Some material is very old and may be incorrect today
© December 2005 Tony Lawrence
Over at Business Week, columnist Rob Hof suggests that bloggers need to ask questions that invite comments. The purpose, of course, is to build interactivity and reader loyalty: keep 'em coming back.
Actually, I think there's a larger factor here: personality
For example, here's a site that provides answers: http://www.sco.com/ta.
It's corporate driven, I'm sure it gets a lot of traffic, but there's no personality. Nobody is going to go back there every day to see what's being said, because there's no personality to care about. Of course it isn't meant to be a blog either; I'm just using that as an example of how information can be cold and colorless.
Real people have doubts, concerns, confusion. Real people interject opinion, their feelings, their emotions. It's those things that make their blog interesting and attractive, and it's mostly those things that will cause interaction from the readers.
For some bloggers, that just comes naturally. For some, you couldn't take the personality out of their posts if you tried: they are just naturally going to spill it all out. If they are angry, you know it. If something bewilders them, they tell you. Their posts have emotional content.
Other bloggers seem reluctant to expose their psyche. It's "Just the facts, ma'am". There no color to their writing, nothing to invite a conversation. It's flat, corporate, sanitized: it's safe.
Don't write like that. Sure, some subjects require less emotional involvement than others, but you need to let the "you" into your blog. It doesn't necessarily require asking questions as Rob Hof suggests (though if you honestly have questions, do put those in). What is necessary is making yourself approachable, friendly, somebody your reader wants to say something to. Let them know there is a real human being behind the blog, a person like them. That's how you build interactivity and community.
I know it's not always easy. Maybe you are afraid that baring some of your soul implies weakness. Well, are you a comic book hero or a real person? Real people have weaknesses, foibles, quirks. As for being unprofessional, go take a look at the really popular blogs, the biggest guns of the big guns - do you see the personality there? You bet you do.
Let it out. Let your readers see what makes you tick. I know you'll have a better blog if you do.
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