This guest post is by Ali Luke of Aliventures.
You’ve probably heard that you should put some of your personality into your blogging. And you know that stories are a great way to engage readers—to capture not just their attention, but their hearts as well.
Perhaps some of your favorite bloggers are people like Naomi Dunford or Johnny B. Truant or Pace and Kyeli Smith—folks who write from the heart, who are open and honest, and who make you feel that you know them. You want your blog to be like that too.
The problem is, it’s easy to get personal stories wrong. And a blog that’s too “me me me” can be a total turn-off for readers. They might not even read a full post before getting bored and clicking away.
Readers are put off by…
1. Stories that have no point
If you can’t think of what to post about, don’t just ramble about your life story or write about your day. Just as with any blog post—or any piece of writing—readers will expect some structure and a clear message from your post.
2. Badly-written stories
Of course, you don’t have to be the next Shakespeare in order to be a successful blogger—but you do need to be able to write. If your writing itself isn’t very good, then readers aren’t likely to stick around. Conversely, a brilliantly-written piece can be incredibly engaging, even if the subject matter doesn’t seem very promising.
3. Stories that leave no room for the reader
So often, bloggers write personal stories that seem to be nothing but a self-indulgent exercise. These stories might be of interest to the blogger’s own friends and family—but there’s no reason for anyone else to care. The reader feels ignored and sidelined: the story is “me me me” with no acknowledgement of the reader.
The biggest problem with your stories is that:
No-one cares about you … yet
When a new reader comes to your blog, they probably know very little about you. They might have clicked on a retweeted link, they might have found you via a search engine—chances are, they don’t even know your name.
Of course, personal stories are a great way to help readers start to care—but not if you hit them with too much, too fast. Your reader doesn’t just want to know about you: they want to feel