The ancient world understood the secret to building a large audience of loyal readers.
This concept is found in various forms in documents going back as far as 4000 years. It is written in laws and philosophical texts. Buddha, Confucius, and Jesus all taught it to their followers.
The most important thing you must do if you want to be an influential blogger is contained in these ancient teachings.
Call it Karma, Reciprocity or the Golden Rule.
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
You will never build a loyal audience of raving fans if you miss this core principle. And this doesn’t apply only to blogging. It is central to every form of marketing. If you can’t serve the needs of your target audience, you’ve got nothing to sell.
People are only interested in your blog for the solutions you provide.
Yes, personality is important. People gravitate to people who share similar interests and ideas.
But the primary question your audience is asking is “What’s in it for me?”
If you can’t answer that question all the personality in the world won’t save you. People will read your blog for entertainment and to socialize, but they wont buy from you and they won’t include you in their network of influence.
So how do you learn to serve the needs of your audience?
It starts with having an intimate understanding of who your perfect reader is.
This is where many blogs fail. If you go in thinking you need to please everyone you will write generic crap that resonates with no one.
The best way to overcome this is to imagine one person and write for him only. What are his problems? Struggles? Fears? Doubts? Dreams?
Give him a name, a family, and a job. Figure out exactly what his most pressing problems are, and write to solve those problems.
Now, I’m not saying to charge in blindly. You still need to do market research. Go to forums and blogs. Look at Yahoo! Answers. Figure out what your target audience spends their time talking about and how they say it. And give your imaginary person these same problems.
For instance, my imaginary person for this blog is…me.
Yep, that’s right, I’m my own imaginary friend. Kind of creepy isn’t it?
But here’s the thing. I’m a writer, blogger, and internet marketer. This blog is for people just like me. People who dream of making a living from writing. Freelance writers, bloggers, self publishers. It doesn’t matter. If you are a writer, or dream of being one, this blog is built for you.
And I understand the kinds of dreams, fears, and struggles that writers face, especially when first getting started.
So when I write, I ask myself what I need most or what has helped me the most in the past, and try to find the best answers to those problems.
This might not work for you. You might not be in your own target audience. That’s ok. Just find someone.
And treat him the way you want to be treated. Solve his problems.