Managing the Personal and the Private on Your Blog

Regardless of the niche or the industry vertical that you choose to approach on your blog, whether you choose to write about your journeys around the globe or about the latest techniques in maximizing affiliate marketing income, readers like to hear a personal story. They want to feel like they are making a personal connection to the writer. They want to get the sense that this blog is being written by a real person with a real opinion, and not just some generic content farm that could have been written by practically anybody.

What’s Your Story?

Certainly, there are many successful blogs and websites out there on the Internet that don’t add this kind of personal touch, simply reporting or discussing the straight facts without giving much in terms of a background on the person who is actually writing the words. That being said, having a unique “story” that people can identify with or connect with can be an incredibly powerful tool in growing your audience and, as a result, your income potential.

Take this blog as a prime example. I don’t need to tell you that there literally thousands, if not millions of other blogs out there that talk about Internet marketing, social media and how to make money online. A big part of what makes John Chow dot Com so unique is John Chow himself. Before he took on writers like me to help populate the site with even more content, he handled all of that himself. People wanted to know about his personal story of growing up in the poorest neighborhood in Vancouver and how he propelled himself to the five- and sometimes six-figure monthly incomes that he earns today.

To achieve this, John has invited readers into his personal life. He has introduced us to his wife Sarah and his daughter Sally to provide a sense of context and why he does what he does. That’s a big part of the dot com lifestyle, he’ll tell us, and ensuring the best future possible for Sally is a big motivation for all of this. He has discussed his move from Vancouver to Bellevue to Orange County.

In the Public Eye

Through all of this, we’ve all been welcomed into the Chow family, so to speak, because we’ve all gotten to know John on a much more personal level and this has certainly bolstered his success over the years. Given this, some people might think that you have to be a completely open book to leverage this kind of personality or personal touch to your blog and that’s simply not the case.

Do we know exactly what school Sally is attending and what courses she is taking? Do we know about what subjects are proving more difficult for her in school and what subjects she is excelling in? Do we know about her friends? Does John keep us apprised of any visits he may have with the doctor? Do we really know all that much about his extended family or friends he may have outside of the “dot com” group? Not really.

And that’s okay. Indeed, that’s probably ideal.

You need to draw a line in the sand somewhere when it comes to discussing the more private aspects of your life, because you have to realize that once it’s out there on the Internet, it’s there forever. Even if you delete it off your blog some time later, it’s already been archived and saved elsewhere. You can’t take it back.

The Internet Is Forever

Speaking for myself, while I do talk about my personal family life to some extent and I take my readers and followers along on some of our family adventures and such, I generally don’t share pictures or details about my extended family. I generally don’t share pictures or details about friends who are outside of the blogging and “Internet” sphere. I don’t discuss more personal matters, even if I may share more than the average person.

Everyone’s comfort level is going to be different. This needs to be a conscious decision and it’s a decision that mustn’t be taken lightly. Take some time to think about it before you share an embarrassing photo of your Aunt Ruth on your blog because you think it’s funny. Because you will have a crossed a line and you’ll never be able to take it back.

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