Blog Writing

Blogging with rapport: more than words

Rapport is king when it comes to blogging.  We often know it when we feel it (see it, hear it) as a reader, but what can you do as a blog writer and owner to create rapport and build trust in your own site?

Greg Balanko-Dickson (guest writing at Lorelle on WordPress) has some useful pointers on how to build trust and rapport.  They include:

  • Writing for your reader: focus on what’s of value to them rather than proving your expertise
  • Writing with sincerity: a useful reminder that people have “well developed crap detectors”.  They’re looking for the genuine article.
  • Writing something of value: offer something of value to your readers and trust will build up over time
  • Writing over time: relationships aren’t instant - it’s something you build up over time (which is why blogging is such a great medium for trust and rapport).  I’d put rapport and trust the other way round (rapport can be immediate, trust takes time) but his point is well made
  • Writing with commitment: trust takes time, effort, patience, consideration and work.  But it’s worth it.

Writing with rapport requires you to put yourself into the equation.  It’s about being real, sincere, competent, honest, congruent and last but not least: being there.

As a writer I guess it’s inevitable I focus on the words we use and choose to create rapport, but Chris Garrett reminds us that there are lots of other ingredients in a blog that can create - or break - rapport.  It’s a bit like thinking about the unspoken parts of a conversation (eye contact, body language and so on).  And a lot of that comes down to visual impact.

Chris has a lot of useful suggestions on things to think about when you’re ‘auditing’ your blog for first impressions including:

  • Welcome signs
  • Information on the author
  • Design appeal
  • Use of photographs
  • Colour scheme

All with a view to creating those same ‘signals’ that you are someone your reader can trust, creating an overall impression of a site that is friendly, trustworthy, welcoming and approachable.

This doesn’t mean you have to be all things to all people.  If you take it too far your site will become bland and uninteresting.  You’ll also stop being yourself (being real, being sincere) - the key to rapport.

There’s no right answer - it’s more a question of making sure your ‘externals’ - the words, the images, the colour, the design - line up with what you want to say, the message that comes from inside.  As Chris says, that’s about being congruent.  Get that right and your voice will flow through - and your readers will keep coming back for more.

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2 Responses to “Blogging with rapport: more than words”

  1. On March 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm Matt Hayward responded with... #

    Some good points are listed here in regards to rapport.

    As a salesman by trade, rapport is something that I am well versed in creating, though not necessarily in the written form. The point which strikes home to me the most is the first made in Greg’s: Don’t try to prove expertise, but let the reader (listener, in my experience with sales) know what’s important to them.

    It’s all very self-gratifying to reel off everything you know about a product (or in this application, a subject) but the customer (reader) doesn’t particularly, in general, care. They want to know, going back to the sales metaphor, how a product will benefit them.

    Again, another good post. Thank you Joanna.

  2. On March 19, 2009 at 8:07 am Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Matt, rapport is another issue that won’t go away for me… some posts on this coming up next week in fact.


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