Ever heard of the saying “Birds of the same feather flock together?”
It’s basically saying we always want to hang around people who are like-minded and share the same ideas as us, because we can resonate and connect well with one another.
But many bloggers don’t take advantage of this powerful social pheonomenon, and wonder why nodody hangs around their blog.
It won’t happen to you though, because here you are going to see why your ideas can be so powerful in attracting people to you and your blog.
First, let’s define what ideas are.
Ideas are like our individual personal philosophies – our own opinions, views and beliefs. Our life experiences and relationships have left memories and impressions in our mind, which shape our own respective world-views.
As the late Victor Schwab would put it, “our mind is a montage of hasty impressions, fuzzy generalities, bromidic wall-motto sentiments, self-justifications and sentimentalities.”
For example, my idea of branded goods is “Buying branded goods is sometimes a waste of money”. Now this is my own opinion or viewpoint.
And you have your own opinions and viewpoints. Maybe you believe, “Buying branded goods is always worth the money.” Then we disagree with each other, and you probably dislike me a little now. But if your opinion is the same as mind, then we appear to be “like-minded”, and you are pleased with me.
Here comes an important point
When we search for information, we all tend to get it from people whom we like to refer to as trusted experts.
But we all have a human tendency to trust people who we tend to like first. And we tend to like those who are like-minded as us, whose personal philosophies are aligned with ours, whose ideas or world-views coincide with ours.
Our trust is based on deep-seated feelings which comes from associating with people whose ideas we already resonate and connect well with.
Michael Masterson, the man behind the success of the $300million info-publishing empire, Agora Inc, says it this way –
“We want to understand how to get through life in a way that is meaningful to us. We all have our ideas of how the world should be – a world-view.
Whatever kind of information product we buy, we want that to co-incide somehow with our view of the world.
And if you find a person out there, that’s explaining to you how the world works and should work according to your view, you will stick with him forever.”
The same applies to blog readers. People visit blogs regularly because they trust the blogger’s advice and opinions. The reason they trust and like the blogger is because they can connect well with his/her ideas, opinions, views or beliefs. And the reason they can connect well is because?
They share the same ideas, opinions, views or beliefs!
Let’s look at an example to better illustrate it. I’m a reader of John Chow’s blog and follow John on twitter. He also has 49,000 RSS subscribers who are probably regular readers like me.
John has a belief that everyone should blog about something they are passionate about. So why do you think 49,000 of us read John’s blog regularly? Because, in the first place, we and him are like-minded and share the same ideas!
All of us regular readers have already shared the same belief, or we have been influenced and are now convinced by John’s idea that “everyone should blog about something they are passionate about”. That’s why we feel connected to him, trust him and become his regular readers.
On the other hand, people who think that his idea is nonsense will not return to his blog again. Or maybe they will return to flame him. But I digress.
Now here’s something interesting about us humans…
If you were to ask people why they visit so-and-so’s blog, they will probably say it in more logical terms, “Oh because the blog has great information”. They will never say “Oh because I feel connected with the blogger and his/her ideas”. Never!
But as all experienced marketers would know, we humans are irrational and emotional beings. We may not realize it, but we visit blogs based on reasons that are more subjective than we think – whether we agree to the blogger’s ideas, opinions, views and beliefs. So, armed with this information, here are some things you can start doing immediately:
1. Share your ideas!
Shoot your opinions. Give your views. State your beliefs. Whenever you give information, include your ideas about your topic. Give opinions like “SEO blogging is useless, you are better off concentrating on delivering value”. Then back it up with some of your own or other people’s experiences. These strongly-opinionated posts can become your pillar articles (as termed by Yaro Starak).
You can also do it like what Darren Rowse at problogger suggests – write a link post by sharing your ideas and opinions about what other bloggers have posted.
2. Tell little stories about yourself
If you observe the way top bloggers write, you notice they always share little tidbits or stories about themselves and their ideas. I suggest you do the same – whenever you want to write an article, consider giving a little story about an experience you had, and the opinions and views you got from it.
People love to read stories, and there’s only one you in this world, so don’t deprive them of yours!
3. Don’t apologize when people disagree with you
A few people will disagree with you and dislike you in the process. In fact, if you start to have negative comments, do what John Chow says – celebrate! Because this means you are doing it right.
It’s no big deal to have negative comments. It’s just that their ideas are different from yours. As long as you are respectful of their opinions and you stay away from sensitive topics like religion and politics, you’ll be fine.
The worst thing to do is to be double-minded and not make a stand for what you believe. Consistency is critical to building trust with your readers, but if you always waver with your opinions, they can’t trust you.
There will be a bunch of people who share similar views as you. These are the people who will feel connected to you and stick with you, and these are the ones you want to focus your attention on.
All these may sound simple and even trivial, but don’t underestimate the underlying psychological force at work in your readers’ minds.
So, what are your ideas on this?
Charles Yang writes for Big Idea Blogger on the lesser known but critical factors behind successful blogging. He currently does internet-marketing for an offline business.