It's a new year — time for a fresh start. Welcome to our 15-day series on how to fall (back) in love with your blog. The series is all about stepping back, re-evaluating things and making sure you're still connecting with your blog. Here's what you won't find in this series: articles on analytics, plug-ins, sponsored content, ad networks and the like. What you will find is tips and strategies to stay inspired, motivated and pushing your own boundaries, all while loving what you do.
Back on Day 9 of the Falling Back in Love With Blogging Series we talked about how building a community of engaged readers can be so much more rewarding than only attracting a lot of "click and runs" (people who don't hang around or even come back for a second visit).
There's nothing wrong with aiming only for traffic volume if that's your goal and community and engagement comes second. That's a business model in itself and it can be quite successful. But if you're looking to get that deeper connection with your readers then you need to give them something to dig their teeth into. That can be difficult if all you post is a recipe with little to nothing else. Without something to dig into, it's very hard for your audience to comment, engage with or even feel a connection to you as a person.
There are numerous ways to add that extra value for your readers. It can be how to's, tips, video content, product reviews, meal planning, e-books...
And then there's storytelling.
Back to Those Cave Paintings
Storytelling is built into our DNA. (ok, not literally but you know what I mean) For as long as humans have been around we have found a way to tell stories and share information. First came cave and rock drawings, stories around campfires, and oral histories. Then came the written word and printing presses, newspapers, magazines, movies, tv shows, blogs, e-books... we have always looked for a way to tell stories - both our own and the stories of others. It is an intrinsic part of being human.
How we tell our stories and how we consume those stories has changed, but the act of storytelling has not. It still captivates us. And there is a place for it in your blog.
But I Can't Write...
You don't have to be the world's best writer. Storytelling can be done through words, photos, videos or a combination of all three. A visual story can be just as compelling and meaningful as a written one. Ironically, whole books have been published containing only photo essays! Pick the medium(s) that comes easiest to you and use that on your site.
Tell Your Story
We've talked about not worrying about what other bloggers are doing and instead, focusing on who you are - because nobody can play that role better than you can. So tell your story. It's guaranteed to be 100% unique and nobody can copy it.
Tell the back story to family recipes. Share why a recipe means something to you. It could be because it reminds you of your grandmother. Or maybe it harkens back to a trip you took to Italy after university. Or it could be a funny mishap at the grocery store that resulted in you getting home missing a key ingredient for what you thought you were going to make and instead you had to improvise.
Everyone has a different level of comfort with how much personal information they share on the internet, as well as that of their family and friends. But even if you don't want to go to in depth all the examples above could be still work - just scale it back a bit!
Your true audience is craving a way to connect with you as a person. If you can share an honest look at your life - the good and the bad - you'll feel real and genuine to them.
Tell Somebody Else's Story
If you're not really comfortable sharing too much of your story on-line, try telling the story of somebody else. The people who produce our food often have some of the most compelling, moving and inspiring stories you'll ever hear. Interview them and share their story on your blog.
It could be a farmer, a chef, an artisan producer, a vintner, a cake decorator... the list is long. Think of people whose products and services you love. If you love them, it's likely your audience will to. So talk to them, get their story, find out what makes them tick, what inspires them and share it. Tell your readers why these people inspire you!
Storytelling is a way to engage. Emotion is a powerful connector. Want comments? Tell a story that people can dig their teeth into. Give them a reason to say something other than "this sounds yummy!" Make them want to share your content with their friends. We share what touches us.
So don't be afraid to open up and bare a little bit of your soul - or the soul of somebody else. You might be surprised by the results!
15 days to fall (back) in love with your blog!
- Day 1 — Getting Started
- Day 2 — Stop Comparing
- Day 3 — Working Through Fear
- Day 4 — Managing Disappointment and Criticism
- Day 5 — Dealing with Blogger Stressors
- Day 6 —Don’t Be Afraid of Change or Personal Growth
- Day 7 — Finding Time
- Day 8 — Find a New Workspace
- Day 9 — Talking With Your Audience
- Day 10 - Finding Inspiration
- Day 11 - Exploring Creativity