This month I’m celebrating 1-1/2 years writing this blog. I was hooked and fired up on day one. Except for a one-month period earlier this year when my blog was hacked into and consequently Google stopped indexing my pages, I’ve devotedly posted to my blog at least twice a week.
This may not be much of an accomplishment to long-time bloggers who post every day, but it’s something I’m proud of.
I was prompted to look back at my early days after reading Craig Wildenradt’s recent post at CopyBlogger, How Your Emotions Are Strangling the Life Out of Your Copy.
He talked about how bloggers are prey to the “emotional needs filter” — the filter we run our ideas through when we write.
“Whenever you feel like you’re taking a risk, an emotional response is triggered. Your emotional needs feel threatened. The filter is engaged, and your bold copy turns into a big puddle of boringness.”
Craig suggested that the key to dealing with the dilemma is noticing when the filter kicks in so you can disengage it and write freely.
When I first started, I remember reading that over time bloggers find their voice. I thought I was blogging from my true voice right at the beginning. I know better now.
When I allow myself to look back on my first few months of blogging, I’m slightly embarrassed by how stiff the writing is. Those early posts don’t give a good feel for who I am. They don’t do a good job of generating chemistry for me and my brand. I think I decided at the time that no one would care how I FELT about something – they just wanted hard information about landing a job.
At first, I kept anything personal out of my posts. I’ve loosened up a bit, but I don’t think I’ll ever be the kind of blogger who bares her soul and divulges highly personal things. That’s not what my brand or blog is about, and there are always security and reputation issues to be concerned about.
In her recent Web Worker Daily post How Much Should You Reveal About Yourself Online?, Meryl Evans wrote:
Blogger Penelope Trunk (penelopetrunk.com), founder of Brazen Careerist “succeeds in revealing everything about herself because she has a solid brand and career that works for her. For most of us, being open and revealing such stories might not go as well. They could affect future jobs, gigs and relationships.”
My blog is about sharing trade secrets, all I’ve learned in my 20-year careers industry professional life, and building credibility and visibility for my niche expertise. Along the way, I talk some about myself and enjoy throwing in posts that are completely off-topic, too.
At first, I also lacked the confidence to write thought pieces, exposing my opinions and feelings about my values and relevant issues important to me. What if someone disagreed with or didn’t like what I wrote? What if expressing my brand turned people against doing business with me?
Well then my branding efforts were working. We probably weren’t a good fit to work together anyway.
And besides, most of the time blog readers don’t let you know when they hate something in a post. When you do get an angry comment, that just means you’ve struck a chord – people are listening and incited enough to join the conversation, which is all good.
As I’ve built credibility for my brand by blogging, it’s clear that people ARE interested in my thoughts and opinions. These kinds of posts that allow me to more freely flex my writing muscle often generate the most activity. I’ll continue to balance my posts with some how-to type articles and some that are more thoughtful and hopefully thought-provoking.
This “finding your blog voice” is a progressive thing. You get comfortable taking risks and suddenly what you thought you’d never write about is easy to take on. I’m sure I’ll get better and better at disengaging my emotional needs filter.
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Fran Holm Hogan says
Thank you so much Meg for your encouraging words and resources!
Fran Holm Hogan says
Thank you so much for writing this post now. You struck such a chord with me as I sit at my computer thinking about how to start exposing myself with a blog.
I felt as if I were reading my own unexpressed thoughts and feelings. I am very late to the social media world relative to my years in the recrutiing industry. For the first time I am preparing to start my own blog and suffering from all lthe doubts and fears you expressed.
“exposing my opinions and feelings about my values and relevant issues important to me. What if someone disagreed with or didn’t like what I wrote? What if expressing my brand turned people against doing business with me?”
I was trained a long time ago to be a chameleon. If I presented a neutral personality to my clients I would be able to mirror their ideas and thoughts. People like someone with common interests….correct? It took me quite a few years to realize that wasn’t necessarily true. I have been much more honest in expressing differing opinions over the years but now I’m thinking about going more public…..a little scary and very tempting to stay neutral (read boring).
It may still take me a while to take that first step but when I do I hope to be as successful as you have been at “finding my voice”. Your blogs are always interesting and relevant.
Meg Guiseppi says
Fran, your lovely comments prove my point – laying oneself bare a little, as I did in my post, generates chemistry and encourages people to join the conversation.
It looks to me that you’ll have no problem blogging from your voice, once you take the plunge. You already did it here! Remember that it’s okay to start out playing it safe.
Two terrific resources are copyblogger.com and problogger.net — they’ll both help you get your sea legs and learn all the secrets to writing compelling blog posts, plus help with the inner workings of a blog.
Thanks so much! I greatly appreciate your kind words and continued readership.
Best of luck diving into blogging. I hope you love it as much as I do!