Why Your Blog Sucks (And How to Make It Better)
Blogging for small business…
Well, a lot of content out there bites the big weenie. It’s not you, promise.
You may be an award-winning writer who makes Kurt Vonnegut shake in his loafers, but that doesn’t mean your blog does what it’s supposed to do.
And what exactly is it that a blog is supposed to do? In short, the blogging mission is to deliver valuable content that keeps the audience nodding their head. It’s got very little to do with direct sales, and more to do with conversation.
When you blog as a small business owner, you open a dialogue with your prospects, clients, fans, and fellow entrepreneurs. That conversation (not a sales conversation) comes out of how well you listen, not how often you speak. And yes, that sounds like an otherworldly statement.
After all, how can you possibly be listening while you deliver information? That’s not the case, because your blog topics come from what you’ve heard from your audience. Whether it’s data collection, general feedback, or conversations you’ve had with your target market, blogging begins with information your audience gives you.
Think of it this way: your blog consists of you talking with your audience, as opposed to preaching at them. Here’s a mini case study about how the blog strategies you’re about to read came about…
A few months ago, the Sūmèr copywriters travelled to Phoenix to sponsor #ICON14. While we manned the booth, hundreds of entrepreneurs approached us to talk about one thing: why their blog drew no traffic.
We didn’t say much; mostly, we stood there, looked each individual in the eye, and listened. And that’s why this blog exists—in other words, if the many business owners never told us about their strife, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.
Our marketplace spoke, we listened, and now we deliver. So if you need to decrease your blog-suck, and you don’t see why readers have been shrugging their shoulders, check out these three blogging strategies to engage your audience.
Write with one audience member in mind.
When you think about your target market, you consider their pain points, desires, and needs. You’re not wrong. Whittling down your audience to niche specifications is a great idea. Heck, it’s necessary if you’re going to be successful at this whole Internet marketing thing.
But, you can take it a step further.
Want to see if you’ve got your audience truly figured out? Willing to test out that theory?
Quick: in 10 seconds, describe your customer avatar.
Did you describe only one person? Did you hit every personality trait you could within the 10-second time frame? If you didn’t, you may not have your audience down as well as you think you do.
Your customer avatar is only one person, not an entire audience. We recommend building an entire backstory to this imaginary and important person—give her a name, dozens of specific personality traits. Most important, give your customer avatar hopes, dreams, and pains.
Example: Robbie is a small business owner who’s been working at it for 5 years. He’s seeing success. A lot of success. The more clients who roll in, the higher the demand for content.
Robbie has been caught in the great overwhelm trap. He doesn’t have time to blog, send out email marketing, or nurture his list, because he’s literally spending 11 hours a day providing service to his clients.
Also, Robbie’s from Portland, Oregon. He likes green tea more than Earl Grey. He’s single, works at home, and has two German Shepherds named Bonnie and Clyde.
And that is a customer avatar. When you write only to Robbie, you’ll find that blogging becomes easier and waaaayyyy more effective.
Write a lot about a little.
Write a lot about a little, because people aren’t reading a book with multiple chapters; people want to read about one thing. Seriously, if your blog content consists of twists and turns, you’ll lose your audience fast.
Concentrate on only one subject. Is it OK to add multiple dimensions to one topic? Of course, but unless the information is completely relevant, your blog will go down in a fiery blaze.
Write with bar/living room banter.
When you suck at blogging, it’s because you spew a bunch of facts and strategies without much consideration for your audience. Yes, you’re an expert, and you have important stuff to share, but in doing so, you may be talking at your audience, and not with them.
Remember: listen, listen, listen, listen, listen. And then write.
In that way, you treat your audience with respect. You prove to them that their time is valuable.
But at the same time, so many bloggers write in jargon. And when your content appears in some sort of hieroglyphic code, you won’t have too many readers.
Yes, even if your customer avatar is a person who designs satellite television systems for future residents of the moon, it’s still important to speak with him as if he were a friend.
Think of the “blogging conversation” as something that happens in a bar, or in your living room. Be warm and friendly. Be quirky and daring. Be helpful and relevant.
And that’s what engaging, successful, and wholly awesome blogs do.
Want a blog that draws a dedicated audience who loves how you talk with them? Check out our professional copywriting services.