Some singers want the audience to love them. I love the audience. ~ Luciano Pavarotti
Luciano Pavarotti was one of the most beloved singers of our age. He sang with a clear tenor voice combined with a commanding stage presence that enthralled his audiences. He was dynamic in his leading opera roles. Yet he possessed a magical quality that drew audiences to him magnetically. (Click here to watch Pavarotti with Liza Minelli )
By some critics he was not the best of all singers. He was judged not the greatest of all opera actors. Yet he sold more recordings than perhaps any other opera singer in history. Even people who had never attended an opera bought his records and went to his concerts. And millions mourned when he passed away.
In the same way, the blogging world is filled with a lot of good writers. Many can craft a sentence well, put together a good headline and discuss interesting topics. Yet some launch in stardom while many stay in the shadows or drift away. Bloggers like Leo Babauta , Mary Jaksch , Seth Godin , Don Miller , and Tim Ferriss come from oblivion to build a group of devoted followers on the web. Their readers wait anxiously for their blogs not wanting to miss one.
For all of us bloggers, particularly newer ones, blogging can feel both exhilarating and debilitating at times.
We have highs when someone important gives us positive feedback. Then feel depressed when it seems few others notice. We’re encouraged when we receive a positive comment. Then feel rejected when we’re criticized. We ask ourselves at times, “Does anyone really care? If I stopped blogging would it make any difference?”
We think, “How can I build this blog into a large devoted following?” Yet, sometimes, it seems the harder we try the more elusive the goal. The more we push to build subscribers the more we drive readers away.
All superstars have a quality about them that draws people magnetically.
When you hear them sing or read their blog they make you feel they are speaking just to you. They understand what you’re going through. They give you insights and new ways of looking at the world. They pass on encouragement just when you need it. And answer questions you thought only you were asking.
Pavarotti says it about singing. It’s just as applicable in blogging. Is our focus on trying to get others to love us? Or is our focus on loving our readers?
Most of the world’s great religions have a similar golden rule. “Give to others what you would like to receive.”
Blogging is very public. We lay out thoughts and abilities for all to judge. Kind of like running around naked I hear. And we all want people to like us. That’s normal enough. But then we start worrying, “Will people like this piece? Is it humorous enough? Insightful enough? Will people think I’m dumb for saying this? Am I being too outspoken?”
This self consciousness creates distance in our writing. Our posts become stiff and formal. They can take on a zombie like quality. And our readers won’t connect with us. The exact opposite of what we want.
So what do we do? How do we “love our audience” to connect with them?
A few practical ideas that help me.
First, as you write literally focus on a reader. Picture in your mind someone sitting across from you that you are talking to. As I write and edit I visualize a friend sitting in the chair across from my desk. Then I just talk naturally with him or her. My fingers simply record what I say.
This brings a conversational nature to our writing. We connect with our readers. We share in a way that’s genuine and our readers sense it’s coming from our heart.
Second, empathize with your readers. Talk about things you are discovering in your journey that have helped you. What are you interested in? What are you learning?
You’ll come across as a fellow journeyer rather than an authority giving commands. We’re all in this thing called life together. As boggers we’re simply sharing with our readers what has helped us. That’s an attracting quality.
Third, give your best stuff every time. One thoughtful meaningful post per week is superior to five mediocre ones in my opinion. Fill your posts with incredibly helpful, useable material written in a way that encourages your readers.
When readers know every post will have information that will make their lives better they’ll look forward to what you write.
Fourth, write with passion.
Leo Babauta recently said in an interview, “Write what you’re passionate about, and let that passion shine through.”
What are you learning that you are sharing with your spouse or best friend? What can you just not shut up about? Share that with your readers. Sometimes it’s hard. People might wonder about your ideas. So what? Not everyone is going to think we’re swell anyway. So just share it. See what happens.
Passion transforms our writing. It changes stale information into enthusiastic sharing. And that’s amazingly attractive.
I love what Mary Jaksch says in the About pages of this blog “Write to Done.” Her purpose for this blog pictures the mood A-list bloggers create that attract readers to them.
“It’s like a comfortable roadside inn on the writer’s path where we can find companionship, encouragement.”
Isn’t that really what we all want for our blogs?
Try the Pavarotti principle. Let me know what happens.
If this post has helped you please leave a comment. And share it with a friend. I appreciate it.</em