All this technical comisseration and mentoring in the art of the blog… it’s a beautiful thing. Especially for writers like me, who come to blogging from a different place than, say, budding online entrepreneurs and creatively inspired geeks (and I say that with respect and much love, and now that I am one, pride).
It reminds me of a group of tennis players who get together to discuss string tension and debate the merits of yellow versus white balls in Grand Slam events. Or a bunch of musicians chatting up each other about their Elvis collection. Or doctors waxing philosphic about IRAs and tee times.
It’s all good. And necessary. But what ever happened to content?
One of my observations as someone who holds a green card in the land of blogging is that it’s more digital dexterity and promotion than it is the delivery of poignant value to readers. Too often its more diary than dissertation.
I submit to you that the basis of the blogging business model is — or should be — more about content than traffic-building strategies.
Because unless there’s been a media coup, content is still king.
Are you contributing or are you selling something?
The first question you should youself as a blogger is this: am I a writer first and foremost, or am I an entrepreneur or diarist who writes?
There’s no right or wrong answer, they both have a place and a fiscal future. But they also both imply things that might need to be tweaked for optimal online effectiveness.
The first thing I’d tell an entreprenuer who wants to build a business through great content delivery is to speak to the reader’s passion and need, rather than sell them what you believe they should buy. Which is your passion and need.
It’s a critical difference, one that writers understand and entrepreneurs who aren’t writers too easily miss. Turn the context of the blog inside out — it’s not about you, it’s about them. It’s not about your solution, it’s about their situational need.
The idea is to build credibility within a given arena. When you do, it’ll carry over to the side of your page that’s actually selling something.
Friends buy quicker from trusted peers and friends than from salesmen. The highest purpose of your blog is to befriend the reader by coming from the same place. Which makes you a peer.
Know your place in the reader’s world
A second strategy is to match the strength and tone of your pitch to the level of your credentials. Let’s say you’re selling an ebook on how to make money online, just like ten million other folks are doing. If you can’t demonstrate your chops in this arena within your blog, then you need to sell from a here’s-what-I’ve-learned-and-would-like-to-share perspective, instead of a false sense of expertise.
Readers love a good tip more than they love a good pitch. Especially when it comes from a peer.
The magic pill of blogging content
And finally, you need to understand that what you’re really writing about — and selling — is hope. A sub-text of hope will make your blogged thoughts and your offered solutions more immediate than simple features and benefits ever could.
Then again, if you’re truly an expert in your field, play that card boldly.
Because nothing says hope like someone who really knows.