At her session on creating engaging content at the Blog World and New Media Expo, Liz Strauss talked about reaching her audience by “coming down off her podium.” This phrase stuck with me. I think Liz nailed the difference between bloggers and more traditional writers. It’s the ability to create a conversation with your readers by giving them a reason to participate.

I always tell people the reason I have such an active community is because I let my readers know I’m not an expert. I tell them, “this is what I do and here’s why it works for me.” Then I invite them to tell me what works for them and why. Soon my community is having a brain storming session and we’re all helping each other out. This is what happens when you come down off your podium.

When I read a blog, I’m not doing so because I’m looking for a lecture. I can get that from a magazine article. While I’m looking to learn, I’m also looking to be an active participant. I’m more willing to do that when someone is speaking to me one on one rather than behind a lectern.

Come down off your podium. Show your readers you’re human and that you don’t have all the answers. Let them know their input is just as important as yours. Come down off your podium and, trust me, they’ll respond.