The importance of being yourself (or, every blogger’s biggest asset)


Think about it. What is the one thing that makes your blog unique?

(It’s you.)

Since JD Roth and Richard MacManus (a Kiwi, incidentally) fully stepped away from Get Rich Slowly and ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite) respectively, the difference has been noticeable. Both are watered down, and the former seems to be really pushing internal linking to old posts. Bleh.

Likewise, the first non-FB posts on Fabulously Broke were also a substantial departure from her distinctive style. As her pre-scheduled posts are now further and further apart, I can more or less tell simply from the headline whether a post is by her or not.

There’ve been a few times where I’ve been reading a post on a blog in my RSS reader and become increasingly baffled as I plow through it. I thought she was single? WHO is this person? Am I somehow on the wrong blog? I get to the end only to see that it was a guest post, with the disclaimer at the bottom rather than the start. Blogs with staff writers usually add their regular contributors as authors, and if you’re going to regularly host guest posts from different people, I like how Briana does it on her blog: posts not written by her are named as being by ‘How’s Married Life Guests’.

It’s not as obvious in journalism (bylines are really just there to feed our egos – that, and so punters know who to write in to with abuse, complaints … and the occasional compliment), but when it comes to blogging, voice is everything. I don’t know if I’m particularly sensitive to this – maybe you find that too, or maybe you don’t really take any note of such nuances. But if I’ve been reading your blog for awhile, odds are I’m pretty familiar with how you write, and any deviance is immediately noticeable.

17 thoughts on “The importance of being yourself (or, every blogger’s biggest asset)

  • Reply Leslie Beslie (@lintacious) November 14, 2012 at 12:48

    Putting the guest post disclaimer at the bottom of an article is incredibly deceitful and rude to the readers. The worst is when a guest post is by someone completely different than the author.

    I still remember a blog that I read because the person was not married and didn’t have a family – a situation I can relate to – then had a guest post about frugal family activities and life revelations of having a two year old. Regardless of the quality of content, it did not fit in with the blog and, I felt, could be alienating to readers.

    I just don’t understand it. I read YOUR blog because I like YOU.

  • Reply plantingourpennies November 14, 2012 at 13:26

    It’s not just with blogs. It sounds weird, but I’ve run into similar feelings with audio books. You associate one voice with an author, and then when you run into the SAME EXACT voice in a different context (even a completely different genre of book), it can be striking and feel very disingenuous.

  • Reply mochiandmacarons November 14, 2012 at 13:58

    Wow, that is… both disheartening (I feel bad!!) and flattering that you can tell just by the title who it is… Although I can’t say I’m not surprised. I have a big mouth with a very little filter.

  • Reply mochiandmacarons November 14, 2012 at 13:59

    Wait. I mean I can’t say I am surprised. That’s what I meant, not that effed up double-negative I blurted out via my fingers.

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  • Reply Caitlin November 15, 2012 at 03:13

    I fully agree with you on the sale of the blogs or new writers losing my interest. I used to regularly follow Fabulously Broke and DINKS but, now that they are under new ownership/management, I have deleted them from my RSS feed. I also find it ironic that the current author of DINKS is in a serious relationship but writes by herself, since the main draw of DINKS was getting to hear both sides of the couple on money issues.

    Just don’t you leave us by selling your blog 🙂

  • Reply femmefrugality November 15, 2012 at 05:43

    I put my guest post announcements at the beginning. Most of the time. Note to self: do this always. I had a fave blog that got sold….not my favorite as much anymore. The authorship inherently changes the content and tone.

  • Reply Budget & the Beach November 15, 2012 at 11:51

    I always put the disclaimer at the top, but not all bloggers do. I just did a guest post that didn’t have the disclaimer at the top and one commenter was upset. Of course I can’t control how the owner of the blog presents my stuff, I was still sorry a reader was upset. But I understand where you’re coming from. You read it in “their voice” until you reach a line which throws you off-like someone talking about their dog when I thought they just owned a cat. It totally changes the tone.

  • Reply Mo' Money Mo' Houses (@momoneymohouses) November 15, 2012 at 12:24

    I have definitely fallen into the trap where I read a whole post by a blogger thinking they wrote it, even though I sense something’s a bit different, only to find that it’s by a guest blogger at the bottom. I don’t like things that are sneaky and it’s not a great way to get your loyal readers to keep being loyal. That’s why I always note it at the top so people have the choice of skipping it because it’s not my voice.

  • Reply Manda November 15, 2012 at 13:15

    I used to read FB’s blog but the moment she announced she had sold it was the moment I clicked “unsubscribe” in my feed reader. It’s a shame, as I did really like her blog and thought her voice was fairly unique.

  • Reply Sajib November 15, 2012 at 22:36

    I think the number one reason they put the guest bloggers’ introduction in the end is search engines. As much as the readers, search engines pay special attention to the opening paragraph and take that as the SEO description (for WordPress.com, specifically. In .org, you can use plugins to put in your own meta tags and descriptions). I guess that’s why the introduction comes at the end.

  • Reply The Asian Pear November 16, 2012 at 12:49

    As I’ve mentioned on Twitter, I whole-heartedly agree with you. To be honest, I read blogs because I like the writer. This is why I don’t get Guest Writers. I understand it’s for when people are busy or away and they want to sustain readership but I must admit… Once I see “Guest Writer” I mark read on my GoogleReader and move on. I realize I’m on a more extreme end though. It’s just when I read blogs, I perceive them like how I treat my own blog. I use my blog as a medium for my own thoughts and views. Hence why I never have Guest Writers on mine. Anyone else would seem… Just odd to me.

  • Reply Veronica Hill November 16, 2012 at 21:21

    First of all – love the worm! Cute! It’s interesting that you associate a “voice” with a person. I see this with good bloggers too, they have their own persona, but I often wonder what mine is. Do I have one? Hmmm. You seem to know your stuff, I’m all ears if you have more tips 🙂

  • Reply MutantSupermodel November 17, 2012 at 04:46

    The only guest posts I have hosted are for my Single Parent Stories series and that is to promote a new image of single parent stories that I feel is important. That being said, I haven’t run one in a couple of weeks. It never occurred to me to not make it clear I didn’t write the piece. That’s weird. I ditched GRS ages ago. Oddly enough, I’ve been reading JD’s new blog since the beginning and I’m not loving it either. He sounds SO different now. Money changes everything?

  • Reply Cait Flanders (@blondeonabudget) November 18, 2012 at 13:18

    I see why guest posts can be helpful but, for the reason you wrote so simply (“It’s you”), I honestly ignore most of them. And I’ve stopped reading every blog that’s been sold or passed over to someone new. I read blogs because they are personal, not because they are sources of news. I care about the writers. I want to know what is new in their lives and see if any of their experiences can help me with my own. And I love when my favourite bloggers leave me inspired. Great post, lady.

  • Reply Louise November 19, 2012 at 09:56

    I completely agree with you. I read blogs for the ‘personal’ part of it, I can get information anywhere. Once they are sold or become just regular guest posts ( paid or unpaid) I’m not interested. I also agree that guest posts should be clearly marked as such at the start and if it’s a sponsored post it should so at the start too. I loved FB;s blog, read her from the start, but once she sold it I stopped reading.

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