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Writing for You, and Why it Works to Draw Others to Your Blog

There’s one common thing about the four blogs that I run today—I started them all for myself.

  • ProBlogger Blog Tips: When I started ProBlogger I was experimenting with the medium of blogging to make a living. I was already doing it to some extent, but I’d been looking for a blog on how to do it better and couldn’t find it. So I started it myself with the goal of improving my blogging and connecting with others who were blogging for an income.
  • Digital Photography School: My previous photography blog was about camera reviews (which I partly started because I was researching cameras to buy), but after a couple of years of using a digital camera I wanted to connect with other digital camera owners to learn from them. Most of the photography sites around back then were either focused upon film or were stagnant info sites without dynamic, updated content, so I started dPS in an attempt to document what I was learning and connect with others in the space.
  • TwiTip Twitter Tips: Similar to the start of ProBlogger, TwiTip was a blog that I wanted to read about a medium that I was experimenting with.
  • FeelGooder: This blog was all about topics that I’ve always wanted to have a blog on. I’ve long wanted to read a blog that helped people lead a more positive life, and while there are some great ones about, I started FeelGooder based upon some core topics that I wanted to grow in and explore.

I started each of these blogs at least partially with my own need to learn and grow in mind. Interestingly, in each case I’m not sure I’d call myself an “expert” on the topics I’m exploring. In the beginning of each blog I certainly had an interest, but I was also still growing in my understanding of the topics involved.

I contrast the above list with most of the other blogs that I’ve started over the years (ones which failed), and in most cases I feel that they at least partially failed because I didn’t really have an interest in the topics—I was writing them more because I thought they could be popular or profitable.

Why writing for you works

Why does writing for yourself work? Three main reasons come to mind.

Firstly, since you’re writing about something that you are personally interested in, you’ll find people are more drawn to it because it’ll be written in a more engaged and personal tone. People tend to have pretty good intuition in this way—if you’re not really engaged, the chances are that your audience won’t be either.

Secondly, because you’re engaged, you’ll find it a lot easier to sustain the blog for the long term. It’s tough to keep a blog going for a year or more when you’re not really interested in the topic!

Lastly, you’ll be writing about real needs, problems, and learning. Because you’re writing about a topic you have something invested in personally, you’ll be a lot more in tune with real needs of those who are reading. For example, on dPS in the early days, I was writing about the basics of digital photography as I discovered them for myself. While I wasn’t an expert teaching a comprehensive guide to the topic, readers seemed to connect on a deeper level because I was writing from their perspective about challenges that they were feeling and facing in their own photography.

Do you write for you? I’d love to hear your take on this issue in the comments.

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. I love to write for “me” as my blog is a journal of all the discoveries in nature throughout the seasons. I’m in my 2nd year of blogging and there is always something in the natural environment that I discover that is new to me and excites me. I’ve always got a camera with me to snap those special moments and the pictures really do help to tell the story aswell.

    Equiped with my photos, and a little research and lots of enthusiam I put it down on paper and revise and revise until those words flow smoothly. If I haven’t blogged for a week I still don’t put myself under the pressure to hit the publish button – I wait until it’s just right.

    I’m used to speaking and giving advise in my day job in plain understandable English so I keep to that form of writing style for most of my blog writing unless I’m in one of my whismical moods.

    • Natalija says:

      I looked your blog and I love beautiful images. You have a talent and I am sure that you have a good heart. I wish you pleasant moments and love all around!

  2. Sinea says:

    Writing for ourselves, first, is fundamental to remaining a “happy blogger”. In the beginning, you may wonder if anybody is out there at all. No comments. No clicks. Few FB fans. You’ll need the energy that true enjoyment can bring.

    I want to add a plug for Darren’s latest e-book Probloggers Guide to Your First Week in Blogging. I have been blogging along with guest posting on other blogs, writing for Demand Studios and HubPages for almost a year now. I bought his book yesterday and am SO EXCITED about what I am learning. The desire to develop my blog into a content-rich blessing for my readers (and me) has lead me to take July off from work without pay so that I can throw myself into doing just that. This new book from Darren is my launching pad. I am revisiting my blog with new eyes and will refurbish it as I go (as well as finding a much better posting schedule). THANK YOU DARREN for doing such a fabulous job on our behalf. I hope you sell a million copies!

  3. Shirley says:

    Love this one, Darren. I did the same thing with memoir reading–I reviewed scores of memoirs and created an amazing amount of content on other memoir-related issues (controversies, film, books about craft as well as memoirs themselves).

    Now I am ready to write my own memoir–so I will shift the focus and bring my readers into the process of blogging about the issues I face as a writer instead of reviewing other people’s memoirs. I think I can migrate like this without disappointing readers, since my most personal posts are often my most popular ones.

  4. Monja Wessel says:

    I absolutely agree. I’ve started macmania because i was Learning about the mac and its Software. It Turns into a Wiki for me as well

  5. I found this really interesting because I see so many posts telling people to blog for their audiences, not themselves. Do you think that advice is wrong, or would you say it’s more of a case-by-case kind of thing?

  6. Alex says:

    The most thrilling thing to do in life is write about things you like and have it published. Now with the digital era, anyone can express their interest in written form and see it published for the world to read, all be it in electronic form. I’ve just started blogging and most of my searching on ‘how to’ has lead me to this site, which is a reflection of its great informative value. Now I have decided to create a blog that provides a hub of information on various topics. Because my interests are diverse, I felt that it would be nice to create a site that provides information, reviews, news and editorial commentaries covering a number of issues. The blog is still relatively new and I’m following the advice of write, write and write more. Luckily, topics are flying thick and fast, but I love the fact that blogging also encourages social commentary on what you may have written. I can’t wait to work on the ‘conspiracy’ section of my blog and read the comments. It’s amazing how people’s opinions can sometimes give you a different perspective on things. Thanks Darren for introducing me to the dark art of Blogging

  7. I totally agree. In my opinion this is the golden rule of blogging: “blog about something your love”.

  8. Natalija says:

    I like a lot of different things and so I have several blogs, but that’s not all. I am going to do even more, because every thing have to put your shelf!
    Maybe someday I’ll write your life story and tell it to the world, maybe not, but your post made ​​me think about what I write and do. Thank you!

  9. I am taking the same tact of writing what I enjoy writing about like those above. I am having a lot of fun right now and I think it’s good practice toward working up to an ebook or something bigger. What does drive me a little crazy is that feeling of writing for only myself and maybe it’ll always just be me. When I am proofreading a post and go over all the little things I sometimes wonder “Will ANYONE else ever see this?” – and it can be discouraging. If just a few people read my stuff I think they’d like to check in – but it’s getting those people to actually to notice you in what feels like a GIANT OCEAN of the internet I am struggling with.

  10. Jacqueline says:

    I write for myself most of the time. I have a travel & entrepreneurship blog so a huge amount of what I am doing is research about ways to travel for free, long term, save money etc. So all of my research is ultimately what goes into my posts, and I’ve actually started using my own blog as a personal encyclopedia for myself. All of my messy bookmarks and pages of word documents get put neatly into my blog and its a great way for me to see everything in an organized way. I’ve even been able to motivate myself by reading old posts that were meant to motivate others! I just wish I’d started blogging earlier. :)

  11. Gobish says:

    You said it. The amount of satisfaction you get when you complete a blog and publish it is quite enjoyable when start writing for ourself.

  12. I have been doing all of my own writing for sometime. I do get satisfaction from the experience.