Creating brilliant blog content has as much to do with your “listening skills” as with your writing skills. Writing can become a very satisfying pursuit to those who love to be in the the flow of their self-expression, but to be a powerful blog writer, you have to write what readers want to know and not what you are dying to say. And that is a fine art in itself! (Those who cannot write, despair not. There are excellent resources available for “ghostwriting”!)
If you’re going to write yourself, the quality of your expression, the perfection of your grammar, the pull of your headline and the craftsmanship behind your writing matters. There’s no doubt you have to get better and better at writing compellingly with time, and the more you write the better you get. But a lot of blog writers don’t realize that power-blogging is not like writing a white paper to get your knowledge or expertise pouring out. Power-blogging demands that you tune in to your readers’ satisfaction points and write for them – and not at them!
I am reminded of a learning session I once had with the great David Ogilvy when I was a cub copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising. One of our team members was recounting a story of how someone’s Rolex watch had fallen off his hand onto the road and it survived a car running right over it. Wow, what a story to make into a powerful ad for Rolex, we all thought. Till David Ogilvy said, “Unfortunately, no one buys a watch because it can survive a car running over it … people buy a watch for things like brand value, because it tells the time beautifully or because it look great on their wrists. So your ad had better be about why the reader may want to buy it rather than what excites you, no matter how incredible your story is!”
Step #1: Producing content of real value to your readers
Have you ever thought deeply about what your reader will see as “true value in your blog writing”? Are we all under an assumption that the our readers look only for what they are searching, and they beaver in only on articles that closely match what they are seeking – and that’s the only way they search? If that’s true then how do we all account for the zillions of times we have set out to search for some answers and then been tempted by a totally tangential piece of writing that took us away from our original search – but actually opened our minds in a way we hadn’t planned for? As power-bloggers do we have ever have a plan for the unintentional visitor who could well become an impulse customer?
The secret to great writing online is that, yes, it must cater to the reader who is searching for some specific answers, and that’s why we do so much of keyword research on Google and hashtag research on Twitter to see exactly what people are searching for and to give it to them. But do we writers also ensure that there is something in the article – a refreshingly new point of view or an innovative approach to something old – that can arrest passing-by readers and hook their attention enough to make them possible converts to our mailing lists?
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