It never failed. When I worked in publishing training editors, it didn’t matter what their background was. They could be college grads or ex-teachers. One thing nearly everyone had to learn was how to write for an audience of readers. So many people seem to write same email for a stranger their own age, the CEO of a major company, their boss, and their best friend from childhood.
What we write isn’t about who we are. It’s about who we want to communicate with. End of story.
As a blogger, we need to focus on our readers. That means knowing how they think, so we know how they are likely to interpret what we say. Here are 10 traits that are typical of bloggers that I’ve talked to, and you might know that I talk to at least one blogger a day.
10 Traits of Blog Readers
- Blog readers are always clicking. They will click in to see us and just as quickly click away if we don’t show that we know them.clarity.
- Blog readers are fiercely independent. Like most customers in any industry, we can’t force readers to behave as we might wish they would.
- Blog readers range in temperament from the shyly introspective to the wildly notorious. Our readers tend to reflect us in some traits, but not every one. We need to remember that every reader is an individual, not part of a group of identical “anythings”.
- Some blog “readers” are spammers in disguise. It’s sad to approve a comment only to find that another one comes in from the same “person” saying the same thing on another heavily spammed article.
- Blog readers have their addictions. Readers have favorite blogs. Find out your readers favorites and you’ll get significant insight into how they think.
- Blog readers have to be earned back every time we write. The Internet is hard on the eyes. Readers don’t relax with the screen. They have to want to read, or they’ll skim and click right past what you’re saying. Even my most loyal readers have on occasion gotten caught commenting in some way that showed they didn’t read the entire article.
- Blog readers don’t tolerate pretenders. On the Internet the only safeguard we have is that we have tacitly agreed to be forthright, authentic, and transparent with each other. Be a fake, and readers will figure you out. Then they will never trust what you say.
- Blog readers like lists, but not lists of unexplained or un-researched links. In the same way that we wouldn’t serve bad food to our guests or offer them a plateful of random raw food we hadn’t checked (or worse plastic fruit), readers want content that we pre-select. What we offer speaks to who we are. A list of links with no descriptions is like a tray of styrofoam popcorn — empty and most useful for taking up space.
- Blog readers have a voice worth listening to.
- Blog readers will be generous in proportion to the generosity we show, but we have to go first. If we show that we know what we’re blogging about and who we’re blogging for, our readers will appreciate us for appreciating them. Everyone likes to be cared about.
The fact that they read our blogs is a good sign that they read other blogs. That means they know tings about us in relation to other bloggers that we do not. If we listen, they will tell us what they know.
That’s a staring point — 10 Traits of Blog Readers. how long can we make the list? More than that, how will we use it to center our blogs around our readers?