Blogging Strategies: Being Present and Personable.

*Disclaimer: All of my thoughts and advice are merely things I have personally learned from blogging and strategies that I’ve used to get to this point.

Build Your Food Blog Series: Being Present & Personable on your Blog

Welcome back to my Blogging Series!

This post is coming 1 week late because I had to update my website server and my blog was down for a couple days. Stressful!

In my How to Start a Food Blog post, I explained that I use Blue Host as the hosting server for my website.  Just last week, I had to upgrade to Servint.  A bittersweet notion, indeed, since a server upgrade means your website is doing well and your current server cannot handle the blog size and traffic.  The bitter part of it?  The process.  It was a bit of a headache – but that is expected with a website server migration.  However, thanks to the 24/7 customer support at Servint, the process was manageable and I felt supported and guided the entire time. Blue Host is a wonderful (and affordable!) server as your blog starts up, but at a certain point you may need an upgrade and I highly recommend Servint.

Moving along…

 

Being Present & Personable on Your Blog

Before I pressed publish for the first time on Sally’s Baking Addiction in December 2011, I followed several recipe blogs. Drawing inspiration and baking ideas from them, admiring their photography, their writing, and their courage to put themselves out there.  I was the silent lurker, bouncing from blog to blog in my Google Reader.  Reading recipe blogs for baking inspiration is how I would unwind at the end of the day.

I remember vividly one afternoon last year, spotting a recipe I adored and emailing the blogger with a few recipe questions, while also commending their recipe and photography.  This blogger was my idol!  I hoped to make the cake on their blog for a work party that weekend.  Days went by… then weeks went by. Nothing. Figuring that my email may have gotten lost, I emailed the blogger again. Nothing. I felt ignored and disheartened. Is there really a person behind that blog? A robot? As a reader, am I too inferior for my questions to be answered?

When I made the decision to start Sally’s Baking Addiction, my number one priority… the most important thing that I would do… is to be present and personable with my readers. That’s pretty major. I’m not a robot.

I’m a painfully relatable person, who makes mistakes, works a 9-5 job, and has a real life. I forget about cookies in the oven, I hate ironing my shirts, my singing voice hurts ears, and I love sprinkles. (duh)

My readers are the reason for my blog and they attribute to its growth, so it is important to me that they feel invited and comfortable visiting my website. It is my readers who make it all possible, and as the blog’s author, I feel it is my duty to be available. Responding to emails, comments, tweets, and messages is a priority for me when I am not at my full time job or with my family.

Trust me, I still get just as excited when I see a new comment pop up as I did back when I had 10 blog subscribers and the only comments I got were from my mom – through a text message.

And what’s more?

When I hear that you had success with one of my recipes, I feel my own success. 

 

It is my “blogging philosophy” to connect with my readers and here are a few ways how I do it:

(As always, these are things that have worked for me and may not fit your blogging style.)

 

1) Be yourself!  I inject my real personality on my blog. I write exactly how I talk.  It took some time to get completely comfortable with it, but I try to write as if I were talking to a friend in real life.  What are your lovable traits and individual quirks? Show them on your blog and make your readers feel as if they really know you. Of course, it is not in everyone’s blogging style to get personal and there are some things I am extra cautious about when mentioning my home, my family, and my friends.

People are curious by nature and by allowing my readers to get a glimpse of the author behind the blog, I feel as though we can all really connect. Keeping in mind that I publish a food blog, the main content on my blog is focused on food and not my personal life. See more about Sally. And, if you’re incredibly bored, my Bites of Real Life Series.

 

2) Tell your readers that you love them… regularly. Honest to goodness, I love you. More giveaways ahead.

 

3) Be dependable and consistent.  You want your readers to count on you. Being on a regimented blogging schedule is important for my time management and for loyal readership.  I typically post 4-5 times per week, with an occasional personal post, recipe-round up post, or giveaway.

I believe that consistency is more important than frequency. My readers can depend on a certain number of posts per week and that is what matters most.

 

4) It’s ok to embarrass yourself!  On my website, over the past year, I’ve published typos, misspelled words, and shared my burnt muffin stories. I make mistakes too.

 

5) Mingle! If you have the time, comment on other blogs and put yourself out there. Comments are a wonderful way to stir discussions. Once I began to introduce myself to other bloggers, I noticed they visited my blog in return and conversations began. Get to know one another!  Don’t hide behind your blog in hopes that one day you will be noticed. If time allows, leave valuable and heartwarming comments. Share a story relating to the material you read. But don’t overdo it – I feel that generic commenting “just to comment”  is pointless.  And it’s noticed.

 

6) Answer comments.  Of course, this will not work for everyone’s schedules, full time jobs, and family lives, but if a reader has a question, I try to respond before I write my next blog post. Feeling ignored stinks. I’ve been ignored on the other side of a blog, and it is not fun.

