When I first started blogging I used to image all of my readers, all 5 of them, gathered together reading a post. I used to think of the pageviews I saw in my stats as a single unit rather than individual people, in their individual worlds reading a post at their computer, just like I did.
There was a real disconnect between what I did in my own life and how I interacted with other people's blogs and how I thought about my own readership. I didn't appreciate for many months that my own reading behaviour could tell me a lot about my own readers behaviour and ultimately help to create a much better and deeper experience for them.
When I was writing for a group of people, rather than thinking of a single person, my writing was less personal, less conversational and lacked a lot of the emotion and personality that's present in my everyday exchanges.
Just think of the difference between how you would speak, you word choice, your ease, if you were speaking on stage to a group of 400 people. Now contrast that to sitting across a table and chatting with someone you recently just met but have tons in common with. How you communicate in those 2 situations will be profoundly different.
I have definitely tended towards the standing on stage feeling awkward type of blogging and from what I see around the interwebs, it's a pretty common issue and it's an issue that can severely block your connection with readers and that is going to affect your website growth.
Why does it matter?
Not only can you imagine the difference in the way you'd talk on stage vs on a coffee date but also imagine how you'd feel “in the audience” in both of those situations.
Do you feel more connected to the speaker or the person sitting right in front of you? How will that connection affect how you feel about the person going forward?
That connection is why this matters so much for your blogging efforts. When you're able to write in a way that makes a reader feel like they're the one, single person you're speaking to, you're going to reach them in a way that “stage blogging” never will.
When meeting new people, we're always looking for subtle similarities, the tiny things we have in common that tie us together. By writing in a more conversational way, you're going to reveal those commonalities, those idiosyncrasies will that endear you to your readers faster than anything else.
How to write to one person
Writing to one person can sound a whole lot easier than it actually is but once you get the hang of these tips, I'm willing to bet you'll have a lot easier time writing posts and they'll be a whole lot better too.
1. Sit down in a quiet place and visualize your ideal reader. Once you get a clear visual of what they look like give them a name and start to think about their life. How old are they, do they have a family, what's their job, are they still in school, what to they hope to do with their lives?
Make a complete, well rounded person in your head. I've even gone so far as to find a picture of my person and write down all the things about her.
2. Use this new reader persona as your post writing muse. The trick to bringing your writing into the place of connection and conversation really isn't that much of a trick. It's really just about imaging that crystal clear vision you have of your reader and speaking directly to him or her when you write your posts, or your email newsletters, or any communication you have with your audience.
When you really get your reader, are in touch with what makes them tick, you'll be able to connect on a level that is pretty profound given all the monitors and keyboards separating you.
- Visualize your ideal reader, name them & find a picture if you want to be extra fancy.
- Use this persona to write your next post. Imagine them sitting across from you or as your only audience.
- Notice the difference in your writing and your word choice. How does writing to one person, instead of many, change your writing?
Do you struggle with creating your ideal reader persona? Or if you've got this down, how has it changed how you write?