In this, our third lesson of the How to promote your blog series, we will look at two characteristics of the blogging audience. It doesn’t really matter what your blog is about: internet marketing, fly fishing or your love for pets. We can pretty much assume that your blog’s readers share some similar traits.
1. What’s In It For Me?
In his book, The Art of the Start, Guy Kawasaki tells us of a colleague who was trained by IBM to imagine that there was a little man sitting on his shoulder and during presentations, every time he said something, the little man would whisper “So what?” to him.
Every blogger should carry this little man on their shoulder and listen to him. It really doesn’t matter what your blog is about, your readers want to know what’s in it for them. Will they learn internet marketing tips they can use to leverage the search engines? Will they learn how to tie flies to become a better fisherman? Will they learn pet training tips to make their pets more obedient?
I came to your blog because I want something — what is it that this article is going to provide me?
It’s important to tell your audience (within the first few paragraphs) why the column matters to them because you can be sure that one of the first things to enter their minds when reading about any giving topic is, “So what? Why does this benefit me?” Never assume your reader knows why it’s important — the significance of what you’re saying is not always self-evident — spell it out for them. Give them an example early — let us see it — don’t wait for the end of the article. They want to know what the end result will be. Is it going to accomplish what we need it to for our purposes? Keep in mind this also benefits you, the author, as it makes it easier for everyone to follow along because we now know the end result.
2. My Time Is Short
Not only do readers want to know what they’ll be getting out of reading your column, they want to get it quickly. The reality is that in todays fast paced world, there’s little time to waste. We have instant coffee, instant messaging and we want our information instantly. So it comes as no surprise that the most popular article on Search-This is titled 10 Quick Tips for an Easier CSS Life. The title is hook-line-and-sinker, “Hey it’s just ten tips and they’re quick… and besides, they’re going to make my life easier!… I really should read this.”
This isn’t to say that every blog post should be short, but tell me if this sounds familiar? How many times have you gone to a blog, found a title of a post that sounds interesting, clicked the link and then found yourself immediately scrolling to the bottom to see how long the article was before determining if you wanted to invest the time?
I don’t think a blog post should be a certain length, but I do have a rule of thumb. Make your blog post as short as possible, and say everything that needs to be said, and nothing more.
So the next time you write a blog post, remember that little man on your shoulder perpetually asking you, “SO WHAT?!” and be sure to tell the reader why it’s important to them. Ultimately, I want to leave feeling I’m better off for having read your post. I want to leave feeling empowered. Oh, and make it quick cause I got a dozen other blogs in my reader…