One of the neatest things about this world of blogging is the fact that often most of your readers have not actually met you in person! It’s incredible that others can really feel like they got to know you solely through your shared written thoughts and pictures. So how you portray yourself is huge. If all I did was recommend products or post tips without any background info or personal stories, then I fear I’ve lost a bit of my personhood. How am I a real person to you if I don’t open up a bit? I believe that this blog is my sphere of influence – a specific place, time and niche that God can use to share His message and grace through me. I can’t appear – I can’t BE – a real person to you if I choose to never get a bit vulnerable. So I want you to know, friends, that I want to make sure I’m being real with you!
Maintaining an authentic presence online is easily one of the trickiest facets of blogging. Here are some things to keep in mind if you desire to keep that thread of authenticity in your blogging:
1 // Get a bit vulnerable. This can be difficult, for a couple of reasons. First, there is a balance to strike here. It isn’t wise to share every detail of your life on the web – things like your frustration with someone at work or a big disagreement with your husband. Some things should just be your own business! 🙂 Second, opening up like this can be hard for some people. But like I said before, you may find you gain credibility – and depth of relationship – with your readers if you get more vulnerable. Open up about your feelings on topics, things that make you nervous, what you daydream about, what God’s been teaching you lately… That’s why I love it when bloggers share their goals with their readers. I even know of a couple bloggers who share longer posts on Instagram about what God’s been teaching them lately. It is wonderful to hear their thoughts!
2 // Decide on the tone and writing style you want your blog to have. Then stick with it. This is something that has taken me quite a bit of bouncing around to finally start to settle into, especially on an older blog I had in my late teens… because some days I wanted to be funny and ultra-casual, while other days I brought out my academic vocabulary. 🙂 Ha. Finally I feel like I’ve settled into a voice that really is a great combination of how I write as well as how I talk! I do notice my writing voice still fluctuates some, so it’s definitely an ongoing process. If it’s a large vocabulary you want to use – and you want to stay the most professional sounding, then go for it! And if you want to tell witty stories in a casual tone, that’s great too! Whatever you’ve settled on, stick with it, though. It can confuse readers if we bounce between serious/academic one day and super casual another day.
3 // Share the things you’d want to share with a good friend. I can’t open up and let you in if I keep our “conversations” here in the blogosphere limited to a short “How are you?” “Good, the weather’s been lovely lately!” exchange, can I? 🙂 I stole this tip from my blogging inspiration post. There are so many topics you can cover! Use this as a lens when you’re working on opening up to your audience.
4 // Be flexible. This point may sound a bit strange, but think – really think – about your content and be willing to change your plan as far as what you’re writing that week. Why? In the past, I have sometimes planned on writing a travel post or something a little less emotionally invested, but I feel a push on my heart to share what is really important to me right then. And the neat thing is, it’s often on those days when someone says, “Thank you, that is what I really needed to hear today!” So listen to your heart – is there a more important topic or journey you perhaps should share instead of your planned post? Ask God and listen to see if there is a different, important message He is laying on your heart today!
Authenticity is a difficult topic and endeavor for bloggers – and for any writer. How do you work to maintain an honest, authentic rapport with your readers?