The Empathy Habit That Could Save You Years Of Blogging Time

Look back.

Do you remember why you started your blog in the first place?

  • You wanted to share your mission, your purpose for blogging
  • You want to build a community
  • You want to have fun, to spread your message, and enjoy what you do

You can still do all that…

You just need…

  1. more “eyeballs” on your blog posts and
  2. more people signing up to your email list in order to reach these meaningful goals you have for yourself.

It’s so doable. You just need a step-by-step plan.

I’m getting geared up to teach my charter members of  Successful Blogging Academy one of the most valuable lessons on blogging…

How to have empathy for your readers’ problems.

Because addressing your readers’ problems, in their exact words, gets you lots of traffic and social shares on each blog post.

Just how do you know their problems?

You need to find them out. The very problems that keep them up at night – the ones they worry about the most.

Figuring out the problems of your target audience

The best way to start out in determining these issues is to:

  1. Read blog comments on blogs in your niche
  2. Join free or paid forums in your niche and read the threads
  3. Write down exactly what the commenters and posters say
  4. Feed those words back to them in blog posts and sales letters

1. Reading blog comments on blogs in your niche

Here are three comments from a guest post I did on Ileane Smith’s blog, “Basic Blog Tips”

Target Audience Examples

target audience examples

Target audience examples

Can you pick out the problem that each blogger mentions in their comment?

Go ahead – do it now. (I’ll wait for you!)

Now check out this comment by my friend, Adrienne Smith on my guest post about blog commenting at Pauline Cabrera’s blog, TwelveSkip.

target audience examples

And this comment by my colleague, Daniela Uslan on the same post.

target audience examples

2. Join free or paid forums in your niche and read the threads

Here’s a comment I saw on a paid forum I belong to. Check out this person’s pain points:

MY PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION FOR YOU  How to Grow Your Twitter Following and Blog In One Fell Swoop

target audience examples

3. Write down exactly what the commenters and posters say

This is just as easy as it sounds!

Keep these words and phrases somewhere where you can refer back to them when writing anything – posts, sales copy, About pages, etc.

My colleague, Jenna Dalton, uses an index card box to save all the comments of her clients.

I prefer to keep a notepad with all my target readers’ exact words. Some of my clients choose to use Google Docs, an Excel spreadsheet or even just a Word Doc.

4. Feed those words back to your readers

Then just take the exact words you have begun to accumulate and start inserting them while writing posts, sales letters, etc.

It’s so much easier to write what your readers want to hear when you know the problems of your target audience and just how they express those problems and issues.

Wrapping It Up

Here are some action steps to take:
  1. Research and find 2-3 forums in your niche
  2. Read and collect phrases from readers for 10 minutes twice this week
  3. Use those same phrases in your own blog post next week

Empathy has helped me grow my audience more than anything else, including using the exact words I come up with on guest blog posts, blog comments, and my own blog posts.

Learn the #1 way to use empathy to discover what to sell to your readers and the other steps to becoming a profitable blogger. Become a member of Successful Blogging Academy by clicking here to check out the details.

55 thoughts on “The Empathy Habit That Could Save You Years Of Blogging Time”

  1. Hey Sue Anne,

    Wow, your new school sounds wonderful and I'm sure it will be a bit hit. I think that's what people need today, someone who can really explain how this all works to them, take them by the hand and show them the way.

    We both know that this all takes hard work but it's so worth it and just what you shared here, by listening to the problems that people are having and then write to them directly. Those are the ones you'll want to reach time and time again.

    Thank you for sharing the comment I made on your post, just goes to show that this really does work and still to this day. It's all about getting in front of people and that's just the way I prefer doing it my friend.

    Great share and I'm off to share as well.

    Adrienne recently posted How To Rediscover Your Desire For BloggingMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for your insight, Adrienne.

      As a relationship and engagement specialist, you are a great example for beginning bloggers.

      I appreciate your comment!

  2. I love that, Ryan – tell your past story to set up your current story! Brilliant way to put it!

    I'm the same way where I answer questions on my blog posts from reader questions.

    I so appreciate your perspective! Thanks, as always, for your comment.

    • Such a good point you made, Reginald! Blog comments and forums are a gold mine for research purposes, even if you are a beginning blogger.

      Thanks for your comment today.

  3. Hi,

    Awesome, with great content and not many hard-to-understand words in your article. You are really good in targeting audiences, and this article is really unique, very difference from those random social media or post regularly thingy about blogging.

    And I will recommend your article to the others for sure!

    TBR Author
    TBR Author recently posted 5 FREE Online Advertising Methods for New BrandsMy Profile

  4. Hi, Kaushik,

    It was a surprise for you and I'm glad you like it! You are a terrific tech guy and have helped me and my clients so many times.

    Thanks for commenting.

    • I didn't like forums either before I realized how great they are for research purposes, Lisa!

      Thanks for your comment today.

