Last week’s post ‘7 reasons why personal blogs rock‘ got a great reaction from readers. One of the recurring pieces of feedback I had from other bloggers was that my style of blogging was quite ‘personal’ even on my ‘non personal’ blogs.
One ProBlogger reader commented via email:
‘Sometimes I feel like you’re talking directly to me one on one. It is very personal – how do you do that?’
Answering the question of ‘how to make a blog more personal‘ is one that I’ve not previously given a lot of thought to so this week I thought I should set myself the task of thinking it through and will write up my answers as a series.
A few random thoughts and disclaimers to start with:
- by ‘personal’ I don’t necessarily mean that I’m going to be reflecting upon having a personal blog (as in the type where you talk about your cat, boyfriend, hobbies and last night’s dinner). What I’ll be focussing upon is how to make your entrepreneurial blog more personal
- by no means do I see myself as a guru on the topic of ‘personal blogging’. I’ve got a lot to learn and there are many other bloggers who are a lot more accomplished at this than me.
- different bloggers (and blogs) have different styles and voices of blogging. Some will naturally be more personal in their style than others and I’m totally in favor of each blogger finding their own way in this. There are times where it’s appropriate for a less personal style – however this series is an attempt to unpack my own approach and hopefully help others who wish to add a more personal element into their blogging.
So lets get the tips underway and start with a look at how using language can add a personal touch to you blog with the first of quite a few parts to this series:
1. Me, Myself and I….
From time to time I find myself using ‘we’ in my posts when I’m actually writing about my own opinions and experiences. To be honest I’m not sure why I do this. Perhaps I’m trying to create the impression that I or my business is bigger than it is, perhaps it’s an attempt to deflect attention away from myself or perhaps it’s for some other reason. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this – ‘we’ type language seems to surface pretty regularly on blogs. Have you ever done it?
While there are definitely times to use ‘we’ (ie when you’re writing on behalf of more than just yourself) I find that using more personal language (like ‘I’ or ‘me’) adds a level of intimacy to a post.
Instead of your reader imagining a group of people behind your post they begin to see you and hear your voice.
Keep up with the rest of this series on ‘adding a personal touch to your blog’ in the following posts:
- First Person Blogging about You
- How to Give Your Blogging Soul by Using Emotion
- Using Stories to Add a Personal Touch to Your Blog
- Tickling Your Readers Funny Bone by Using Humor
- Reference to the Real Life Activities on Your Blog
- Using Bylines on Blogs
- Use of Images and Video – Adding Personal Touches to Your Blog
- When Failings, Mistakes and Half Finished Thoughts Can Help Grow Your Blog
- Make Your Readers Famous
- Finding a Conversational Voice in Your Blogging
I have to agree with the quote in your post. I spend a ton of time reading your blog and while it may be personal to you, I feel that it is very relevant to me.
Thanks for all your helpful advice!
The style of writing that you adopt is as a teacher to a pupil and in essence that is what you are doing as your mantra is “Helping bloggers earn money”
I myself have found your teachings invaluable in the short time that I have been blogging and use a very similar style to convey my own learnings.
Keep up the great work!
I think you’re a natural at making people feel comfortable.
I would guess it has something to do with your background (which I’ve read a bit about on this site) and that you are a kind person at heart – which I believe goes a long way in this world today.
As for adding a personal touch to a blog – I will say from experience that I enjoy learning a bit about someone when I visit their site, so I believe it’s a great asset to make someone more interested !
Keep up the good work Darren : )
I use the “royal we” when writing on one particular blog which is linked to a website with another, service-related purpose, which would benefit from someone acting as a team representative — not a personal website. I don’t think I’ve ever referred to myself as “we” on a personal website.
I have to agree that personalization is just something that is hard to define. Using ‘I’ does help, but it’s also about providing the odd comment in regards to your own problems and life does inject a personal touch. It makes you human and just not some guy who writes a blog.
Thanks for all your tips. Your site has been a huge help to me as I just started blogging last month.
Every blog I run gets a personal touch , but they also have their own personalities as well.
I like to address my readers as if they were friends and I find that gets more of a response from them as well.
For me, the fact that English is only my 3rd spoken language, it has been challenging to add a personal touch to my blog because i often feel that the cultural differences between me and other bloggers are too wide and for example my humor style wouldn’t fit my reader’s one. This has been challenging me mainly in my flagship blog, which is an entertainment one.
