How do you stay authentic, but also write for your audience?
How do you write what really matters to you, but also stick to a specific focus with your blog?
How do you tell your stories, while still making your blog useful to your readers?
Blogging can sometimes feel like a balancing act, with no clear answers to the questions above.
Last night in our Mastermind call for members of Have Your Cupcake, the sweet blogging membership site I run, one of the new members said that she felt lost. I connected with this, because I recently wrote a post about my experience of losing my blogging voice and then finding it again.
When we dug a little deeper, it came out that she wanted to change what she was writing about, but she was afraid that she would lose her current audience members.
As we talked through it, many of us on the call had different suggestions for her on how to reclaim her voice, despite her fears of losing her audience. Here’s some of what we came up with.
1. Write for readers who “get” you.
Do you remember middle school? It was probably the worst 3 years of my life. For years after, whenever I felt depressed, I would cheer myself up by thinking, Well, at least I’m not in middle school anymore.
Part of why middle school sucked so much was because I was so concerned with being popular. I really wanted the popular kids to like me, to understand me, to notice me. But, unfortunately, they preferred to torture me instead.
For high school, I transferred to an arts school, filled with quirky people like me, and suddenly I felt okay being myself.
When you write your blog posts, don’t worry about writing for people who don’t “get” you.
Blogging often feels like a popularity contest. You want everyone to love you and think you are amazing. But you can’t make everyone like you.
And if you try, if you give up your quirky, authentic voice in the pursuit of popularity, you’ll just end up being boring (and miserable).
Instead, write for your best friend. Write for your people. Trust that the people who connect with you and your message will find you. Forget about everyone else.
2. Talk to your readers.
This month in Have Your Cupcake, our focus is on learning about our readers so that we know how to best serve them.
If you don’t talk to your readers, you may be making lots of assumptions about them that aren’t true. You may think that they want you to write in a certain way, or about certain things, when really, they couldn’t care less about those things.
When you talk to your readers, and have real, true dialogue with them, you find out that they’re just humans like you, and that they want you to be real, and different, and yourself.
So get out there. Survey your readers. Ask them out for coffee (or for a Skype date where you both drink coffee in your own homes). Talking to your readers changes them from numbers in Google Analytics to actual people.
When you have conversations and learn what people really care about, you’ll find all sorts of things to write about that matter to you as well.
3. Realize that no matter where you are on your journey, you can still teach and inspire people.
In this crazy blogging world, it’s easy to feel like you need to be an expert in order to help people.
But the irony is, the more of an expert you become, the harder it is to remember what it was like to be a beginner. Often, beginners need to learn from someone who is just a few steps ahead of them, who still remembers what it was like to be brand new.
I believe that part of being real, part of owning your voice, is being completely honest about where you stand. And no matter where that is, it’s a perfect place to write from.
4. Don’t try to “hold on” to your current readers.
As bloggers, we get so caught up in looking at our numbers. Traffic stats, email subscribers, social followers, etc. And we want those numbers to keep going up and up.
So it’s easy to feel like we need to hold on to each and every reader we already have.
But here’s the thing: The readers who are truly going to connect with you and your writing, the readers whose lives will be touched by your blog, are going to stick around no matter what.
And the readers who aren’t, the readers who are meant to read a few of your posts and move on, will move on no matter what.
When I was in college, I had a HUGE crush on my friend Nik. I wanted him to be with me SO badly. So much so that I felt trapped in my own desire. I didn’t know what I could do to make him want to be with me, and it was driving me crazy.
Then my mom’s friend Nora gave me advice I’ve never forgotten. She said, If he’s meant to be with you, he will be. If he’s not, no matter what you do, he won’t be. So just let go and see what happens.
I did let go. And we never got together. But I didn’t feel quite as miserable anymore. And I was able to open myself up to other people.
So…it’s the same with your blog. Don’t feel like you need to hold on to your readers. Because, to be completely honest with you, they’re not yours to hold on to, anyway.
And, when you focus on writing what’s true for you, instead of trying to please your readers, you clear a path for new readers to find you, as well.
5. See yourself, and your voice, as sacred.
You can’t hold on to your readers. But what you can nurture, and feed, and guard, is your powerful and unique voice.You can’t hold on to your blog readers. But you can nurture your powerful and unique voice.Click To Tweet
When you focus inward and see your voice as a precious thing, you will feel much better, and your writing will become even more dynamic and engaging.
You can’t control what others think of you, but you can control what you think of yourself. So say nice things to yourself. Take time to notice and appreciate yourself. Write from a place of personal power.
When you do that, your readers will notice. And the ones that love you already will love you even more.
6. Let your writing guide you where you need to go.
One of the things I love most about writing is that it teaches me what I need to learn. It gives me the courage to do things I never would do otherwise.
In the beginning of 2015, I barely had a blog. Now I’ve built a Facebook community of 2600+ incredible bloggers, I’ve created a membership site where I get to teach and learn from women I truly respect, and I feel happier and more fulfilled than I have in years.
Why? Because I let the writing light my path. As I wrote what was true for me, I gathered others who felt the same. And then they taught me where I needed to go next.
When you trust your voice, you are giving your writing permission to take you on a journey. And even though you don’t know where you’ll stop along the way, as long as you are true to yourself, your path will take you to incredible places, and your soul-mate readers WILL find you and want to walk with you.
The bottom line is this:
You started blogging because you had something important to say. And the only one with your voice, and your story, and your journey, is you. So if you’re not going to write your story in your voice, no one else will.
Be brave. Let go of everything other than what you can control – writing what’s true for you. When you do that, magic happens.Let go of everything other than what you can control - writing what’s true for you.Click To Tweet