 

7) Look at your blog through someone else’s eyes. Ask yourself, “am I being a good resource?  Will this make sense in someone else’s mind?”  I admit, sometimes I begin to write a post and then take a step back.  Will this make sense to my readers?  I know for me, I try to share recipes and methods that are approachable, because not everyone knows what spelt flour is or has time to make a 6 tier cake.

 

8) Social Media!  Instagram, facebook, and twitter are all extensions of your personality – use them to both market your blog AND share your real life with readers.  Of course, you don’t want to appear “salesy” or bombard your readers with updates every 5 seconds.

 

 

With so many new food blogs popping up every day, it’s important to create your own blogging identity and stick to it. What are your goals? Dreams? What do you love the most?

Be available to your readers – even if it’s a simple “thank you for reading.” Knowing a real person is on the other side of the computer screen helps them feel connected.

Being genuine goes a long way. Stand out from other bloggers by being yourself.  Share unique things about you that make you different from the rest (I am seasonally challenged and take a lot of pictures of dogs).

Sally & Jude

 

I will never forget an email I received about a month ago from a reader who said that she never comments on blogs or contacts bloggers.   She had a question about a recipe and ended the email thanking me for my approachable recipes and relatable personality.  She said, It just feels like I know you.  My goal with each and every post.

Let’s chat. 

Q: How do you feel about getting personal on your blog?

Q: What is your #1 priority on your blog?

 

More posts about blogging:

 

   

164 Responses to “Blogging Strategies: Being Present and Personable.”

  1. #
    61
    Lisaposted January 11, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Sally, thanks so much for sharing your blogging tips! I just started my food blog and am a little overwhelmed, so it really helps to hear what has worked for successful bloggers like you. And your recipes look so good..I’m dying for one of those cake batter cookies!!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 11th, 2013 at 6:30 am

      Hi Lisa! What a lovely thing to read firs thing in the morning – thank you so much! I’m glad these posts are helpful. I can’t wait to check out your blog. If you bake those cake batter cookies, let me know how you like them :)

      Reply

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    Lisaposted January 13, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Hi Sally, thank you so much for all of your advice about starting a food blog. I’m just starting out and I love your tips and how honest you are in sharing your experiences. I feel so encouraged!

    Best Wishes :-)

    Lisa

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 14th, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Lisa, I am so glad. Thank you SO much and congrats on starting your own blog! It’s very exciting.

      Reply

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    Sarahposted February 24, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Sally ! This article, I can’t find words but : it’s YOU.
    A huge amount of sweetness, generosity and attention. It’s true that famous bloggers in general neglect their readers because they probably think they are too famous to take time to answer them.. You never do that and I admire you. You combined a full time job, a successful blog, a sweet life and you find time for your readers.
    Please stay the same, you’re perfect !

    xx

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 24th, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Thank you again Sarah!! For another sweet comment. :) My readers MAKE my blog so how can I not reach out to them? They are the most important part! Thank YOU for reading!!!

      Reply

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    Gracieposted March 6, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I love your blog! Your recipes, photos and sharing ability are amazing. It’s true. I totally feel like you’re actually talking to me. Now I’m so excited to really start my blog. More power to you Sally!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on March 6th, 2013 at 10:49 am

      Thanks Gracie! How sweet of you to say hi. I’m so glad you enjoy my website and find it personable!

      Reply

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    Olena @ iFOODreal.composted May 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Hi Sally!
    First of all, congratulations on your success within a year. Being in a food blogging industry, I understand how much hard work it takes to have what you have. You truly have to love it in order to do it and I can tell you do! Good for you!
    #2, the same thing happened to me with being ignored. Exactly the same experience, I wonder if it’s the same blog we are talking about?!:) I found a very inspiring and related to my situation recipe/blog post on this quite popular food blog. I posted a comment, and didn’t see it published for 2 days but newer than mine comments were published. I thought odd. Then I posted a comment on another blog post of hers, nothing weird or odd, just like you asking a question and sharing my experience. The same thing happened with the 2nd comment.
    So, I finally got a point I was being ignored. I got it! Don’t worry, I won’t be back. I got it, you don’t want me here. Fine.:)
    So, you are right. Connecting with your audience is the key. And I just installed the Comment Notification Plugin. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on May 20th, 2013 at 8:10 am

      Hi Olena! Thanks so much for the sweet comment – it truly made my morning. I have a feeling we contacted the same blogger! What a disappointment it was for me. And you, I’m sure. I felt very let down. I promised to always be available for my readers. Especially if they are praising my recipe or asking a question. And yes – the comment notification plug-in is essential!

