Improve your blog. Stop writing for an audience!

I’m a little freaked about this post.  I’m afraid people will read only the blog headline and get out their pitchforks and torches.  So please glance at least a few more sentences before hitting the comment section, OK?

I’d like to challenge this beloved notion — perhaps this social media myth — that you blog for a community, not yourself.

When you started your blog, you weren’t blogging for a community because you didn’t have one. You were blogging for some personal benefit. Maybe it was the HOPE of finding an audience. Or money. Perhaps recognition that will lead to new opportunities? Maybe it’s just a fun, creative outlet. But I think the core of blogging is about you and your goals isn’t it? I mean, there has to be some personal benefit to it or you wouldn’t be spending so much time on it.

From a purely psychological perspective, humans don’t willingly engage in activities that don’t provide some benefit.  Except when watching reality TV.

Now I fully recognize that you have to write something that attracts and retains an audience and I also know it’s important to stay within a certain theme or you will lose your readers. But let me tell you the biggest blogging mistake I ever made — I wrote for an audience!

Yes, in a classic marketing fashion, I had identified my “target” market, my “personas,” my keywords, and my content plan.  l had it all figured out!

And I blogged for awhile trying to reach those folks.  It didn’t take me long to become bored writing what I thought other people might want to read … and I wasn’t having any success any way.  So a little at a time, I began to relax, have more fun, and write about things I was interested in.

Funny thing happened.  Instead of finding my audience, my audience found me. And that is when everything changed. Pretty quickly my blog had a small band of very engaged and loyal readers.

I think the notion of “writing for the audience” sounds politically correct, charitable, and very social media-esque but practically speaking, if you don’t ultimately write about what YOU’RE passionate about in a way that meets YOUR goals, you’re going to bore everybody and fail.

If you follow that line of thinking, there are interesting implications for corporate blogs aren’t there?

OK, now that you have completed this post, you are entitled to your pitchforks, hot tar, or any other Medieval weapon of choice.  Please commence with the beating in the comment chamber below.

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