Let’s face it, there are a lot of bad blogs out there! Some fluff, many garbage and most self indulgent (am I being harsh?).
Ok, but it needn’t be that way. Your blog can actually be great for your market if it helps others, and great for your Google ranking, which has a positive return for your whole business.
So why do most blogs stink like one month old fish bait?
Classically, there are three basic flaws:
- No defined purpose. Blogging for the sake of blogging, or because a marketer told you to.
- Narcissism. Yes, the old “me, me, me” syndrome. No one cares about you, or what you do (get used to it), they only care what’s in it for them.
- Self-promotion. Sell, sell, sell. Your blog is not your website, it’s a blog. It’s not an infomercial so don’t treat it like one. Forget about blatantly using it to sell. The old “Look at our product. Isn’t it great. Our customers love it, so buy it now” approach won’t wash.
Enough on the bad blogs, so what makes a great blog?
Simple really, a great blog provides useful information that is aimed at a very specific audience. This is what influences and attracts better customers. A great blog does this in a ridiculously generous manner. A great blog gives it all away.
As an inbound marketing tactic, think of a blog as a business building weapon. I often encourage or coach my clients to consider one as part of their overall strategy.
So what is the key to success if you plan to blog?
It’s very simple: basic storytelling.
Where’s the tension and conflict? Good movies or stories have a hero and a villain. There is plot, a story arc. Someone once said: “Without conflict, writing is propaganda.”
Great novels and movies all possess these elements – we love to be engaged quickly – the exciting first scene or first page, even the first sentence. Often it’s a character in conflict with themselves (I couldn’t go one more day…) or it’s one lead in conflict with others (Iron Man versus pure evil).
A great example of a story
Here’s an engaging example of a storytelling TV Ad for Audi, which aired during the recent Super Bowl. Watch it and you’ll see all the elements of a story told well:
- An unhappy and insecure graduate goes without a date on senior prom night.
- A cool dad who has a new Audi S6 and lets him have it for the night.
- His confidence builds with every mile.
- A changed man pulls up at the prom.
- Then confrontation followed by a resolution, all in one minute.
Nice? This copped over 10 million views on YouTube!
A great local storytelling blog post
For another example of a story-based blog post, check out “How to be a better content marketer, tell stories like a boss” by Denise Mooney. A great Melbourne writer who doesn’t need to be told by me how to write a blog post!
Her blog, making reference to Bruce Springsteen, inspired this post. Check it out.
Effective storyteller tips
To get you crafting a better story, here are a few ideas that will have people paying attention to your writing rather than just seeing it as propaganda and ignoring it.
1. Don’t merely create copy: Start a story by imagining you are with friends and they ask you to explain a little about what you do. Use the type of language you would employ to hold a friend’s interest.
2. Put the features and benefits of your service/products to the side: Think about the customer’s perspective and focus on the way your service/product solves their problems.
3. Find a bad guy: Who in your market (remember it should be relevant) could be the baddie? Government regulation? A big company who undercuts everyone and offers zero service? Weave them into your story.
So who were the villains and heroes in this blog post?
Audi and the The Boss (Denise Mooney) were the heroes and the example of blatantly using a blog to sell was the villain. Telling a story like this is not so easy to do, but it is more engaging.
About the author
Peter has a ridiculous amount of marketing and communications experience. He is an inbound marketing advocate and passionate about branding. Above all he is the driving force behind Creative Brew and a proud dad.