March 3rd, 2008 - by Golgotha

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.

In Conclusion…

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…

18 Responses to “How to Promote Your Blog – So What?”

1 Patrick Burt

Nice post Golgotha, I’ll especially remember the “so what?”, definitely will help not only during my blog, but oral presentations, as you mentioned earlier.

2 Boo!

Thanks for this post, give me alot of ideas

3 John

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?

Every time! If they’re too long, I don’t bother. If they’re quite long but I’m still interested in them, I often leave the them open in a tab and get around to them after I’ve taken care of other articles or tasks that won’t take as long.

4 Golgotha

@Patrick – I agree, the “So what” is critical, yet it’s often forgotten because we assume our audience can see it as clearly as we do. Often they don’t.

@Boo! – great!

@John – yep, I do it all the time too. If they’re too long to read immediately I will bookmark them. But often I never find the time to return and read them…

5 Jack @ The Tech Teapot

Actionable material I think is probably the best material to write and unfortunately, depending upon your niche, the hardest.

6 Fabian

Thanks for this post, I really like your “how to promote your blog” articles!
Very interesting!

7 Business Opportunities Guru

Great post. I agree, it is very important to get to the point of the article quickly in order to captivate the reader. Titles should never be misleading, I will be one of the first to leave a site that is using misleading titles. Thanks for the info.

8 Golgotha

@Fabian – you’re welcome.

@B. O. Guru – thanks.

9 Alvin Nyau

I guess I was lucky to read this. These are what we should do to make people comment on your blog.

Nide one dude, thanks for the info.

10 Jeremy Williams

I occasionally have problems remembering that, sadly. I read an article once that phrased it, “Conclusions first, support later.” They pushed for saying what your posts was going for flat out, and then making your arguments leading to that point afterwards.
Those interested would keep reading, and those who wouldn’t would move on. This makes sense but it’s somewhat counter intuitive. Most writing that we do is the other way, where you build an argument before making conclusions.

11 enyaeire

I believe whatever you post it is best to keep it short and sweet otherwise people will get bored and will want to move on.

12 Edward

You need to write simple and easy. That way, people are gonna read your blog.

13 Matt

Hi, I really enjoyed this blog. I was actually looking more for technical ways to improve my blog, and to market it more, but this took a different slant on that. Definately info I can use in the future! Thanks!

Matt

[…] How to Promote Your Blog – So What? […]

15 Ratz!

So what? So now I have a little guy sat on my shoulder… wonder if he’ll like the chip?

16 Alternative-Therapies

I was looking for more technical ways to promote my blog but I now realise that getting the content right and making sure that anyone who looks at my blog actually enjoys reading it and wants to continue is more important. Thank you.

17 bryan

So what is a great train of thought. Why does anyone care about what I have to offer? I have to ensure my readers enjoy what I am offering on my self-improvement blog.

18 Vivek

Am a newbee blogger from India who just started the first blog just today Oh am not a spanner or yet another blog .
I would say ,a website for other websites and webmasters to learn from ,

Articles here are really good and I would surely apply them in my blogs and would continue to remember “SO WHAT “principle

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