Over breakfast this morning, my colleague suggested that I write a blog post about blogging. “Like giving speech about public speaking”, I thought. Our team’s reasons for blogging are pretty much those of any successful web development firm, “become more visible and relevant to search engines, establish ourselves as thought leaders, stay connected with our clients, attract new business, etc”. Googling the topic, I was deluged with articles and videos like “How to write a persuading blog!”, “How to increase your sales by blogging!” and, “Blogging for dollars, Here’s how!”
What became clear, is that a sizable chunk of our collective consciousness seems to want to twist blogging into another method of selling stuff. Technology always advances faster than our ability to realize what it’s capable of, so it’s not surprising that we still see blogging used as if we were being offered, “Quality, Value and Service!” by the local furniture outlet. (And while I’m at it, is it me or is it surreal that “Renuzit” invites me to their FB page? Really?!)
Blogging will never work in these 20th century ways. By the time we reach our teens, we have search and destroy drones deployed to obliterate commercial persuasion of any stripe. It is of course possible to gain search engine relevance for your business by writing blogs bulging with key phrases and hyper-links (Candy to search engines!) But is this really the best use of this incredible tool?
The real value of blogging is its precise ability to convey truthful, valuable content. If blogging is used for anything less, readers immediately classify it as junk mail and it’s history. Social media potentially has the same power as words spoken between friends. It is “social” media, not “commercial” media. The web is bursting with frantic messages about how to co-opt social media into sales machines. But think of it, how would you like it if you and a friend were having coffee and an acquaintance burst into your booth and cheerfully offered you each ten cents off your next purchase of “Fruit Explosion Bathroom Spray”?
Here are three rules for effective blogging that may help you build a following of like minded friends, who may eventually become loyal customers:
- Don’t blog about what you wouldn’t speak openly of among good friends. Talk about what you feel strongly about, know and/or love. Never persuade, hype, or speak falsely.
- Never write for “an audience”. The kiss of death for a DJ is to speak to “everyone out there”. Everyone responds favorably if you communicate directly to them as a single individual. Blogging follows this same rule. Write as if you were writing to a single individual.
- Offer ideas which enable the prosperity of the reader. If you freely share your knowledge without asking the reader to “buy in to your latest package”, you invite friendships and mutual success.