Who Are You Talking To …

Have you ever noticed, that you talk to different people in different ways, and when it comes to trying to talk to them all at once, it can get confusing?

Think about it. The way you talk to the guys at the bar just isn’t how you talk to your grandma. And it isn’t even just what you say, it’s how you say it. The words you use, the language, how professional or casual you sound, and which generational or regional slang you use.

You might feel fine cheerfully telling a colleague at work that you still can’t really understand your email program.  But would you tell that to a client?

When you are writing an article, a blog post, or what-have-you, which is targeted at professionals in your field of interest, would you feel comfortable sending it to a family member? Or an old high-school friend who knows you don’t really sound that fancy in real life?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

I have noticed this sometimes becomes a problem when it comes to social networking, blogging, and the like.  Should I update my Facebook status with news about my cat, or with a link to the latest Internet Marketing product I’ve just fallen in love with?

Well most of my family members and childhood friends could give a hoot about the latest IM software and they might wonder why I am bringing it up. What, am I going to try to sell them a vacuum cleaner next?

Then again, I doubt that a fellow Internet Marketer wants to read a page full of information about how other marketers’ pets and gardens are doing … A bit of a personal touch here and there is fine, but that’s something else.

Now when you take a step back you can see that this might apply to a lot of things – MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, your blogs, what you write about, and how you write it. What pictures will you post? Is it going to be a professional, conservative, business-like shot? Or is it the time your Christmas tree fell on you with the dog following shortly after?

Have you ever wanted to create a personal blog, but then realized you didn’t exactly know how broad your audience should be? At first thought one might think, well, as broad as possible.

But lets face it. A lot of us feel uncomfortable speaking freely on business-related matters when we know family is listening in. For whatever reason. And vice versa.   I remember Dustin posted about this a while back and it really hit home because I’ve experienced it myself.

One way of getting around it when it seems to get too far out of hand is to simply use two profiles – for example, if you use a pen name online for business, and your real name for personal friends and family. The two overlap sometimes, but it can make it easier.  It also depends on the terms of service of whatever social network you are using.

You might also use different social networks to focus on different audiences. For example, your Twitter feed might concentrate on online contacts, while your time on Facebook would be dedicated to offline friends and relations. This way you also avoid repeating yourself to the same audiences on two different networks.

There is another aspect of this. Family is one audience, friends are another, fellow Internet Marketers are another, and clients or customers are actually a forth.

So who is your blog targeted toward? Are you:

  • Sharing your experiences with your peers, giving and receiving advice, suggestions, or encouragement?
  • Or are you mentoring others who generally have less experience than you?
  • Are you giving your clients and potential customers valuable information and teaching them new things?
  • Are you sharing your personal life in order to make yourself more real, or for the purpose of branding?
  • Or is it just plain personal.

When you haven’t fully ascertained which one it is, it can sometimes get confusing.

This blog, for example, falls more under the category #1. I would think Holly’s blog comes under category #2.

I build sites for clients occasionally.  But truthfully, I’m creating a another different blog which will be more targeted toward them.  I wouldn’t refer them to this blog.   Would I calmly refer clients to my personal story about all the mistakes I made in the last two years? That would be funny, but not so professional!

At the same time, if I wrote a post about why we submit articles, and how the author bio box is used, that would be great for my clients. It’s all new to them.  ” Page Rank? Never heard of it. What’s THAT? Wow!”   But if I posted such a thing on this blog, most of my readers would wonder if I’d lost my mind. “What does Anna think we are, a bunch of idiots? She’s trying to teach us what a backlink is!”

The upshot of this, the moral of the story … I’m not sure. But I think it’s important sometimes to take a step back and look at who your main target audience is.  Both when you first launch a blog or website, and later on, as it evolves (and sometimes takes on new meaning).

Sometimes you can mix your target audiences, sometimes it’s probably easier to keep them separate.

What I have found, is that in cases where I did not have things separated out enough, I actually developed a backoff on posting certain types of things. I found myself disabling the Wordbook plugin in my blogs (which posts my latest articles to Facebook), because I doubted my relatives would understand why I am suddenly trying to teach them about fuel cells!

You get the idea.

I’m curious about whether others have encountered this phenomenon, and how you dealt with it.   How it was sorted out … or wasn’t it.

At the end of the day, you’d probably feel stupid talking to your bar pals the same way you talk to your grandma … And maybe you wouldn’t dare talk to her like you talk to them!

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10 Responses to “Who Are You Talking To …”

  1. Anna@long distance T1
    February 10, 2009 at 4:41 am #

    I agree with you, most bloggers I know have 2 or more blogs under their name, each focusing on a certain topic, one may be for personal and the other for professional use. There are certainly some days we want to right about stuff that would fit a particular blog.

    Great post, thanks!


  2. Anna@Christian church supplies
    February 11, 2009 at 3:55 am #

    I can relate to this, as I have my own blog where I rant and rave anything about my life. But I do have a separate blog to write about professional and business stuff.

