A few months ago, I told you about the annoying social media personality disorders that will kill your ability to be successful on the social web.
But guess what? Bloggers are not immune from developing their own set of ugly personalities that will send readers packing.
So if you've been slaving away at your blog and wondering why no one is engaging with you or sharing your stuff, perhaps you're overlooking the something so close to you that you’re likely to miss it altogether – your personality.
The Truth Hurts
Whether you like it or not, your readers are quietly judging your blog based on your personality. People have precious little time on their hands, and they want to spend it with people they know, like, and trust.
The same is true “in real life” and on other social media channels. Personality matters.
In the blogosphere, just like in real life, there are some common personality traits that are universally unappealing. And chances are, these bloggers are scaring away readers and they don’t even know it.
So who are these blogging misfits? Let me introduce you.
The Navel Gazer
Navel gazers are introspective folks who love to share their innermost thoughts and feelings. Their blogs read more like a diary than helpful information that people want to share.
Navel gazers are also notorious for over sharing – everything from way-too-personal details of their lives to every little hiccup in their business.
Now if your blog is purely meant to be your personal journal, that’s fine. However, if you want to build your business around your blog, this will just turn people off. People don’t want to hear about you. They want you to entertain them, solve their problems, and make their lives better.
Spoilsports just don’t know how to have a good time. They’re negative, cynical, and always have a contrarian view on issues.
The problem is, deep down at their core, spoilsports are just insecure. They tear others down to make themselves feel better. And all the while, they’re wondering why their blog isn’t as successful as those around them.
If you want to grow a blog community, be positive, kind, and congratulate others on their success. After all, what did our parents always say? If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all. Believe it or not, that same rule still applies.
Oh, how everyone loves a good rant. While it may feel good to get something off your chest, it does nothing to help your readers. Instead, it’s all about showcasing how smart you are or why everyone else is doing it wrong.
Before you give your opinion, make sure you’re doing it in a thoughtful way that benefits your readers. Otherwise, you’ll look like an idiot who just wants to blow off steam or stir the pot to get attention.
Unfortunately, the world is full of me-too bloggers who simply regurgitate everything else that’s on the web. While sometimes it’s entirely unintentional, others are far more blatant about it.
It’s easy to write about the same stuff everyone else does. It is much more difficult to come up with something utterly unique that will wow readers. But it is also far more rewarding.
Want to stand out? Look at traditional viewpoints about topics in your niche and turn them on their heads. Find a different way to explain something or use storytelling to get your point across. You have to write the posts that only YOU can write. People will love you for it.
If you want to really piss people off, become a plagiarist. Plagiarists are often SEO scammers who rip off content verbatim and pass it off as their own. This happened to me recently, and it feels just as awful as it sounds. While the readers of your blog might not know that you’re stealing content, the original authors do.
Sure, you might be able to game the system and get all sorts of back links and clicks for your ads, but this will catch up with you eventually. And after all, who wants to build a business off of someone else’s work?
Ever seen those TV ads with the people in the red Lamborghini in front of a poolside mansion? Yeah, there are folks just like this on the web.
Although they might not be as obvious, these people are the ones who will sell you get-rich-quick “systems” to help you get 100,000 hits on your website in one week or how to make $50,000 this month. Just like those TV ads, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
It is possible to use your blog to sell products on the web without being sleazy. In fact, there’s whole movement around ethical selling online.
Ever been at a party and got stuck talking to the guy who insisted he knew something about EVERYTHING? Yeah, me too. It sucks.
You get the same feeling when you read a blog run by a blowhard who can do no wrong, pretends to have the answer to everything, and believes he is better than his readers.
Sadly, this is one of the most common personality disorders in the blogosphere today. There’s a fine line between positioning yourself as an expert and coming off as better than everyone else.
So how do you separate yourself? Admit when you’re wrong, 'fess up when you don’t have the answer, and engage with your readers. That goes a long way.
How do you stand out?
So how do you avoid developing one of these blogging personality disorders? Here are a few tips that might help:
- Be YOU. There is only one you in this universe, so write about things in a way that only you can. Use your perspective, experiences, and talent, and show the world what you have to offer.
- Find a fresh approach. Look for new ways to tackle your subject matter. Be creative, and don’t be afraid to use photos, videos, illustrations, and even comic strips to get your point across in a totally different way.
- Be helpful. People are always looking for ways to make their lives easier and better. So help them! Use your expertise to solve your readers’ problems.
- Be generous. Give people credit for their ideas and generously link to others. It’s okay to share other people’s content (in fact, it’s encouraged!), just be sure to give proper credit and link to the original article.
- Engage. Amazing relationships can form online when you really engage with your readers. Leave posts unfinished, and ask your community to weigh in or ask for their opinion or feedback about an issue. People love to share their thoughts and ideas, so let them! The conversations and relationships that come out of it can be pure gold.
What are you doing to avoid scaring away readers? Are there other blogging misfits we should add to the list?