What kind of blog posts should I write? Should I write about more than one thing? How do I divide it up? How much do I talk about myself? These are common questions for businesses starting a blog. One approach is to use the MadPipe 5I’s – or “five eyes”.
Clarity is gold. And clarity is hard to find. If Diogenes were here today, he’d have to wander around with his lamp looking for clarity, before he could even begin the search for honesty. There’s a glut of euphemistic, inauthentic communication. There’s not a glut of communication – just a glut of clarity in communication. So reach for that. When I was a young man, the dentist explained that flossing doesn’t eliminate bacteria – it just disrupts their action, so it’s difficult for them to build plaque. I said, “Oh, like kicking over an ant hill. It wrecks their engineering.” He was delighted. “I’m going to use that!” he said. Lots of people could use that kind of clarity, including your audience.
INSPIRATION – What Did You Learn From Doing Your Job?
A lot of people live their life heads-down, not trying to change or optimize anything. They drive the commodity culture. But the chances are good, that’s not your target market, if you’re looking at how to reach them with content. Your audience IS looking to make things better, or be better, or find something better. Whatever they’re buying – products and services – are more about life, life changes, and lifestyle than any other area of interest. So go there. What inspires you? No fluffy, inauthentic generalities. If you’re going to say you’re inspired by customer service, go look at the liar in the mirror. Something else drives you, that you share with your audience, and you can make a practice of observing it regularly into your blog. Find the things that make you want to change, and bare them ass-naked to your audience. Be real with us about what you’ve learned, not what you know.
INFORMATION – What Knowledge Might Make a Critical Difference?
What you know is important, too. But we don’t want everything you know, and we don’t want all the things you *want* us to know. We want the stuff that will make a difference for us in the things we really want to work on, achieve, or accomplish. Don’t sell us – we can spot the fake, infomercial kind of knowledge that just manipulates us. Give us the stuff that’ll help us do what we want, and we’re more likely to keep coming to you when we need more. Figure out what you can teach someone, and then remember to teach them to fish. Do that, and you can sell bait, or guided tours.
INTERVIEW – What Are We Asking About or Struggling With?
One thing a digital strategist gets asked a lot is what to blog about. And one of the answers is “ask your audience”. Don’t ask your existing clientele so much, either. They’re biased. They’re not representative of the audience you’re missing out on. This’ll be some work. You can ask open ended survey questions in your target market. You can construct target personas and accumulate their concerns and questions – but don’t just go with those, figure out where the opportunities for bending those is. In other words, don’t just operate on the assumption that people won’t change direction, because a more effective competitor will do exactly the opposite – prompt them in a new direction. Put together a plan to consistently empathize with your target audience. It sounds touchy-feely, but the alternative is that someone else resonates with them, and your brand doesn’t.
INTERNAL – What Is Going On Inside Your Business?
OK, so maybe 20% of the time (or less), you can talk about yourself. But make it more than your latest awards, mentions, and promotions. Give us an inside look. We want the ride-along, just like on COPS. Give us the day in and day out tales and adventures of whatever the hell you do – because, until then, that’s what it is. It’s whatever. We have no idea and, if you dig deep, that’s probably an inner complaint you’ve voiced somewhere along the way. Fix that frustration for all of us – let us in. No being superficial – give us the real deal – what’s it like to be you. And if something stood out today in your work, profession, job, or travels – let’s hear it. From snake bite to weird phone call – we’re open for the weird and odd that is you. Don’t think it works? Look at all the TV shows about hospital interns, lawyers, and office geeks. Give us the goods.
If you’re still asking “but what do I write about?” Re-read this article with a notebook and jot down 3 examples for each paragraph. Pick one each and do it. You’re not going to get any clearer until you’ve written a bunch of posts, and that happens by not waiting for the perfect topic, but by writing a lot of imperfect ones. Can’t do imperfect? Who are you kidding? Like you got up today and did everything exactly right! If you did, it’s not a work day – take the day off. But if you’re honest, you live every day on imperfections, so let’s get in action and not make that nonsense reason the barrier.
For straight talk, no pulling punches, and someone to call BS when they see it, get MadPipe as your marketing strategist.