    See, these two outlets keep me sane but they can’t be mixed. 🙂


  3. Suite J
    February 11, 2009 at 7:05 am #

    Although, I try to stay as close to being “myself” regardless of who I’m talking to, there are some situations that calls for a slightly different version. lol

    I know lots of marketers use facebook and other social accounts “only” for marketing/biz purposes, but still let people in on their personal lives. I guess it really depends on the number of people you’re reaching in each group. I mean, if you have 600 of your blog readers that joined your facebook acct, and 6 family members, I’d say give them your blog posts!

    You can call grandma and tell her what’s going on in your life. I’m guessing Grandma would probably prefer that anyway. 😉


    Suite Js last blog post..Got The Free Theme Blues? What To Do Without Revolution Two

  4. Holly
    February 11, 2009 at 7:34 am #

    What a good post Anna! It’s hard to stay focused at times and know who you are targeting with your posts or what people like to read the most. Lately, I have actually been posting more and putting a variety of things on the blog. I’m trying to see which posts (topics) are receiving the most feedback, views, etc. so I can add more to the blog. Did you read my latest post? Just wondering if you think that is confusing the lines of business and personal stuff.. 🙂 Besides that – if you do have a couple of sites or only one – you could create one “family feed” http://yoursite.com/family/feed/ and have the rest be your normal feed or category feeds. I noticed that my aunt in Wisconsin has been reading and subscribed to my honestholly blog, but that makes me feel akward at times and it has nothing to do with stuff she is into. So, an idea is to create a category feed for “family” and say, here take this feed and only subscribe to this one!:) LOL..It could work. Your idea is also excellent if you have the option to do that (and haven’t already put your details out there). 🙂 Thanks for the great post!

    Hollys last blog post..What’s Holding You Back?

  5. Anna
    February 13, 2009 at 1:53 am #

    @ Anna I agree, I think its good to have two outlets. At least for most of us. I would never want certain types of business contacts to hang around 😕 in the areas where I vent my frustrations!

    @ Suite J
    “there are some situations that calls for a slightly different version.” Yeah exactly! And true, many grandma’s have barely figured out email by now, if that. Creates an extra channel 😎

    @ Holly. You are so funny! A Family Feed. “Here, take this one!” haha.

    Yes I did read your post! I think your question is best answered
    by seeing how your visitors respond. Personally, I think every blog should have at least some personal touch, business or not. Blogging was born as a personal thing and in my opinion it has maintained that aura even through the age of corporate blogging and Internet Marketing. I have seen this said in other places as well.

    Of course there are different levels of how often you post personalized content, and how personal you get. And I think it depends not only on the genre of the niche and the nature of the blog, but also on your own personality. And what you feel comfortable with, what flows for you, and what types of visitors you get or reach out to.

    Like, look at JK for example. Can you imagine if he would try to become “business like.” what’s he going to do, wear a suit in his videos? 😯 But you have a different type of approach throughout your business. Still very personal but in a much different way. You don’t have cans of spinache sponsoring your blog posts, and that’s okay. In other words, you are still being yourself, and everyone is different. I guess that’s one of the things that makes blogging what it is.

  6. Holly
    February 13, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    You are funny Anna you should be my consultant! I am not sure what types of advice you’d give me but that would be the fun part! 🙂 I do like my family feed idea even though it would never work! LOL – and about what the site visitors like – so far I’ve noticed they like free stuff, templates, stuff like that. Everyone loves great resources to help them be more productive. When I was traveling people commented heavily on the travels and that worked well. I’m going to test it out and keep posting on a variety of topics. 🙂 I really like your content here Anna!

    Hollys last blog post..10 Rare WordPress Themes for 2009

  7. bob
    February 17, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    hello anna,

    wow, I just spent about 45 minutes with you, and I’d like to say thank you so very much. who you are comes thru so beautifully. I just got downsized out of my job and have been trying to find out about making money on the web, if it was real or not. I stumbled across Holly Mann’s site and from there to you. Thank you for providing so much quality information. I intend to start with Holly’s material and see where it goes. And I’ve subscribed to this blog and your “world peace” blog.
    They say we are all God’s children. With that being the case,
    I believe you’re making him real proud;)


  8. Preparing kids for tomorrow
    February 17, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    That was pretty long and pretty interesting post. I never thought in such a way. What we write what we say, to whom and how, what is the language.
    I mean its really nice one. Now I will think about it in detail.

  9. Phillip Madsen
    July 23, 2009 at 9:25 pm #

    Yes thanks for the information on what to say in an article. It helped me and i am using it right now because of your blog. Is there any software to help track or automate the process? Let me know if you have any idea. Or possibly a software to check all the links that are created by posts in blogs. I found this helpful take a look if you want. [promotional link removed].

  10. Anna
    July 23, 2009 at 10:44 pm #

    @Phillip – Hi, thanks for the feedback but your comment is a bit promotional. How long have you been working online?

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