How To Connect With Your Readers

    connect with your readers - images of people

    Thereʼs nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.
    -Walter Wellesley ʻRedʼ Smith

    If you have a moment, Iʼd like to travel back in time to when you were bored out of your mind in history class, watching the clock move backwards as the teacher mumbled meaningless dates, documents, and names. Remember how hard it was to memorize all of that information?

    Well that was my experience. I just didnʼt realize it would help me become a better writer some day. However, when I first began my personal development blog, I started out writing posts very much like my old history teachers gave lessons. I would…

    • lay out the problem(s)
    • tell my solution(s)
    • follow up with supporting ideas/facts
    • finish off with a conclusion

    It was like reading a school essay, and that is no way to build traffic. Readers did not respond to it just like I did not respond to those history lessons.


    Connecting with Readers

    To get a response, I needed to give them something to identify with. Make them want to read on, comment and share it with the world. In order to build traffic, I needed my articles to be worth sharing. However, I had no idea what a the secret of popular posts was, so I just kept on writing….for months.

    Then, one day out of the blue, I remembered Mr. Joe. When I was in college Mr. Joe taught history differently. When he recapped the American Revolution, it was so vivid that I wanted to attack the next person I saw wearing a red coat. Suddenly the facts were not so hard to remember.

    I didnʼt even need to study for his test. It was if I lived the answers. This was because Mr. Joeʼs fascinating lessons provided much more than facts. They included the gossip, popular music, jokes, beliefs, and styles of the time period.

    To sum it up, they gave us an understanding of the human experience from that moment in history.


    The Moment of Discovery

    Inspired by Mr. Joe, I let my humanity fill up my articles. Suddenly my posts were not only easier to write, but they lead to comments, social media shares, and direct emails filled with praise. My subscriber list steadily began growing and I have been using the same approach ever since.

    Life is the one thing we all have in common, so readers respond to ʻreal lifeʼ stories. They identify with the same struggles, fears, and letdowns that we all do. When I am writing a personal development post, I simply try to picture myself back at the point when I first learned the lesson I want to share.

    • Where was I?
    • What was I doing?
    • What did I feel, see, hear, smell?
    • Why did this lesson suddenly stand out to me?

    Writing about the moment of discovery allows for a better connection with your readers. It gives your message a unique delivery, because no matter how similar the lesson, no one learns it exactly the same way.

    Make it Worth Sharing

    By adding in a little personal human experience, you provide a connection for others who may have experienced something similar. It draws the reader into your world, and gives them a break from their own.

    It’s what defines a post worth sharing. I always identify much better with a blog post that makes me say, ʻ…I had an experience just like thatʼ, than one where I say, ʻ…thatʼs a great pointʼ. Add in a little human experience to your writing.

    Make it vivid, and donʼt be afraid what someone may think. Simply tell it exactly like it is. After all, you are trying to reach the world, and nothing travels faster than a great story.

    About the author

      Mary Jaksch

      Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at WritetoDone.com. Grab her latest all new course Blogwriter's Bootcamp 2.0 or a copy of her free report, How to Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet in Less Than 5 Hours. In her “spare” time, Mary’s also the brains behind AlistBlogging.net. and GoodlifeZEN.com, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

    • Aidan says:

      i’ve been writing like a history teacher all this time!!

    • @Very Evolved

      Patrick, that article on neurobiology was quite fascinating. I had no idea about the different paths b/t audio & visual stimuli compared with what we smell and feel. I am an aspiring film maker, and this is quite an eyeopener.

      Thank you for the comment and for the link!

    • Peter,

      You certainly practice what you preach – I connected with what you were writing about right away.

      I’ve been a neuroscientist for over a decade now and I’m sad to say that so much academic reading and writing has taught me to drain the humanity out of my writing, which incidentally is why us scientists are mostly terrible at communicating well with the public about what we actually do.

      I’ll be referring back to this post (and yin vs yang) regularly as I craft my articles. One thing you may be interested in is my thoughts on the neurobiology of good writing and what exactly happens in the brain when you generate an emotional response in your readers through your writing.


    • @Lisa Hartjes

      That’s a great point. I am an aspiring screen writer, and that is the hardest part of it, trying to actually live the moment you are writing. However, if you actually achieve it, the writing is just amazing.