Most times, unless the person writing is over-the-top arrogant, I usually view the use of we versus I or me as nothing more than modesty.
I think it shows a certain humbleness and to be honest, that’s what’s kept me coming back to this blog versus some of the more “me, me, me, it’s all about me” blogs.
I prefer humble any day!
I say “I” when I’m writing about anything but site policies. In that case I am apt to say “we” even though I am the one who sets policy.. probably because I do have guest authors and even though they don’t get a say in setting policies, they are important.
Just a few months ago, while I was writing my post I paused for a while, thinking, whether to address myself as we or I. It’s kind of weird, maybe if we used “we” like I’m using now, it’d sound collectively speaking and we’re talking in general, and the tone would be humble. Instead, “I” would sound, well not arrogant, but authorotive. I’ve read CEOs wrinting on their blog, where they address themselves as we. Maybe that’s because they’re speaking on behalf their corporation. Oh well….
I wonder if you guys here realize that Adsense has changed their format? Thepart that says “Ads by Gooooogle”, sometimes it takes on a graphical logo of Google, and sometimes the letter G. Weird and it doesn’t look to good for our CTR!
My blog centers around books, music, movies and religious thought, so I really have to balance how personal each entry will get. Particularly around this season I have readers seeking Christmas play recommendations, Christian toys and gifts. I get more traffic and affiliate purchases when I put my daughter on the entry. But I don’t put her on their a lot. I don’t want my audience sick of my baby! :)
One of the last, who in Czech use “royal we” was Karel IV. You maybe know him… And from this time who use it, is little arrogant, I thing. But blogging changing society, isn’t it? – Welcome in Czech, “bloger we”! Or… It is realy so fanciful ;)
I’m floundering with my blog to the point I’m considering abandoning it I wonder (if you have the time) if you might take a look and give me a few pointers.
Thank you for your time.
The style of blog I am to write is very much chatting to friends, rather than talking at someone.
This is the style I attempted even when I knew there wasn’t anyone there ;-)
The use of “we” versus “I” seems to be dependent on two factors, in the main.
In one case, a blogger might use “we” in the same way that many small businesses seem to want to imply that they are large corporations — a belief (mistaken, I believe) that bigger is always better.
In the other case, the “we” does often seem to be a deliberate “distancing” of the writer from the content. This may very well be related to modesty (did anyone else have a stern parent who marked up your letters-from-college with a big red circle around every instance of the words “I” or “me,” by way of an object lesson?) but “we” can smack of insincerity, or, heaven help us, pomposity!
To write in the first person without being all “me, me, me” might be the single greatest challenge in personalizing a blog. Yep, it’s a tough one — but you set a good model here, Darrren. Thanks.
[…] The vision for the Worldwide Success site was never to be a personal blog. The vision was, and still is, to be a source of education, with a global perspective, with many contributors, and in many languages. However, as I have been learning, there is a case for adding a personal touch to a site like this. People are genuinely curious about who is behind the articles that they read, and what their backgrounds are. Problogger recently posted an interesting article entitled Adding a Personal Touch to Your Blog which adds an interesting perspective to this topic. […]
[…] It makes the blog more personal […]
[…] Darren Rowse has started a very useful article series for bloggers, Adding a Personal Touch to Your Blog. […]
[…] Darren Rowse of ProBlogger has started a series called “Adding a Personal Touch to Your Blog”, a great perspective on “personalizing” your blog. I can hardly believe that I’m encouraging bloggers to be more emotional in their blogging (blogging is a medium that is sometimes accused of being too emotionally based) but I think quite a few entrepreneurial blogs could add a new dimension to their blogging if they injected a little feeling into what can be terribly dry and one dimensional posts. […]
[…] As many probloggers said, if we want to stand out from other bloggers, we must try to write blogs personally( in own point of view ) instead of following all others write. You must try to add personal touch to your blog if you want to be a problogger. You must try to give your readers something different from others. […]
[…] about adding a personal touch in your blog […]
You genuinely give your blog a cozy feeling of a comfortable community. That piece of making your personality come through is the art of a very talented blogger that understands that people naturally want to hang out with who they like. I like you! Don’t get me wrong….You write very useful information.