      Reply

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    Kamiposted June 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Sally, THANK YOU for all the great blogging tips! They have been very useful. I’m a beginner blogger and photographer who decided to start a healthy living site… don’t worry, I don’t discriminate against baked goods. I want to improve my food photos and have enjoyed your beautiful photos. I’ve already installed the plug-ins you recommended. Please check out my site when you have a sec, and I would love any honest, brutal feedback! My feelings aren’t easily hurt. =-) Thank you again for all the tips!

    Reply

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    Emmaposted June 10, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Hi Sally, I honestly can’t thank you enough for doing this series. I’m coming up to my seventh month on the baking blogosphere and seeing your success in such a short space of time has really inspired me to take my own blog to then next level.

    I think that being personal on your blog is almost as important as the food. There are thousands of similar blogs out there and it is such a competitive place so the only way of differentiating yours from them is by letting your personality shine through and making it your own. But then there’s always a limit, as you said, and I think it’s important to be selective about what you share. I don’t mean that in the sense of only telling people about your good attributes and portraying yourself as a human being, I mean that it’s important to keep reminding yourself that anyone from anywhere in the world can read your blog. I try to imagine that my blog is an un-privated Facebook account and to only share what I want strangers to know about myself.

    For me, my number one priority is to encourage others to be as creative as possible and to not be afraid of making mistakes in the process. I also think its important to make my recipes different to what’s already out there and give readers a reason to bake my recipe instead of someone else’s (in the nicest way possible, I did say it’s a competitive world out there!)

    Anyway, thank you again for sharing your tips. The Blogosphere needs more honest people like you! x

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on June 11th, 2013 at 7:01 am

      Emma, thank you so much for the kind commend! And you have it all right – just be honest and let your creativity shine. I make mistakes all of the time and am not afraid to admit it. We are all hman, after all. Good luck with your blog and stay passionate!

      Reply

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    Jen Cposted August 29, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    I just wanted to comment and say how THANKFUL i am that you are so present and active on your blog! I have also left comments/emails to other bloggers and was disappointed to never get a response. Whereas you respond so lightning fast that it makes me feel like we are friends. :) I love reading your blog, getting your tips, and feeling like it’s a real conversation. I’ve been considering starting a blog for a while, and i really appreciate all the tips you give. Thanks again for the wonderful recipes, your great energy, and your responsiveness! :)

    Reply

    • Jen Creplied on August 29th, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      OH and i’m so happy to have found someone who shares my CRAZY OUT OF CONTROL obsession with chocolate and peanut butter (especially honey roasted)!!!

      Reply

      • Sallyreplied on August 29th, 2013 at 7:20 pm

        Hi Jen! Thank you so much for the kind comments. I am so happy that my “being present” on my blog is noticed so much. That really is my first priority. I really enjoy talking to my readers. It makes the job fun! And honey roasted PB is AMAAAAZING. ;) Thanks for saying hi!

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    Karen | 2teaspoons.composted October 16, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Hi Sally!

    I recently started food blogging and found your fabulous site a few days ago. Thank you for all your advice and tips!

    I really appreciate the advice on “being present and personable”. When I’m blogging it can be tempting to put all of my efforts into trying to write new posts and forget to take time to connect and mingle with followers and fellow bloggers. Thank you for reminding all of us how important connecting is! That’s why we’re blogging after all :-)

    Thanks!
    Karen

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on October 16th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Exactly! I feel as though connecting with my readers has been part of why my blog was grown like it has the past 2 years. And it’s easy to forget to connect and just sort of “go through the actions” and write blog posts without being very heartfelt. You know what I mean? Anyway, happy this helped you Karen!

      Reply

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    Mom's Dishposted November 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Hi Sally, Thank you for sharing your tips. I am still trying to figure out how to sound the same as in real life, I was actually think about it for a while before I even read what you said.
    I have this huge personality and bunch of friends :) But sometimes its scary to put it on paper(or a blog in this case) :)

    Good luck to you!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on November 10th, 2013 at 10:58 am

      Just write whatever comes to you. Whatever is easiest. Sometimes I say things out loud and then just write them down. So I am literally writing what I say. I hope that makes sense! I know it’s hard, but since you have a huge wonderful personality – you should share it on your blog!

      Reply

      • Mom's Dishreplied on November 10th, 2013 at 12:43 pm

        I like the idea of saying it at loud. Sometimes I think, how do I describe this to my husband? Or what did he say about it? Another challenge is that English is my second language and it harder to express you self because sometimes I still think in Russian, not sure if you understand what I mean lol :) Thank you for your awesomenesssss!!!!

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    Karen @ The Food Charlatanposted November 11, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Whenever I am trying to perfect a cookie recipe and I get frustrated and start throwing yet another batch of reject dough at the walls, there is a little light in the back of my head that goes off: “Sally knows how to do this.” I come, and you give. Every time. Thanks for being such a great blogger Sally! We’ve noticed. I started my blog at almost exactly the same time as you, and I think we’ve both come a long way…but you’ve come a lot further, lol! Thanks again for all the great advice and consistency.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on November 11th, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Karen, you are so kind. Thank you so much for this sweet comment. It truly made my evening! I’m so glad that you find my blog helpful in that sense. Yes, I have had many baking failures too. It’s so frustrating but if we don’t have failures, how will we learn? Anyway, thank you so much for reading. I really, really appreciate this comment!

