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A Question Of Intimacy: How Much Should You Share With Your Readers?

There is an ongoing discussion among blogging circles concerning just how close you should get to your readers – it was actually suggested by a reader as the subject of the contest at my own blog this month. There are several advantages to getting more personal with your readers, as well as a few disadvantages. A lot of the time it is a fairly tight line – you need to get close enough to your readers to build trust, but you also want to be careful of just how much you share with them.

Connecting With Readers

Getting more personal with your readers can be achieved with the sort of content you write in your blog posts, as well as how you connect with them individually:

  • Quite commonly, sharing stories from your daily life can bring a touch of humanity to your blog – even if it’s not a personal blog or diary. If you run a niche blog, try to use stories that have some relevance to the main topic of your blog.
  • People can make their religious or political views known, and some even run popular blogs specifically on these topics. Many popular debates also give bloggers a chance to share their opinion, or bloggers may casually share their thoughts on issues they feel passionate about.
  • Posting more videos and photos on your blog can give it a more personal presence, and readers will learn to associate your blog with you as a person.
  • It is recommended that you answer as many comments on your blog as you can to help maintain that human presence. You might also connect with people on social networks such as Facebook or Twitter in order to strike up conversations and provide further social proof.

The Good News

The principal advantage to being more personal with your readers is that they learn to trust you more easily, as it shows that there is a strong human presence behind the blog – if that didn’t exist, many readers might almost think that a computer was writing your blog. You will also find that you always have some inspiration to draw from, and snippets of your personal life can become an interesting aspect for readers to experience.

Readers are probably much more inclined to connect with someone who is open and readily shares a lot about themselves. Responding to comments on a regular basis and giving readers individual help when it’s needed can also make them feel much more important. All of this can accelerate the growth of your blog’s community, and transform it into the sort of place everyone likes to be.

The Bad News

Unfortunately not all readers are the same – some will like that you share nearly every little detail about your life with them, while others be turned off very much by it. Moreover, not everyone is likely to agree with your own personal views. If you explicitly share your passion for a particular issue that some readers don’t agree with then they may find it offensive.

Focusing too much on bringing personality to your blog can also lead you to stray from your central topic. Readers are generally there to find information that helps or entertains them – if that describes your daily musings then that’s all well and good, but if it doesn’t then people are likely to lose interest fairly quickly. There is also a small issue of safety when you share too much information. Call it paranoia, but you never really know who’s reading and what they might do with any personal information you share openly.

Ultimately, it is up to each individual blog owner to determine just how intimate they get with their readers. Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t want to sound like your blog’s writer is a computer – so even a little bit of personality can go a long way to help establish a human presence, which is important to building both trust and your blog’s community.

I hope you’ve found these ideas useful. Have you got any more to add? Please mention them, or any other questions you have, in the comments section below…

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