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For some bloggers, forging an emotional connection with readers is natural and effortless. For others (like me), it’s more difficult. Not everyone is equally comfortable sharing personal feelings in public settings. Not everyone has a natural talent for spinning their life events into beautiful photos and lyrical words. Some of us dwell more in abstract ideas than in emotional ones.
..Even so, it’s well worth looking for ways you can inject bits of emotion into your blog content. You can absolutely work within your comfort zone, but a little emotional connection goes a long way toward creating the kind of bonded community you want around your blog.
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Even in an information landscape that brings us a crap-ton of new information every single hour, we still find a way to become tired of what’s familiar. So anything that surprises us tends to not only capture our attention, but deliver a burst of happiness.
I think this kind of emotional response really applies to craft blogging. We crafters tend to look at a lot of crafts, and all that chalkboard paint and Washi tape can blend together after a while. But when you see an idea that’s a totally new-to-you, you wake up and get excited. You also tend to get interested in its maker – do they have other ideas like that? It’s a seed for deeper connection.
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Humor is really a slightly more sophisticated form of surprise. Funny things pop us out of our daily grind for a moment, so we tend to remember and return to the blogs that make us laugh. That’s an important seed for connection, too.
Not only that, each laugh is a little emotional catharsis, helping us relax and reset. How often do you share a laugh on your blog?
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Acceptance is somewhat related to humor, actually – humor can be a gentle way to share our human-ness, and when we do that, remind our readers that everybody screws up once in a while and we’re all still okay.
The crafty internet can become rather ruthlessly comparison-and-jealousy-inducing, so you can often engage your readers’ emotions simply by reminding them that wherever they are right now is perfectly great. Tara, for example, is really good at giving you permission to be who you are, right now. We ALL need that gentle pat on the back, and when it’s given, we love (and feel connected to) the giver.
Image by yvestown, of whom I’m quite jealous, via Flickr
We love beautiful “lifestyle” blogs because they give us the hope that someday, we can be that creative, joyful, and consistently well-lit. And we get emotionally attached to the creators of aspirational blogs because they represent something we wish we had.
Obviously, aspiration is a huge source of emotional connection in craft blogging. But interestingly, it’s also a bit of a double-edged sword – we gravitate to what lifts us out of the mundane parts of our lives, but then we also get a bit fatigued with looking at perfectly manicured lives on the internet.
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…I think it’s also double-edged because making an aspirational blog requires an investment in professionalism – great photography skills, a certain scented and charming style of writing, and some web design flourishes. If you’re still growing these skills, your blog may not be quite as aspirational as you want, but at least you’re aspiring to be aspirational!
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This is a tricky emotional note to hit, because our vulnerable spots are often tied to negative aspects of our lives, and negativity generally can’t be a regular visitor to a craft blog that has business goals.
Even so, when we share occasional vulnerable moments, I think it really deepens that blogger-reader relationship. Have you ever gone a long spell with no (or very few) comments on your blog? And then have you had a day when you had to report something big and out-of-the-ordinary, like a death in the family, or the stress of moving to a new city? Did you suddenly have commenters coming out of the woodwork to offer support?
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…The rest of the time, many of us share day-to-day blog content that’s decidedly less vulnerable, and our readers will rely more on one-click forms of support, such as Like buttons and retweets.
So, do you make up fresh drama to report every week to get more comments? Dude, no. But it might be worth looking at your successes and failures, and thinking about how your blog readers might feel a kinship with some of them.
How do you know you’ve made an emotional connection?
I suspect that comments, as scarce as they’ve become in blogging, are still the best barometer of how well a blog post has connected emotionally with your readers. When I see one of my posts get Likes and retweets, I know people dug the information, but perhaps weren’t all that moved. When I see a post get lots of comments, I know I’ve made an emotional connection.
I don’t even know that every post can or should be emotional in nature. In the grand scheme, if you grab at your readers’ heart-strings too much, they’ll tend to get tired of it just like they tire of anything repetitive. As with so many things about blogging, it’s all a balance of different angles, approaches, and ideas.
So let’s talk: What forms of emotion do you incorporate in your blog? How do your readers respond?
…And if you want some help figuring out how to make more emotional connections with your readers, register for my next session of Monetize Your Craft Blog!