    • Hi, Dina,

      It works even if you don't post yourself! So, when you are really busy, just take 10 minutes to see what questions are popping up in the forum that you are following. I do that 3x a week and post twice a week in each of my 3 forums.

      Hope this helps! Thanks for commenting today.

  5. Sue,

    I love this post. It's so great to know that you have a step-by-step plan on finding ways to empathize with your readers.

    This is a great way to breathe life into your blog and actually speak to your readers. I often go through old comments on my blog to see if there are issues my readers are facing and it's helped me develop some great posts for the future.

    Great tips!

    Elna Cain recently posted Getting Paid to Write: Do You Have It in You?My Profile

    • Hi, Elna,

      You are excellent at this already! I read your post this week on Adam's blog and you hit the empathy out of the park.

      It's so important for beginning bloggers to read great articles like yours and then pick out the "empathy points" and try to imitate (not copy, imitate!) them in their own blog posts.

      Thanks for your insightful comment,

  6. Hi Sue Ann,

    I just recently jumped into blog commenting mostly due to a post Andrew Warner did a few weeks back emphasizing the importance of virtual networking. So far, this practice has done very well for my blog and business.

    I also have joined a few forums and Facebook groups, which is what lead me to your lovely blog. (from the Badass Solopreneur Society).

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. Giving value to readers and commenters is something I'm working on as well. Loved this post! Thanks again.

    Andréa Jones recently posted Big Marketing Lessons To Learn From TidalMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story, Andrea! Both Andrew and Dre are wonderful and I'm so glad you took action on blog commenting. Keep going with it – it works SO well.

      Value is the key. Good for you!

  7. Sue,

    This is a great article and so true. Thanks for the advice! I am finding out more and more how important this aspect of my blog is! Keep up the great posts Sue!

  8. Wow! As usual Sue you deliver some valuable and thoughtful insight! Whether we realize it or not everyone has a story and there are people who can relate. So being confident and consistent in sharing your views is key!

  9. I love it, Sue.


    I never thought about doing that in a blog post…I usually engage folks in the comments sections (as you know). So….maybe take the conversation from the article and feed it, then address it again (the subject matter) in another post–based on the perspectives and feelings/needs of the readers.

    Truly love Ryan's view—the past story. I'm with him—it's all I ever do, then again, mine is a twist of the past into fictional futures =)

    Sadly, I don't seem to have much success in forums. Used to, about 7 years or so, but the environment and people's motivations seem to have changed….or is that just my perspective here? It feels many times that folks are more guarded and…I hate the word 'plotting' but it does sound/feel that way sometimes.

    Again, maybe it's just me–but I prefer to engage in conversations on blogs.

    (set's up his sleeping bag….)
    Jaime Buckley recently posted Pickled Eggs, The Flash and Why Bloggers Will NEVER Solve My Problem (but YouTubes Olan Rogers did!)My Profile

    • You can rest and hang out here anytime, Jaime! I think there's a book somewhere in you about blog commenting and engaging with the blog owner. What do you thing???

      Think about it while you are resting up tonight in your sleeping bag.

      Always appreciate your comments!

      • Huh.

        Book on…commenting, huh?

        I like it. Could put that on my To Do List right along with learning how to mountain climb while eating a pizza and fire dancing.

        Jaime Buckley recently posted TEXT FAIRYMy Profile

        • First of all, you know I have fibromyalgia and one of its side effects is "fibro brain" where you cannot remember anything and make no sense when you talk with people. I'm claiming "fibro brain" on any advice I sent to you yesterday 🙂 I slept for 12 hours last night and feel normal today.

          I usually don't fall back on my illness, but I am now 🙂

          You have received a free gift from me – a 30 minutes 1-1 coaching call where I will help you figure this out (when I'm fresh and alert!). Email me please at, Jaime,

          Sorry for the aggravation! It's me, not you (like I say on bad dates!)

          • Wait, wait, waaaaaaait a second. No, no, no…you can't do that, Sue.

            First of all, you were one of the few that MADE sense to me yesterday, and I had a pretty good day–the advice was solid and I'm delightfully happy and motivated today (sitting here, planning out how to conquer the world and maybe even make some cheese….mmmmmmm, cheese)…and now you want to take that all back?

            Awww crap no. You CAN'T take all that back.

            I…like what you said.

            Besides, if you say you were NOT in your right mind, and I took what you said as nuggets gold…does that mean I'M the one off?

            (well,…more than usual, anyway?)

            No, I reject your explanation. I'm going to sit here and think in your "off" moments, you are STILL brilliant, thoughtful, and proceed with my plan to CONQUER THE WORLD!!

            (I mean, it includes GNOMES—and who…doesn't like…gnomes?? Come on, really.)

            However, I will take you up on a call once I am organized and feeling better (very ill at present and beating off a potential migraine, so no phone calls). Maybe in a week or so—but I will coordinate with you, so it does not cut into your "more productive" calls.

