Is Your Blog Surrounded By Potholes?
Take a drive through any city in the Northeastern U.S. (1) and you’ll notice there are more hollowed out potholes in the industrial and poorer neighborhoods than in the commercial and upper income neighborhoods. The reasons are varied but easily come down to the tired old cliche: “the squeaky wheel gets it’s potholes fixed first.”
Walk or drive around any good sized city and you’ll also notice the streets with less potholes attract more people who gawk and willingly hand over their precious attention and cash. The businesses along the streets lined with tire eating potholes are lucky if they get any attention at all, let alone cash.
Streets curbed with granite buttressing the fashionable brick sidewalks are appealing to both the city residents and the out-of-towners, and if you throw in majestic trees every 20 feet you’ve built yourself an attention magnet along with a money machine.
People like to give their attention where they think authority resides, even if it that authority is all illusion. This is true in cities, fashion, automobiles, hotels, restaurants and (surprise) it’s true in blogging as well.
Sloppy writing, sub-par images, and failure to take the reader into account all belong to a blogging street full of potholes.When a reader finds their way into your neighborhood and sees all the potholes they’ll quickly turn around and run (not walk) to the nearest escape route (back button) they can find.
Fix Your Blogging Potholes For Good.
1. Blogging Potholes
Your company blog does not mirror the company philosophy.
You probably collect ideas on post-it notes, in a notebook-journal or if it’s a great idea on the inside of your arm using a felt pen. Ideas never run out but remembering them is another story, and while I’m sure all your ideas deserve to be shared with somebody a company blog may not be the best medium of choice.
It’s rather easy to think sharing all your ideas on the company blog will create a rush of new clients and customers never seen before..Well, it could do that or it could (more likely) drive away some of your already loyal partners, customers and clients and they may not tell you why they left.
Before you recoil at the thought of having to write only dry and boring blog pieces about the company softball games or the kite flying expedition in team building your company has done for 25 years, take a breath.
Once you’ve collected your wits go around and talk with a handful of those in the know and create a mind map of goals and philosophy. Use the mindmap, flash cards or posters to define where the company is and where is wants to be, then blog away with all your wonderful and original ideas that help propel the company forward in it’s goals and philosophy.
And remember to let your creative flag fly, having an outline to work with can be exciting and rewarding.
“There’s a lot of information out there for free, so you’ve got
to figure out what makes your information different.”
2. Blogging Potholes
Your Blog Posts Lack Interesting Stories
Yes I said stories. Storytelling opens up and shares your company’s personality in ways that posts filled with facts, figures and boxes full of sand can’t. With a story you can engage with readers so they’ll want to finish the post and return for more.
Storytelling allows you to convey the company’s personality within the context of events, adventures and actual happenings within the company. Your products and services can become characters in your stories that excite and inform readers.
Think about how companies such as Southwest Airlines, Apple, Domino’s, Fedex, Tesla and others use their story to expand and solidify their brand. Every company has a story that can add color and magic to its blogging.
Fixing the pothole created in your posts that lack stories is not difficult. Bookstores and online courses are full of intro material to bring you up to speed. If you’re really into it you may want to take a more intensive course like the one offered at Storybrand.com
“You really need to know your own story.” Donald Miller – Storybrand –
3. Blogging Potholes
Your Blog Is Not Talking With Your Reader
If you want to engage your customers and potential customers it’s vital to create your writing with a conversational tone. Using I, I’ve, and even me opens your writing to more emotional connections with your readers. This is especially important if you’re skittish about storytelling. But don’t over-do talking about yourself.
I still struggle with using I in my blog writing. When I started blogging I was told not to talk about myself and only use you, your and we.Turns out it was bad advice. I still wrestle with it. We have to ask ourselves, where’s the balance?
The balance resides in writing as if you are actively involved in a conversation with others interested in your topic. What words and phrases do you use when talking with others? What hand gestures do you use? How do you emotions show themselves when you share a story with others? Emotions, gestures and words can be combined on a page to generate maximum reader interest.
I always read my blog posts out-loud when I’m in editing mode, additionally I image a group of people sitting across the room listening to me. The imaginary people remind me to be clear in what I’m saying (writing).
Our memories are stronger when they are attached to emotions of some kind. I know the deepest, longest and most important memories I can recall have emotions connected to them.
Having a conversation tinged with emotional edges will help your reader create a bond of trust and interest insuring they remember and appreciate your writing and message.
“Blogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.” Andrew Sullivan