The Power of Getting Personal


By Elissa Stern, of Dress With Courage


At this time a few months ago, I was reeling after receiving a mean-spirited comment on my blog. Though it was left by an anonymous reader, I felt vulnerable, attacked, and angry. The comment had made me reconsider my personal style and appearance, and led me to question whether publishing a blog was the right decision for me at all. While responding to the commenter would have clearly been a waste of time and energy, I felt unsure as to how I could process what had happened. The next day, I opened my laptop and wrote a blog post describing my experience dealing with the negative comment. That post has received the most traffic, and the most comments, of any published on my blog since.


Something special happens when you share information about your personal life in a post. Personal details humanize you as a blogger. They allow your readers to get a deeper feel for who you are as a person, let them see what makes you tick, and illuminate issues that challenge or complete you. Including personal details gives your posts dimension, as the richness and honesty contained within is hard to discredit. A personal blog post is unafraid to share your real personality, not just your writing style or opinions of your blog focus. It is much like a conversation with a friend. It's a lovely and effective element if you're looking to build relationships with your readers, and can go beyond simple text on a page.


How personal you choose to get on your blog is up to you. However, it seems obvious that you should include only as much information that you are comfortable revealing, and leave off what might embarrass you in the future.


How can you get personal on your blog? Here are a few suggestions:


  • Think about including video: Whether you’re providing a tutorial, describing a purchase, or comparing products, video is an excellent way of reaching out to readers in a personal way.
  • Include more detail: If your blogging typically consists of outfit posts, expand beyond what you’re wearing. How has your personal style changed? Where did your outfit inspiration come from? What memories are associated with each piece?
  • Describe what challenges you: Readers tend to be more loyal to bloggers who show their vulnerabilities. What obstacles have you overcome? What issues are you struggling with? Is there anything you’d like to work on? Communicating these challenges with your readers is not only a way to establish intimacy, but might also generate advice that could lead to tremendous growth.
  • Expand beyond your blog topic: While I publish a personal style blog, I also post about body image, thrifting and women’s issues. The variety of topics I post about gives my blog depth and reach.


What do you think about getting personal on your blog? Leave a note in the comments below!


You can follow Elissa on Twitter here.


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14 Responses

  1. Shayne Machen

    I just got my first mean spirited comment. Of course, the person who posted it, posted anonymously. It hurt my feelings and made me feel personally attacked. I was actually thinking of writing IFB and asking how you would handle these types of comments. This post was helpful and made me take a sigh of relief that I am not the only one who this happens to. I’ve decided to let it be a learning experience. I don’t need anyone to validate my blog or me, the satisfaction of my hard work is enough.

    Thanks 🙂

  2. Courtney

    Great post Elissa! I think getting personal is important, but so is drawing boundaries. I would caution against over sharing, but still being open. I think there’s a way to do both.

  3. Madeleine Gallay

    Some people, usually named anonymous, vent and make dramas cheerfully. Awkward .. it happens, easiest to ignore and move on.

    Truly evil comments, horrid nasty name calling, hateful and derogatory comments, I think, should be removed, banished, the end.

    A good tart wry post about the experience is always wicked good.

    I don’t like mean comments anywhere and shudder at some of the almost illiterate, mean comments left on someone’s twitter. Yuck. Delete and block is divine.

  4. Natasha Dennis

    I am not sure if I would be offended by a negative comment about my personal style or opinion because blogging is exactly that; it is subjective. Anything that is subjective will be subject to criticism albeit positive or not. The art of blogging is a subjective matter, and for that reason, at some point, for many of us, people will share their thoughts and opinions, whether we like it or not.. It is unfortunate that the use of language can often exclude the magic that makes us hmans so interesting and that is the ability to communicate with each other other than with the use of a key pad.but this is the digital age and it fails to take into account how we may feel by the choice of words used and how those words are used.

  5. Daniel Dunt

    I have to say, this is one of the reasons that I have put off making outfit posts a regular occurrence on my blog. The thought that someone who does not know me at all could make a personal attack on a image is something I really wouldn’t want to experience. Now I think that I should hit the gym and perhaps reconsider? – Daniel

  6. Elisa

    You know, my biggest issue now is not about evil comments or whatsoever. I have issues going too much personal because I have a recent ex boyfriend, and I freak out at the idea he’s reading my blog and getting to know anything about my life.
    I don’t know how to deal with this, and my blog is getting far far away from me, just as soon as I became to make it more personal and I was getting deeper relationships with my readers. Then this broke up thing happened and I don’t feel like writing or posting pictures about my everyday life cause I don’t want him to know.
    Is there a way to block a person away from your blog? 🙁

  7. Aly

    I really liked this post! Definitely something I’m curious about, and your advice is really helpful! Thank you. 🙂


  8. Lukitto

    I love writing, but it’s getting hard for me to make my writing more personal character. Always having to go to a more formal grammar. If you can help me guiding how to get around this would be happy.

  9. Emmy

    What an informative topic, and the comments made above thus far have made some points. It is great to get personal in a blog, but at the same, when does it become too personal? It is hard to find that balance sometimes, especially when there’s someone out there who you don’t want to reveal too much to (as one commented). Personally, I would continue writing what I love to write about, and really just not pay attention too much to the naysayers out there. There will always be someone who will want to say something nasty. I guess that’s the price we pay for having a public blog.

  10. DesignerJewellery

    I’ve read your post and all I can say is that I agree with you. Sometimes hurtful comments can really stop someone from posting anymore especially if blog posts are more personal. but I think it is a great way of making your readers feel that you can relate with what they are experiencing or making them feel that there is someone else that is experiencing what they are going through. Reading a lot of personal blogs help me while I was growing up and all I can say is bravo to those who are brave enough to defy the norms of society. So Elissa, bravo and two thumbs up to you 🙂