how to keep your right readers addicted to your blog (and you)



The influence of a vital person vitalizes, there’s no doubt about it. The world without spirit is a wasteland. People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who’s on top, and so forth. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it’s alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and become alive yourself. — Joseph Campbell


You are not the hero of your blog.

Your reader is the hero of your blog.

You are the guide, the first hero, the shaman.

You’ve already been through the reader’s part of the journey (which is why you can write about it). You’ve seized the boon, the elixir, the knowledge, and you’re on the road home.


You can’t think in terms of extracting value.

(Friend me. Follow me. Buy my book, my painting, my music, my finger puppets. Like me. Because you do like me, don’t you? Don’t you? Doesn’t anybody care anymore? Damn this marketplace, it doesn’t understand me! Idiots! Philistines! Nobody’s written a decent novel since 1897! It’s all been crap since then!)

You must give value. Create value.

You must give your badass face off.

You can’t force or manipulate or bribe people into talking about you (at least not for long). You can’t fake word-of-mouth. You generate it through making something that inspires conversation. You make yourself worthy of being talked about.

Why would people talk about you, or your work?

Because talking about it reflects well on them.

When we share stuff that’s cool and useful and relevant, we become cool and useful and relevant. We build trust and status and influence. We establish ourselves as valuable members of the tribe.

So the only way to become a valuable member of the tribe is to help somebody else become a valuable member of the tribe.

To lead is to serve.


Who is your tribe, your audience, your Right People? Who do you want to invite into relationship?

Who is the hero of the story that you’re telling?

You invite the reader into your world through her identification with you.

You help her grow. You help her create meaning.

You take her on a journey that she was planning to take anyway.

Where are you taking her?

That depends on the kind of story that you’re telling.

And that depends on the nature of your hero.

In order to tell the story, you need to know your hero.

What’s important to her. What drives her. What keeps her awake at 3 in the morning with a clutching sensation in her chest.

What she wants, and needs, and fears, and dreams of doing and becoming.

What it is that you can give her in order to help her advance.






Provide the information she needs to solve her problems.


When you plot a story, you raise questions that you answer only to raise more and bigger questions that you answer only to raise more and bigger questions….

and so on, until the end, when the hero is transformed and the plot is resolved.

The story began with a problem that needed solving…

and ends with an identity shift that makes resolution possible.


In the end, though, all the characters we create are aspects of ourselves.

To lead someone on a journey, you have to have been through it yourself.

Which means the hero is a mirror of you – beneath a different face.

You have to know yourself in order to know your hero.

You have to know your hero in order to know yourself.

So who is your hero?

Where are you taking her?

What story are you telling?

Jul 4, 2011

17 comments · Add Yours

This is a rockin’ post. Clear. Succint. Valuable. Thank you.


This is very helpful. I never thought of it in terms of a reflection from you to the reader and vice versa. This helps put the structure of a blog in perspective, and helps us alter our own perceptions of our blogs and how we have to manage them. Great post! :)


“What she wants, and needs, and fears, and dreams of doing and becoming.”

So many conflicting feelings, so accurately identified.

The beginning of success is learning to overcome the fear of it. (Because then, what will I do next?) Next will work itself out. What would the hero do?


Self-centredness is inherent. It is natural. It is survival. If you don’t look after yourself, who will? It is after all, a game of survival. Survival of the fittest. It’s a dog-eat-dog world. And then there’s the Internet when all the above flies out of the window. I’ve found the last four years online most illuminating. It gives one hope actually. Because the old business models don’t work very well online. People are interested in people more than products. I have very few customers in the old sense. Almost all the people who have bought my books are people who I have developed a relationship with. Okay we’re not meeting for coffee and cakes every Friday or anything but they are people I have interacted with or if they’re the shy types, the lurkers as we tend to call them, they’ve got to know me via my interactions with others. But they still feel they’ve got to know me. There are too many products out there. No one has the time, the energy or the money to buy everyone’s book and so how do we choose? Mostly I’d say it’s down to who they perceive the author to be assuming all other things to be equal. I’m not so sure this is as true when it comes to music or art; I suspect words are a special case.

I enjoyed how you structured this. It just shows how effective a bit of white space can be.


In order to know yourself, you must know your creation story. Define your creation story, define yourself, define your hero. Plot her story.

If there has been no boon reached, no elixir consumed, is there no plot? I am The Seeker, I have not yet reached the Knowledge.

This is where many blogs fall short. They offer something that they have not yet plotted out or they are weak in presentation.

Your voice is unique and demands, commands attention. Your knowledge is vast. You reach us with your strong sense of self. Your voice is your elixir.

Thanks for this fix. I feel like an addict to this blog. Still trying to write my creation story, this is the next step…Slow learner?


Perfect! And I will pass my gratitude to this Shaman who shared this journey. Thank you Justine!


All very true. Especially helpful: reader is the (current) hero of whatever I’ve written, blog, book. I am indeed every character I write about. Thanks.


Excellent post!!! I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for the reminder.


We are all mirrors of each other. Thanks Justine. I share your blog with my writing group.


You’ve presented some great ideas which will make any blog more attractive and readable.

I think you have well-researched about blogging and added your experience too in writing this article.



Cool. Lovely, visionary ideas.
I’m a horror writer, and I post my short stories on my blog. The people who have come to read them really like them a lot, but I’m curious as to how to get beyond that trickle of 5 to twenty views per day. It’s frustrating to know you do quality work but also to know that few people give it a chance.
-Mac Campbell


“In the end, though, all the characters we create are aspects of ourselves.”

Forgive me for being contrary, but this is simply and flatly false. It’s not true at all. I know: I’ve written books.

The ability to create characters who are NOT you comes from what John Keats called negative capability, and it was precisely this that enabled Dostoevsky to create Stavrogin, and it was precisely this that enabled Shakespeare to create the murder Macbeth and his even more diabolical wife.


Well, y’know, I’ve written books too, and Keats’ ‘negative capability’ theory, isn’t about creating characters per se but about holding two contradictory truths in your head and able to exist in the uncertain space between.

Any character we create comes from our insights, the projections of our imagination, our own particular reads on reality and private theories of it. You don’t have to actually be a murderer to write a murderer; that’s not what I meant.


Wow! Awesome stuff!!


Hi Justine,

Thank you for sharing. I really needed to hear this today. The goal of my blog is to raise awareness, “educate and empower”. I appreciate your perspective and the powerful questions you ask. These are questions I need to ask myself to take my blog to the next level. Right now you are my hero:-)

Peace, Love & Gratitude,



this is fantastic, thank you, just what I needed. I’ve been wondering what is my blog FOR anyway? Why bother, except that I do? Now I know I’ve got a hero I’m talking to. Thanks!


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