            So, how does it feel, knowing you're brilliant no matter what? Just can't help but like you, Sue. You make it impossible not to.

            Hmmmm, I think you should write a book about it =)

            Jaime Buckley recently posted Pickled Eggs, The Flash and Why Bloggers Will NEVER Solve My Problem (but YouTubes Olan Rogers did!)My Profile

          • My Mom says that I make more sense while in "fibro fog" than most people do while just fine! And my Mom knows me (too) well.

            It that like Underwear Gnomes on South Park? make underwear ——- have money (big quiet gap in between). Knowing how to MAKE the money is the problem of the gnomes.

            I'm holding you to the call once you feel better, Jaime!

    • 1) Gorilla's

      2) Grapefruit

      3) Blonde Brownies (yum)

      4) Tricycle Rocket Racing (wear a helmet)

      5) 10 Reasons Why Yodeling Should Become An Olympic Sport

      6) Why Ben & Jerry's Should Be Sued For Discontinuing Urban Jumble Ice Cream!

      7) Chugging Pepsi with Pop Rocks

      8) How To Properly LOve And ADore Your Wife (Cause She DESERVES It)

      9) Text Fairies

      10) Cheese

      There–wanted to contribute some ideas.

      You're welcome.
      Jaime Buckley recently posted 6 Tips Guaranteed To Prevent Writing & Publishing FailureMy Profile

  10. I fully agree Sue! 🙂

    I got our schema plugin developed because it was mentioned in the comments area. My new post revolves around it. You might have some business websites and friends that might need it 😀

    Empathy is something I know I have but it did take time before I got to show it on my posts.

    Will try out your suggestions, see what I can do with it 🙂
    Dennis Seymour recently posted Local SEO Schema and How It Helps with On-Page SEOMy Profile

    • That is great, Dennis. You helped your readers because of what they were saying to you in your comment section – I love that!

      Thanks so much for sharing that with the Successful Blogging Team.

  11. Hello Sue,

    This one almost passed me but I'm fortunate enough to have read it. To be honest, any blogger who wants to grow his/her blog needs to do everything right from the start. It doesn't matter whether you erred in the beginning; you need to come up with strategies and realize that you are into blogging as a business. I appreciate your presence online as you continue to educate each visitor who spends time on this blog.

    Enock Machodi recently posted 31 Leadership Quotes that Make You a Sought-After LeaderMy Profile

  12. Hello Sue,

    This is a great blog post! I have found blog post ideas from forums and from other bloggers comments. 🙂 It's very important to pay attention to your readers so that you can help them with their problems. Like you said visiting forums and social media can help you do this. I know I was able to help a couple people out on social media who had questions. Thanks for sharing this with us!
    Maketta recently posted Homebased-Business: How To Join The Perfect One For You?My Profile

  13. That is right that forums and comments are the great way to understand what people are looking for in the same niche and what attract them mostly to come again and again and comment on the question or reply on article.

    Thank you for sharing empathy tips and that will surely save a lot of time of every blogger.
    Gaurav Kumar recently posted How To Become Premium Adsense PublisherMy Profile

  14. Great comment about determining the needs of the reader. I think we all know that already, but in the spin of things tend to lose sight of it. I think I will put it on a few post-it notes to keep it in my face and on my mind. Thanks for the good read. ~Sue

  15. Sue,

    Great post as usual. There's a real art to finding out what people want to know about and what their dreams and aspirations are. Besides reading blog post comments, I like to go on Quora and Yahoo Answers and check specific topics. If I see a post on one of those sites that have a lot of comments and answers, then it might be a good issue to address in a post.

    As a copywriter, when I have to write about a product, I'll check out similar products or services on Amazon and read the comment sections on the products I have to write about. (If I'm writing copy about services, I'll check the book section of Amazon to see if I can find books about the similar services I have to write about.) By the time I've read a ton of comments, I'll have a huge file of every kind of benefit, feature and objection you can imagine.

    If you have a large enough mailing list, you can always create a survey using Survey Monkey to send out to your followers and uncover what's keeping people in your niche up at night.

    Once again, Sue, thanks so much for another incredible post!

    God Bless!
    Mark Ellis recently posted What is Content Strategy and How to Use it In Your Marketing MixMy Profile

  16. Hey, Sue,

    Another very much useful and helpful post. Excellent examples and solutions.

    By solving people problems we can build community.

    Yes, we have to know the audience needs and help them by providing right solutions whether through the blog post, comment or any other possible ways. Thanks for your wonderful thoughts and strategies.

    Have a great day.

  17. Hi Sue,

    It's great to read your post. I was busy with my projects, that's the reason I was inactive a bit, specially reading & commenting was completely off.

    Anyways, I completely agree with your points, Time is important these days, so I appreciate your efforts for giving these tips. Great work.

    ~ Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted Top 7 Best Electric Griddles for Pancakes 2018My Profile

    • I've had the same issue also, Donna! But it is so great to see you here.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

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