      Reply

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    Corinaposted December 18, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Thanks for the tips, Sally. They were really helpful :)
    Before starting my baking blog I followed all of your posts, reading every single bit and learning how to be outgoing and friendly. Bloggers should make their readers feel like they were friends.
    I have to admit, that everything I know about food blogging…I learned from you, and still do :D
    Thanks again, Sally. Keep up the great work.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 18th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      Thank you Corina, what a sweet comment. Made my day. And yes, we certainly are friends.

      Reply

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    Elizabethposted January 21, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    I had considered starting a food blog for two years and thankfully when I got serious about it I found this series from you. I find myself coming back to it quite often and learning something new each time. One thing I struggle with its adding bits of my personal life. I am definitely overly cautious about sharing information but I worry about coming off as rigid or worse, fake. Was there anything that helped you or does it just take time?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 22nd, 2014 at 10:34 am

      It just takes time to get comfortable with it, Elizabeth. I certainly don’t share it all, but I think readers enjoy relating to their favorite bloggers. Overtime, you’ll begin to feel more confident with it. I wouldn’t ever think you were fake!

      Reply

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    Isadoraposted January 22, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Sally! I just stumbled onto your blog and have been reading all of your tips for new bloggers and how to make your blog successful. I just started a food blog about a month ago and it definitely feels overwhelming and stressful at times, and it is really hard not to compare myself to successful bloggers who have been at it for years! I really love all of your advice and I plan on taking it to heart and not being so hard on myself, especially only after one month! Your advice is very helpful, thanks for sharing!!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 22nd, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      I’m happy to hear this is helpful for you Isadora. It takes time, so just have patience, stay passionate, and never compare!

      Reply

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    Kerry @ Kerry Cooksposted February 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I’m just now reading your blogging strategies posts after following your blog for a while Sally, but I LOVE your whole approach to blogging. I completely agree that it should be all about the readers and I love that you clearly put your readers first. Thanks for writing such a great blog!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 5th, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      Thanks so much Kerry!

      Reply

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    Shrutiposted March 17, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    HI sally…..such beautiful and inspirational lines…. Hope you enjoy reading my blog tooo….Just started recently…

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on March 17th, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Congrats on your blog!

      Reply

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    Rachel Hposted March 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Hey Sally! Your about blog posts are really helping me learn the ropes of blogging! I just started my blog a couple of weeks ago and it is SO intimidating. I like how you break each step down and it is very truthful since you when through the process.
    Thanks for sharing!
    -Rachel

    Reply

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    Ann Templeton Moninposted May 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Thank you so much Sally for offering tips and advice for beginner bloggers.

    Reply

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    Linnaeaposted June 10, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Thanks so much for this helpful post, Sally! I’ve been reading your posts on food blogging for the past hour and have definitely found a bunch of useful info (not to mention that your evilly amazing pictures distract me at every turn and I now have about ten windows open, each one containing a recipe that I clicked on while reading your posts).
    I LOVE that you want to be “there” for your readers! I’ve commented on so many blogs, sometimes desperate for help with a recipe that didn’t work, other times a raving fan, and it is SO disappointing to be completely ignored.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on June 10th, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      Thanks Linnaea! I appreciate the kind words. So happy you are finding these posts helpful to you! Blogging is a ton of work, but I find that connecting with readers is the most important part of the job.

      Reply

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    Minaposted June 11, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I absolutely loved this post. Thanks for being such a great inspiration! :)

    Reply

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    JiaWoeiposted June 26, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Just started a blog to fill my time during the holidays but I get these really great feelings when typing out my experiences and my passion.
    Have been ignored quite often when even trying to make a conversation with somebody I admired, so this is very very relatable =)
    I’m not a baker nor an enthusiast in making pastries. But I will be coming here often. A really pleasant read, it really feels like we’re talking. =)
    Thanks a bunch =)
    Jwoei.

    Reply

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    Milaposted July 12, 2014 at 12:20 am

    Sally… I have read this over and over 3 times now. I so love this series :) and am so uber impressed by your growth! What you have accomplished is pretty insane…and I commend you. I feel your pain :) I too commented and emailed and hell I even featured her recipe on my blog…and she never wrote back or even commented… But then there are other bloggers like you for instance who always comment back. You deserve all your success and I just hope I can have a taste of what you have :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 13th, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Thank you for all the kind words Mila! I truly appreciate it, so much. Just keep working hard! Hard work pays off.

      Reply

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