I subscribe to dozens of blogs. Some of them I skim through and others are must-reads.
But the ones I read most frequently have one thing in common.
These bloggers don’t just ace their content, take my breath away and make me think in different ways.
They let me see who they really are.
They are not afraid to say how they feel, to shake me up (sometimes) and to give me advice from the heart.
Bloggers who go ‘off-topic’
Bloggers are always told to stay in their niche, to stay on topic and on message. And to a point, that’s good advice.
Except that when my favorite bloggers stray from their topic, even write an emotional post, that is precisely when I connect with them—and on a much deeper level. Because they have let me inside.
Take for instance, my friend Danny Brown. (If you don’t know Danny, he’s an award-winning marketer and blogger. You’ll find his stuff at dannybrown.me.
Danny is known for not staying ‘on-topic’ and he does a beautiful job of it. A few years back, he wrote a post called You Don’t Have to Live to Die. In it, he told a poignant story of how he tried to end his own life at the tender age of 19.
He wrote from the heart, not so much to vent his feelings as to give hope to others. Though it was an emotional post, it also showed his humanness and a desire to not only tell us what he learned, but encourage others who might right now be in the same desperate situation he was.
And the response from his readers was overwhelmingly positive.
Tips for Off-topic Blogging
On my author blog, I tend to jump out of my writing niche from time to time, too. I have found that my readers seem to like getting to know another side of me . Here is what I have learned about writing this kind of post:
Consider announcing your topic switch up front.
You don’t have to do this, as I did in my post about the United Nations Global Goals, but it gives readers who signed up for your blog specifically for the content the chance to decide whether they want to hang around for this particular post:
Write from the heart.
This is your chance to tell your readers how you feel about a topic or issue. There is no right or wrong here. It is simply how you feel. In a post on the Pure Blogging site, What Price the Life of One Child?, I had something on my mind: the vulnerability of children caught in the middle of war and famine—and their parents who as refugees are faced with impossible choices.It was a topic that I had personal experience with and a deep passion for.
Make it personal.
I turned my medical setback into a post about resiliency and how the experience helped me in my writing. It was my story and it was personal.
Tell us what you learned.
Sometimes where you are today in your business or life has a lot to do with where you have been. It can be fun for your readers if you talk about your journey and what you have learned.
BobWP did that a few years ago in his post, My Journey to BobWP and What I Have Learned , he took readers back to the very beginning, as we struggled to open our first business.
And he ended with a list of 8 things he learned, about business, about himself, about life.
Invite other views.
Whatever you write about, asking your readers their thoughts and feelings can open up a lively discussion and give others an opportunity to weigh in on your topic.
There you are: one blogger’s take on stretching yourself by going outside your niche every once in a while and inspiring us with your personal thoughts and feelings about a topic.