Monday, May 09, 2011

Why Doesn't Your Blog Click?

Blogs...are becoming close to necessary to a writer's profession. Facebook and Twitter can substitute, but only if the writer is rabidly on top of them, shooting them full of witticisms, current issues, or advice that are sharp and not regurgitated. And even then, a writer still needs a static website. Yep...a blog is pretty much a necessity now.

I see three problems with most writers in terms of blogs:

1. They don't have a blog.
2. They don't keep the blog updated. (A minimum of weekly.)
3. The blog has no theme except "this blog is about me and my writing."

All three of those scream lack of respect for the current or potential readership.

I read writing, educational and business blogs and newsletters. In my profession, I feel I need to learn from my writing peers, teachers and entrepreneurs. I'm not in this business just to write. I'm in it to earn a living and deliver information. See the connect?

Education blogs teach me how to deliver a message and motivate the student. Business blogs guide me on how to build a clientele, provide a service, and do it profitably. So when Donna Amos wrote on how to close a sale, I took notice.

There are six main Components of the sales appointment. 

1. Build Rapport/Make a Connection      1-3 minutes
2. Engage! Where are they & where do  20-30 minutes
   they want to be.
4. Explain How You Can Help Them      4-5 minutes
4. Validate Your Value                            4-5 minutes
5. Negotiate                                              5-15 minutes
6. Ask for the Business                            1 minute
                                           TOTAL         35-60 minutes

What does this have to do with you? It shows you how other people sell other things. You are selling stories and writing expertise. Look at the proportion of time spent on each step.

Note that you only talk about yourself when you validate your value and ask for the business. And if you consider the time involved, that's about 10% of the time you spend marketing. You utilize the rest of the time to engage the customer, determine his needs, and court him to follow you. In other words, your blog and marketing efforts should be 90% about your reader, not you.

I receive emails, tweets and FB messages daily that are 90%:

My book is out
Buy my book
Help me make sales

Using the above formula, if you say Buy my book, you must write 27 additional words for the reader and not about you. The more words you write about you or on your behalf, the more words you have to write for the reader. Words that engage him, make him feel good, convince him that the story or service is one to die for. Why do you think copywriters need testimnials so badly? Why do you think editors want those golden blurbs on the back cover? They provide those 27 additional words - that other 90% - without saying Buy this book.

Think of a Coke commercial. It's all about feeling good, being refreshed, having a great time, enjoying life. Nothing says Buy this product.

So, when it comes to a blog, what's in it for the reader? Believe me, everyone already knows what's in it for you.


Anonymous said...

Great post. Thank you xx

Sioux Roslawski said...

Great advice, Hope. You have to woo the reader. It reminds me of a colleague I once worked with. She only spoke of herself--every word, every sentence--you could never get a word in edgewise about yourself. After a summer of being apart from each other, everyone had fun "catching up" and finding out what everybody did for their vacation. Not this woman. She had photos of HER trip, and gave a long, detailed account of her adventures, yet never bothered to ask what other people did, nor did she pause to take a breath long enough to let other people talk. No one wanted to get stuck sitting next to her.

And no one will want your book if you don't connect with THEM first. A writer has to hook up with the public as people and readers before hooking up with them as buyers...

Carissa Andrews said...

Terrific post! Thanks for writing this and reenforcing what I've been thinking. So many authors (heck, anyone who wants to sell something) forget that we need to engage with people in addition to the hype. Great morning read! :D

Sioux Roslawski said...

You are so right. As a writer, and a seller of our writing, we have to connect with people as people and readers first...Then we can hook up with them as buyers.

Lindsay Gage Natale said...

Your blog is perfect example of this! Excellent advice. Thank you! I read your blog daily and learn a ton.