[Flickr credit: matsuyuki.] Lorelle spells out, at Blog Herald, the three sources that your web traffic comes from: search engines, links, word of mouth. Which one are you writing for? She offers some of the most convincing reasoning for focusing on “word of mouth” – a powerful form of communication now and throughout history. Write for word of mouth traffic, she says, and traffic from other sources will follow.
Another facet of that question is, “Who are you writing for?” I’d like to pass on some advice about writing that I learned a long time ago, which I’ve just rediscovered scribbled in an old notebook of mine. If you want your writing to be impactful and/or meaningful, write for someone that cares about you and what you have to say.
To clarify, while you write, imagine that you are writing directly for this person – in order to tell them a story, relate an experience to them, or teach them about something. Choose anyone that you know will listen to you in person, no matter what you’re talking about. (When I wrote for print, that person was my maternal grandmother. She doesn’t understand much English, but she enjoyed listening to her oldest grandchild. Since becoming a busy blogger, though, I’d forgotten about this technique.)
When you consciously write for someone that “cares”, your writing takes on an intangible quality that other readers will appreciate – whether they realize why or not. You’ll also find yourself taking care about how and what you write.
If you do this – that is, write from the heart, for the heart – then it doesn’t matter how many other bloggers are writing about the same thing. While being unique is preferable, your writing will still stand out. The links will come, and as Lorelle says, the search traffic will follow.
My own best writing in print – at least from my point of view – was produced with this approach. My forgettable writing – not so much. If you’ve never done this before, it’s something you might have to work at. In the bustle of blogging, it’s easy to forget even after you’ve achieved it. So ask yourself every so often, “Who am I writing for?”