I was in the grocery store the other day watching people in front of me edge their way toward the cashier. As each person presented their handful of items to the clerk in the express lane, the clerk would offer a short and friendly personal greeting. ‘How are you today’, ‘That’s a lovely sweater you’re wearing’, ‘The bananas look good, don’t they?’. Each time a person approached her, she renewed her smile and made it sound fresh.
I was impressed. I actually thought ‘certainly she can’t keep this up all day’, but then I realized that yes, she probably could; there is no shortage of things to say when you personalize, and no limit to the amount of interest you can generate when you add a personal touch.
Imagine you were standing there in line in front of me, and as you approached the clerk she paid you a compliment on the color of your shirt. You would instantly feel a personal bond and would be compelled to engage with her, perhaps thanking her for the compliment, or maybe telling her a short story about where you found it, or that it is also your spouse’s favorite, or that all your shirts are this color because you love it.
And so it goes for blogging. Adding a personal touch to your posts will not only help you bring interest and life to your stories, but it will help people identify with you on a more personal level, and will compel them to engage with you.
Creative writing is a challenge for most of us, but retelling a story can come quite naturally. I find that one of the best ways to blog is to simply retell a story in my own words. Personalize it, and give it my own personal perspective. When you find a story that is worth passing along, don’t simply retell the story word for word; reinvent the story from your own perspective. Give new insight, posit new theories, and offer extending ideas.
An easy way to do this is to insert yourself into the story. As I did in my opening story; you probably envisioned me standing in a grocery store line waiting for my turn, and probably have a mental image of what the clerk might have looked like. By telling you about my place in the story, you became connected and your mind engaged. At least I hope so…
The people around you are most interested in hearing what you think about a story, not necessarily in the story itself. It’s your personalization that really brings it home for your audience. The next time you post content to your blog, or to a social network like Facebook or Twitter, take care to add yourself to the story and watch how others get engaged with you.
Can you believe I record these things? Give it a listen and tell me what you think: