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Add That Special Something That Makes Your Readers Adore You

This guest post is by Kirsten Simmons of Personalized Productivity.

Imagine your dream customer.  The person who comments on every post, and opens every email you send.  The person who replies to your tweets and tells their friends about you on Facebook.  The person who immediately scrolls down your sales page to hit “Buy Now” without even reading through the pitch.

easter eggs

Image courtesy aussiegal, licenced under Creative Commons

One of the best ways to cultivate these sorts of relationships (once you’ve got the whole write epic shit thing down) is to seed your posts with Easter eggs—obscure references that aren’t apparent to anyone who doesn’t know what you’re talking about.  The people who don’t get the reference are none the wiser, and the people that do love you all the more for including it.

“But Kirsten,” you say, “I don’t have an endless well of obscure knowledge to create my Easter eggs with!  Must I give up on ever using this valuable tip?”

Of course not!  The idea here is to connect with some of your readers on a higher, more personal level and help them relate to you as a fellow human instead of an untouchable expert.  Your Easter eggs don’t have to contain obscure references; you can use references to a common problem among your readers that you also struggle with yourself.

Let’s take productivity (unless you’re a productivity blogger, in which case you might want to go with something else).  If you’re like the vast majority of people, you’ve tried a boatload of different theories and systems, and most of them didn’t work.  You have difficulty finding the motivation and time to maintain your system, and you often let pieces of it slip until it’s so far off track that you have to scrap it and start over.  Your productivity is a niggling source of frustration, but you don’t really know why and you’re not sure how to go about fixing it.

(The reason you’re having trouble is because you’re working against your personality type and you need a system that’s in harmony with how your brain works.  But that’s not the point of this post.)

Guess what?  If you’re having so much trouble, that means your readers are likely having the same trouble.  So if you sprinkle your struggles into your blog posts as Easter eggs, your readers will respond just as if you’d made a reference to a 90s British anarchist punk band.  You’ve just proven you have something in common with them and hinted at a very human flaw to boot.

The result?  Instant connection and adoring fans.  And you didn’t even have to dig through Wikipedia to get there.

Nine months ago, Kirsten started wondering about the connections between personality type and productivity strategies.  She started digging through the library, and came out with a business on her hands!  Interested in learning more about the Productivity Personality theory?  Come visit Personalized Productivity and take our free quiz.  You’ll learn about your type and get specific tips to begin customizing your productivity strategies to your personality.

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Comments

  1. Parsons says:

    I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, BidsOut.cÓm

  2. Great post! I try to use stories and quirky metaphors a lot to make my posts more interesting. I definitely think if you can entertain your readers and relate to them then you’re on the path to titanium-solid relationships. (Just FYI, the links to your site are broken :’( )

    • Kirsten says:

      Thank you! And thanks for the link heads up – I just checked, and it looks like it’s been fixed. :)

  3. Hi Kirsten,
    Sprinkling your posts with a bit of your struggle always build connections – for one thing, people don’t want to follow what the “experts” are doing – they want to know what real people like them are doing to succeed. Presenting yourself as an accessible human being is one of the best things you can do when sharing your knowledge. It’s also makes it more engaging and makes the goal feel more obtainable.
    Thanks for sharing this, I think I’m going to drop by and take that quiz – I could use a boost in my productivity for sure! :D

  4. Gregory C. says:

    Enjoyed the article, but I just wanted to quickly add that I’m getting an error for the links to your site, definitely look into getting that fixed.

    Best,
    Greg

  5. Justin Dupre says:

    Very informative post. Sometimes its really difficult to build a good relationship with your customers but with the right ideas such as what you have provided it’s going to be easier.

    • Kirsten says:

      Yep – it’s all in finding something for people to relate to you about. As long as it’s not what you’re selling!

  6. Jay says:

    Great post. I have actually thought about this before. Now seeing someone say that it works makes me very confident in using it. Thank you.

  7. Interesting point, Kirsten. So is there a trade-off between easter eggs to thrill and sounding like your blog is a private affair for those in-the-know?

    • Kirsten says:

      You do run a risk of having it be a private affair, but it is possible to use easter eggs in such a way that those who don’t get the joke aren’t even aware that it’s there. That’s the ideal. For example, I’m working on a site at the moment called Good Ship Lifestyle. The vast majority of the people just see it as a fun play on lifestyle design, but a few people will realize that it’s also a reference to an anarchist punk band from Britain.

  8. Ayodeji says:

    Hi Kristen, you’ve related to the strongest fear of new bloggers and have tackled it in your great post here. People sometimes want ‘real’ and palpable people to follow. Thanks for this :)

  9. Joshua Lagan says:

    Hi Kristen, I want to make sure I fully understand your post. In essence, it seems like you’re saying that as bloggers we need to make a conscious effort to relate to our readers. Maybe I just read it wrong, but it seems like the term Easter Eggs is just a prettier way of phrasing that basic concept. . Am I misunderstanding? Maybe another example of an Easter Egg, in addition to “sprinkle your struggles” would help me grasp it better. Thanks for your time.

