far. thank you for this.

  19. Love your article. Well done

  20. Viren says:

    Very well said by the Brandon that it is the fear which hold us back. Fear can put you in the world of darkness, but courage can put you at the forefront as a leader.

  21. Ceci Miller says:

    Good basic writing advice, in cyberspace or anywhere else! Appreciate your pointing out that leadership is uncomfortable. That discomfort, if you’re willing to work through it with your confidence intact, makes you a stronger writer . . . and thinker.

  22. The authoritative point is pretty strong in my opinion and it made me realize I was making basic mistakes when addressing people. Clearly, that’s not the way to put it. As for using emoticons in your posts/comments to transmit emotions, man, that is genius! Why didn’t I thought of that? I was always the “professional” type… Thanks Brad! ;)

  23. Buck Inspire says:

    Terrific advice. My earlier work contained a lot of I think and extra words that made me more wishy washy. Who wants to read that? My writing has improved greatly, less is more. I pepper my posts with videos, emotions, and my quirks, making for better rapport with my readers. Great job, you nailed it!

  24. Tracy says:

    The ‘ostracizing authoritarian in my own amped up style’? That’s some seriously red lipstick. The professional/f-bomb-dropping/expert is a tricky muse but leads you to the tribe. Be bold, baby.

  25. HDaniel says:

    Interestingly, the information helped me a lot, I will start to implement them and see what results I have, thank you very much for the post: D (sorry for spelling mistakes but I am bad in English)

  26. Jay Gould says:

    Very interesting article.

    Back when I was a younger writer, I struggled to captivate my audience.

    This has outlined a load of points I should have been using, so thank you so much!

  27. Apurv Mathur says:

    Really cool article – thumbs up!

  28. Miss GOP says:

    Just linked to this article. Thanks for the inspiration about writing with authority.