    • Thank you so much for publishing this article. The idea of the “aha moment”, and the use of personal experience applies to all kinds of writing, including fiction. Nobody wants to read about cardboard characters. Give them a bit of life, something the reader can identify with, and then you’ve got them hooked.

    • @Tabitha
      I think that is everyone’s goal: to make our good writing great. My take is, why not make it easy and use what you know?

    • I completely agree – the personal element or experience is what is often missing in writing and what can make good writing great.

    • @Mary

      Thank you for the compliment and especially for the opportunity. That simple post was pretty good!

    • Hi Peter, you’ve done us all a favor with this post!

      I’m trying to use more stories and personal experience in my posts and it really does bring an article to life. A short while ago I wrote a guest post for CopyBlogger about how it came about that Leo gave me half of WritetoDone: http://www.copyblogger.com/leo-babauta-gave-me-his-blog/
      A lot of people commented on the (very simple) story I used. That taught me a valuable lesson!

    • @Logan It makes such a difference! The hardest for me is combining SEO with a real human touch to my posts. I’m no pro at both but I sure am learning! Especially with the help of this blog.

    • Logan says:

      “Add in a little human experience to your writing.”

      You’re right this makes it so much more powerful! Thanks for sharing this! 🙂

    • @J.D.
      Thanks. My favorite combination 🙂

    • J.D. Meier says:

      Short and sweet.

    • @Iain Broome
      I agree 100% as it is our personality that makes us stand out.

      Don’t worry, Mr. Joe definitely knew as he was one of the most popular teachers. I’m sure my life is not the only one affected by his storytelling prowess.

      @Jim Bessey
      Good luck and I am going to look forward to your writing!!!

    • Jim Bessey says:

      This is a lesson I need to learn, thank you!

      I’m an essayist by training and a story-teller at heart, so your advice feels like an “aha!” moment to me. As I read your post I remembered how discovering the works of James Michener showed me how interesting those tedious History classes COULD have been.

      I shall endeavor to reassess my approach to blog postings. -grin-


    • Luann says:

      My favorite idea is that we all have life in common. So simple, yet so true. I hope Mr. Joe finds out what am impression he has made. His style has explained the past and affected the future. Quite an admirable feat!

    • All true.

      Bloggin is no different to writing for a client if you’re a copywriter or freelancer. It’s all about making sure you’re writing reflects your personality (or the client’s) and is appropriate to your audience (or the customer).

    • @Franklin Bishop

      I agree. I think you can leave your readers wanting more, by offering your real life, because it’s like making a new friend. Plus, they know, it’s like the old batman tv show….tune in tomorrow for more from our crime-fighting hero, same bat time, same bat channel….minus the crime-fighting I’m assuming 🙂

    • @Enduring Wanderlust

      Finding themselves in your work is a great way to phrase it. That’s exactly what readers are looking for…that’s the connection

    • Is like you have to be her readers horny and then you might connect. You have to make them want your Blog even more. How do you do that? Well writing great content and talking to your readers the comment form might just do that.

    • Capturing the human experience. Great tip. It really is about connecting with something within the reader. They have to find themselves in your work.


    • @Lindsay Price

      Very well said, and I could not agree more. Engaging readers in a world with millions of blogs out there is very important, and no better way to do so than opening up your soul on the page, at least in my humble opinion.

    • As I delve more and more into blogs and social media and the like, it’s of great interest to me how we need to be more human in how we write. That people are connecting to people. That it’s turning out to be a communication and community building tool. I like that a lot. I think it’s only going to grow more and more important to be human and truthful and to engage.

    • @Rowell Dionicio

      It may be possible I made the term up (a terrible habit of mine). However, I’m glad you found something worthy out of it. 🙂

      Thanks for the compliment!

    • That’s the first time I’ve heard of the term “stumble-worthy”. I think you’ve done a great job describing how a blogger can make a connection by describing experiences that a reader can actually relate to.

      Writing isn’t hard but having that article “grab” them is.

      Thanks for the great tip.

    • e3941297e17226345b367b4f61e62e3e98e44947f806b5be70