In today’s digital world, many companies have a blog. It’s a great way to demonstrate your expertise and share knowledge and ideas with existing and potential clients/customers and industry peers. But educating and informing is just one part of creating a successful blog; making authentic connections with your audience is equally important.
Building these connections begins with sharing relevant personal experiences. Since way before computers were even a concept, people have connected through storytelling. Personal perspective can help your audience feel as though they truly understand who you are—both as a business and as the individuals who make up that business.
Creating a visual connection to your storytellers through photos or illustrations is just as important. That’s likely why our “Meet our Pita Peeps” blog posts are among the most viewed posts here on Fresh Pita—our readers not only want to hear what we have to say, but who’s saying it.
We’re not the only ones who have recognized the importance of sharing personal experience alongside informational content. The following blogs have leveraged the power of personal connection and used it to expand their brands. While the focus of these blogs may be different than your own, they still offer important lessons to be learned.
YoungHouseLove: This wildly popular blog chronicles the do-it-yourself home improvement projects of a young couple from Virginia. What started as a way to update family and friends on their home remodeling progress has evolved into a full-time job and landed them on HGTV and CNN and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Better Homes & Gardens and beyond. It’s no doubt that part of their success comes from the fact that posts are sprinkled with plenty of personality and details about their life outside of painting and renovating, making readers feel much more invested in each project and its outcome. It seems readers loved the personal details just as much as the DIY details, leading to the creation of Young House Life, a spinoff blog dedicated solely to the details of their family life.
Lesson #1: Your stories can serve multiple purposes.
Don’t hesitate to include personal experiences. They can become proof points that drive home your message while also humanizing you or your company.
Kath Eats Real Food: Kath’s blog started as a diary of her journey to lose 30 pounds and become a registered dietician. As her blog gained popularity, she noticed that her most popular posts featured photography of the delicious meals she was creating. Her full-time job is now her blog, and she regularly posts three times per day, including photos of each meal and posting recipes nearly as often. Like Young House Love, Kath Eats Real Food (KERF) contains personal details as well. So, when Kath became pregnant in 2011 and noticed her audience loved reading her pregnancy updates, she created Baby KERF, which is devoted solely to her experience as an expectant mother.
Lesson #2: Pay attention.
Take the time to observe what type(s) of content elicits the most response from your audience, and don’t be afraid to follow a slightly different path and see where it takes you. You may be able to connect to your audience in different ways than you originally expected.
Cupcakes and Cashmere: Passion for style led former advertising sales executive Emily Schuman to create this blog. In any given post, you’re as likely to see photos of her outfit that day as you are her latest confectionery creation or details about a weekend get-together with friends. This unique combination of topics, with the photos to support them, has meant success for Cupcakes & Cashmere. Thanks to her blog, Emily has been able to quit her day job and has partnered with Coach and Forever 21. She is also the guest blogger for Estee Lauder and has a book coming out this summer.
Lesson #3: Combining your passions is a recipe for success.
Don’t shy away from bringing together the topics you care about. Readers will sense your enthusiasm in your writing and appreciate your passion. And don’t forget to use your camera—visuals not only break up the page and pull a reader into your post, but also go a long way in supporting your topic.
Zappos: Ranked highly on Fortune magazine’s list of “Top 100 Places to Work”, Zappos is often used as an example of a company that does things right. And their blogs are no exception. Going beyond footwear, Zappos posts about their volunteer projects, up-and-coming designers and brands and Q&As with their employees. In addition, the authors of posts vary (they even have the interns write a few), which keeps the blogs fresh.
Lesson #4: Let different personalities and perspectives shine through.
One perspective probably means that your topics aren’t that varied—and that could get boring for your reader. Allow multiple people to contribute, and you instantly have a more dynamic blog. And there’s a plus side for your employees, too—the distribution of responsibility for developing ideas and writing keeps any one person from feeling overwhelmed. You’ll still want to assign someone as the gatekeeper, though, in order to monitor posts for consistency and appropriateness.
Want to discuss how you can implement these lessons on your own blog? Contact us to set up a blog strategy session or to schedule a social media boot camp for your company.