The above is exactly what you need to be asking yourself whenever you write a post – if you’re trying to build an audience online. Or to be more precise, anticipate this question from your readers. It’s an acronym for:

“What the f*ck, what’s in this for me?”

Writing about your average experiences or something mundane about your day is called a journal. Actually there’s about a million of these and they’re called Live Journal accounts – and nobody cares about any of them outside of each writer’s few close friends.

It’s easy to fall into this line of thinking: your life is important to you, therefore anything that happens is important to the outside world. I’ve fallen into this trap myself. Crap, see there it goes again. Ok, let me rephrase this:

Avoid using the word “I” in your posts. If something is important enough to be said, you can state it as a generality. Not only will it help you avoid the mundane, but it will also carry more weight and assumed authority, assuming you have any to begin with.

Bryan Clark once wrote that “you” and “because” are the most important words in the English dictionary. He’s right. This relates to writing and specifically writing to build up an audience.

What does it take to build an audience online with your blog? Thousands of new blogs and websites come out each day and most end up garnering extremely small audiences.

You Need to Be Remarkable, Controversial, or Already Well Known.

If you’re not a Hilton and you don’t want to piss off tons of people by being a Calacanis, you’re left with being remarkable. One of the best ways to be remarkable is to consistently help your audience. Whether it’s teaching new information, compiling resources, giving advice, or making your audience laugh, you need to be remarkable if your efforts online are to be anything other than a playful exercise.

So before you start out a new project or put out a new post, just remember this little acronym: WTF, WITFM. The better and more realistic the answer, the better off you will be.

And if you haven’t yet, subscribe to Copyblogger – Brian Clark’s insight into writing and building audiences is consistently remarkable.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

dan May 20, 2008 at 12:20 pm

actually you should ask WITFM ALL the time in life. “every successful and powerful man stops to ask himself this question… what’s in it for me? ” best line ever from movie REVOLVER, watch it if you havent. this not only applies to a post but to all of life. even if your intentions are good and not for money, there is still a personal gain that you need to supply.

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Raiha July 8, 2008 at 9:30 am

Thanks for such an interesting post- it really puts things into perspective. It’s easy to become too self obsessed when blogging and to forget why you started in the first place (besides the ego stroking). So i will endeavor think to use “you” and “because” more often in life and try and stop being so self centered, in hope of gaining more of an audience :-)

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