Certainly it is my hope that you will give some thought to how is a good idea to avoid being seen as a First Class Jerk. One of my favorite warning signs read: “Caution. Be sure brain is in motion before putting mouth into gear.” With the principle that we can learn from the mistakes of others, we have our first mistake the ever popular:
1. Lacking a Frame of Reference
A sadly too high percentage of communication in both verbal and written form begin with long and careful consideration from the person originating the communication. They may have thought about it for hours or days, even weeks. Frequently inverse proportion rules here. That is the longer they have thought about the topic the more likely they are to come out with a lot of judgment (sometimes mixed with evidence), without giving the receiver anything to hang their hat on.
Being human this can show up in personal relationships as well and is equally ineffective. What happens is the person who is the transmitter has been so caught inside their own mind they have lost sight of the fact that the receiver(s) of the message(s) has been running along doing their own life.
There are two ways a frame of reference can be lacking. One is when you are delivering technical information. Suppose I am writing a technical piece in which the purpose is to get you more receptive to the idea of having high-speed Internet.
A mental Shanghai for the receiver of your message with “get high-speed Internet now!”, Is just not as effective as setting a frame of reference first. A question such as: “are you frustrated with how long it takes for a file to download to your device?”, communicates to the receiver not only the topic. It begins to set them up for being receptive to a solution.
If your blog is to communicate relevant data (example: technical), find analogies that your audience is likely to be familiar with. I personally work with a custom watch company called Modify Watches. If they are pushing every aspect of their watches they are going to lose their audience. If they only talk about the mechanics of their watches, they may intrigue a couple but will lose the majority. Another example would be a Tetris Watch page that we have running. Most of the people that come to the page find it irrelevant We’re working on a better presentation right now that should help our page be much more relevant to the user and help them! Updates to come!
2. Being Judgmental
People tend to get strong (often negative) judgments resulting from a painful emotional experience. They forget the frame of reference and then deliver some strong “don’t do that.” If as a child they grow up in a household where a family member was a surly alcoholic they tend to overreact and admonish people for enjoying a glass of wine with dinner.
The study known as Dales Cone of Experience reveals to us that 80% of learning in humans comes from experience. Your experience is not necessarily your audience’s experience. Wherever possible set up an opportunity for your audience to learn by experience.
3. Overpromise and Under Deliver
Of all the ineffective choices one can make in a blog (or advertising – and a blog is a form of selling) this is my personal favorite ineffective. There is an old saying which goes: “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Telling people how you have the secret formula for X weeks of Snake Oil Sales. It’s My Favorite Ineffective for Two Reasons.
1. The only people it works on are those who are looking for reward without effort. Only in the dictionary does reward come before work. This is not to say there are not more clever ways of doing something. The work involved is discovering the clever method and communicating it effectively. You receiver still has to put out the effort of understanding the communication. Let’s look at an example.
I’m a bit of a foodie. I like pastas of a higher quality then that dried stuff that goes by the name of Great Value. It was only when reading a food blog that I discovered I could get a decent vessel for cooking pasta in a microwave that works great for 10 bucks. It saves energy, water and clean up. And it works fabulous too.
The blogger had to effectively communicate the benefits, tips and tricks before I clicked on that link to buy the gadget. I’m now sold twice. One on the quality of information from the blogger and two, the product itself.
2. Social media will kill Snake Oil Sales. In the days of the old West the forked tongue salesperson could climb into their wagon in the middle of the night and ride off to the next town. Shampoo, rinse, repeat. I don’t care how fast you are, you will not out run the speed of the Internet and social media.
4. Blog with Cannon Fodder
A mistake that often comes down from high up is “it has to be XYZ words with 123 keywords, used ABC times per paragraph.” This outdated mentality used to fool search engines for ranking. Today, this technique is excellent for use in ranking right about the seventh layer of hell in Dante’s Inferno.
5. Be Impersonal
Not letting your personality out or “playing it safe”is one of the fastest ways for a person to decide you’re not offering anything of value. I will admit to a little bit of amazement when I look at the ratings for some A.M. Radio talk shows. The passions run high on both sides of the fence. So do the rankings. Being as dull as dishwater will have your blog treated the same.