    • Kirsten says:

      You’ve got the basic idea – when your audience can relate to you on a very human level, that connection leads to increased interaction and increased sales. Let’s say you’ve never been a morning person and have difficulty getting out of bed before 9. That’s something that a lot of your audience will relate to, and mentioning it on occasion will help bring people into your fold. Or if you can create jokes or references that fly under the radar of those who don’t get them, that’s another way to build connections with the people who do understand the reference.

      Make more sense?

      • Joshua Lagan says:

        Yes, that makes more sense. You’re just saying to emphasize your human side in your blog posts so that to use this blog for example, people know they aren’t following Problogger, they’re following Darren Rowse.

  10. Ray says:

    I sometimes notice some bloggers have a certain style of writing. Sometimes it is a little humor. Other times interesting references or comparisons. Just something different and catchy that makes me want to continue reading. Everyone has their own style. Some are just more interesting to me.

    • Kirsten says:

      Well, no one can appeal to everyone. But making sure that your personality infuses your writing is a great way to attract those who do resonate with you. :)

  11. Himanshu says:

    great information. enjoyed reading and like always learned some great points to improve my productivity

  12. Sally Bowman says:

    I didn’t get the whole Easter Egg thing at first. I thought to myself ‘I won’t think about that now; if I do it’ll drive me crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.’ The idea of working it out was gone with the wind as I became distracted by your quiz. The quiz was spot on! I’m a Fanstastical personality type and your productivity tips for me sound very helpful – specifically, apt for the way I tend to work anyway. Anyway, while I was in the middle of the quiz, the Easter Egg analogy jumped into my head and clicked! So now it all makes sense! We should be kind to our followers; they do love us so. And so I shall try in future to feed them some Easter Eggs every now and then. If I have to lie, cheat, steal or kill, I swear as God is my witness, they’ll never go hungry again!

    Ok so perhaps that was a tad crude; but it’s a great idea and my mind is running away with it as I write. What was that about Fantastical personality types again? Oooh shiny things…………. sorry, must dash!

    • Kirsten says:

      Excellent! Have fun with the Easter Eggs and let me know if you have any questions about your type. :)

  13. When you walk the extra mile trying to please your readers or clients as much as possible, the only way is up from them… people love when you care about them, and they will pay you back with more interaction, more purchases from you, because you feed them, you nurture them in every post you write for them.

  14. Kevin says:

    i can fully imagine the situation that when everybody just reads my blog or view my website and responds accordingly, and google will rank my site in the first place and alexa will give its very higher ranking. but the problem is i can not easily to find out the very interesting topic or something that can really attract one’s eyes.

    • Kirsten says:

      It’s a bit of trial and error – you have to test your ideas and see which ones resonate well and which don’t. I don’t know how many sites I tried before I stumbled on Personalized Productivity, but it was a *lot*.

  15. Mike Martel says:

    Like the analogy to Easter eggs. Opening myself up, being vulnerable is how I have found to connect with people. People get a million sales tips, technical articles. Only by sharing yourself do you create loyal fans.

  16. Jan says:

    Great idea.

    It’s a little like the way some comics return to the first joke of the set when they get close to the end. By that time it’s become an in-joke and the whole audience feels warm and fuzzy as well as good-humored.

  17. One of the best things I ever did to keep my readers was be really honest with them. While I may blog a lot about social media and online trends, I can’t pretend I’m the be all and end all of this information. There are SO MANY blogs like mine out there, but what I think helps me stand out is that when I come across an annoyance or struggle, I talk about it.

    For example, I created a second Twitter account months ago, hoping to “start from scratch” and show my readers how it’s done. Thing is, I didn’t have the time or real desire to maintain two accounts so it drifted into the dreaded never-updated oblivion. And as soon as I opened up about it, told my readers how I failed and why, they responded. More than a few commenters mentioned that that honesty is reason they subscribe. So a post in which I highlighted my failures rather than trying to seem smarter than everyone else is now one of my most-read.

    The advice you give here is spot on. I especially love what you say about pulling from your own experiences and sprinkling that knowledge on. As bloggers, that’s the key thing we can do to stand apart from the crowd.

  18. Srinivas says:

    My success @ blogging has been largely due to that special something I add to posts to make it more valuable.

  19. personality should shine through in your blog posts, we should write not for the search engines but fhor our readers.

  20. Allan says:

    Good stuff Kirsten!

    I always try to add personality into my writing either by use of humor or good analogies. I tend to spend that extra few minutes to articulate what I mean in a more interesting way.
    I also never sh away from publishing my failures for other to learn from, I actually feel that sharing stories of failures are much more valuable than pure success stories.

    However one always need to be careful of not sharing too much. Especially if you are a newcomer and is trying to establish yourself as an authority within your niche.

  21. Blog Rehab says:

    These are great ideas. I have a niche blog about writing tips for bloggers. At this point I’m still blogging anonymously as Blog Rehab, and I don’t put personal stuff on my blog. I do share more personal thoughts when I comment on other blogs. The Easter egg technique would help me bridge that gap. I do think that the funny retro photos and captions I use to illustrate my grammar lessons are kind of an inside joke to anyone who “gets” the retro humor. Thank you for the tips.

  22. buy flexeril says:

    Thank you for this information! I used it for my diploma thesis =)