Authenticity, if you have read any blog, particularly any one who went to Blog Fest I can guarantee you’ve heard this word before. It’s a buzzing topic in the blog world. What does it mean? It means that bloggers, including myself, want to be transparent about ourselves and honest with our readers.
Of course that sounds simple enough but blogging is a machine that’s easy to get caught up in. I’m going to be honest, I want my blog to grow. I don’t spend hours a day on it so that it will go out into the internet never to be read. However, in my pursuit of reaching that goal it’s been easy to lose sight of the people I’m blogging for.
Advice I’ve read about growing my blog tells me I should be writing content that can be shared and pinned. That means content that’s informational and not so personal. I’ve been listening to Chalene Johnson’s Build Your Tribe podcasts a lot and she talks about always adding value to a reader in whatever you put out there. For example, she doesn’t agree that Instagram should be a place where you post about your life. She says you should only be posting things that add value to a new reader and draw new people in.
I call B.S. on that. That might be the best way to get more followers but I don’t just want more followers, I want quality followers and I don’t want to forget those who have followed me from the beginning.
If my recent reader survey taught me anything, it’s that people want to know the personal stuff. We connect to people when they share their story and you find a piece of them that you can relate to yourself. With a great informational post, you read it and move on, but a personal post makes you stick around.
I think there’s a balance to be struck in blogging between information and personal content. What I learned from my survey is that I’m falling short on the personal side. I take that information to heart and I’m going to try to be more personal but I have to tell you, that’s really hard for me because the truth is, I’m not a very open person in real life.
If I’m having the best day of my life or the worst, people likely cannot tell the difference (with few exceptions, Tom and my sister Val). I am not the person who calls up a friend when they have a bad day or something is bothering them. I deal with my issues largely by myself.
I’m not saying I’m a ticking time bomb, I find ways to relieve stress or to deal with issues I am experiencing but my outlet is not talking to others. Therefore, putting all my feelings, thoughts and emotions out on the internet, that’s really hard for me. Sharing my experience last week with emotional eating was hugely challenging. I don’t like to admit failures or imperfections. But I realize it’s those imperfections that make me human and make you, my reader, realize that I don’t live a perfect life and I have daily struggles. Sharing those struggles and how I overcome them is more meaningful and inspirational than sharing only the good days.
I want to open up, I want to share my story and I want others to be inspired and learn from both my ups and downs. This won’t be easy for me, but I promise, I’m going to try.