What was your most popular post this week?
I asked this question on Twitter on Thursday, and got some interesting responses. The people who tweeted back blog in a range of markets—from personal blogs and finance blogs, to fashion blogs and craft blogs. And their readers are have differing needs.Among the posts were how-tos, reviews, personal stories, opinion—all kinds of approaches. And the ideas discussed are as diverse as yellow pants, Excel spreadsheets, and portrait photography.
Yet all of these were these bloggers’ most popular posts.
The message here?
There is no perfect post formula
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ll have seen that a concept or approach that works one month might flop the next. While much of the advice we see online seems to suggest that repeating what works is the path to blogging success, most of us know it’s not that simple.
Each new day brings a slightly different world, and we have to continually adapt to meet the needs of that world, and the readers who inhabit it.
What worked yesterday may not work quite so well today. So while we can rely on some “formulae” or “secrets”, we have to continually evolve new ones, and test them, and see how they work, so that we’re evolving at the same rate as our market—maybe even a little ahead if we’re lucky.
In doing that, many of us develop reader personas—ideal views of the person we’re trying to reach through our blogging. While we all understand that there’s variation, these personas can make our blogging clearer, more consistent, and give it a stronger voice.
Still, it’s important to see the lesson here, too.
There is no ideal reader
While it’s good to picture an “ideal reader” and write and blog with them in mind, I like to remind myself that that person doesn’t actually exist.
All readers are different, as all people are different. We have unifying characteristics, but they’re usually outweighed by the differences. It’s the combination of similarities and differences that makes us unique. While as bloggers we can focus on the similarities, and use them to define our readership, if that’s all we look at, we miss a big opportunity to connect.
Each person experiences things—including your blog—in a unique way. This was very clear in the posts we recently published by bloggers who joined me in Queensland, Australia, earlier this year. We all attended the same blogging workshops, and we all shared a lot of the experiences that Queensland Tourism made available to the group.
Also, all of the attendees were bloggers who were interested in visiting Queensland, and had the abilities to win the competition we ran to find our attendees.
Yet if you read those posts—and we gave all the bloggers a similar “brief” for the series we put together—it’s clear that each person took something unique from the experience. NOt only that, but they applied what they learned in completely different ways with their blogs and readerships. No two bloggers are alike—not even in these five examples!
There is only one you
We’ve published a few posts recently that have made this point, including The Secret to Crazy-happy Blogging and Unconfidence: The Essential Ingredient to Crazy Stupid Success.
While the world may change and your audience may evolve, there’s only one you.
You—your unique way of seeing the world in which you blog, and interpreting it for your readers—are the glue between your blog and your audience. I know it’s more common to see the blog as the medium between yourself and your readers, but just for today, I’m asking you to see it differently.
See yourself as the reason readers are coming to your blog.
You’re the reason they’re reading, following you on social media, and using your blog to buy products, connect with others, share their experiences, and engage.
While none of us wants to get too ego-bound, I think bloggers can be more likely to overlook this point than focus on it. And that’s to our detriment. While your blog’s not about you—it’s about your readers—you’re the reason your blog is popular.
You’re the reason your most popular post is popular.
Success is down to the work we do, as individuals. So just for today, don’t look at others’ work to find some commonality, technique, or formula that you can apply to your blog to achieve popularity. Instead, think about yourself, and your readers, and know that the approach you create to meet their needs and solve their problems is unique to you. You’re popular with your readers because you are the person you are. And that’s worth making the most of in your blog.