Most Business Bloggers are Closer to Hitting the Mark than they Believe

Cole Wiebe
December 3, 2014
Read time: 4 minutes

Are you discouraged with your blogging results? You may be closer to the mark than you think.

If you’ve ever played the “hide the thimble” game as a child, you may recall that we began at the door very “cold.” As our search for the thimble brought us closer to the prize, the other players would giggle and tell us we were getting “warmer.” At times we may have been “hot” for several minutes, yet unable to get our hands on the object.

I evaluated the content of a new client last month, and discovered she had diligently written one great post or article after another, for months on end, without an appreciable increase in traffic, subscribers or leads.

It was technically solid writing. The spelling and grammar were fine. The information was carefully researched and factual. The writers had demonstrated a high level of expertise and there was a strong call to action. Each post had been promoted through several social media channels. They were so close, but something was missing.

You are unique, you are special, and people are interested in what you have to say

Readers respond to people they have grown to know, like and trust. What we were looking for was the “personal connection” that was somehow absent.

Blog writing, Vancouver, BC

There’s a popular venn diagram that has been circulated through the web for a few years, in which three circles intersect: knowledge, experience and passions/desires. It’s in the small centre intersection that we find personal connection, the sweet spot of engagement.

Let’s look at them for a moment:

Knowledge

This is where well-researched, factual information comes into play. It can take many forms, like news, answers to frequently asked questions, educational articles or product information.

Well written, informative articles do provide value to the reader, but in themselves are unlikely to build a following, stimulate engagement or encourage sharing.

My own blogging journey had a very slow start because I focused too much on providing quality, factual information. I’m the first to admit, it was seriously dry reading.

Experience

One of the buzzwords we keep reading about is story telling. Many business bloggers believe this means boasting about themselves, their many years of experience,  problem-solving capabilities and achievements. Your readers don’t want to read “your” stories.

It’s when you share your customer’s stories, and their interests, through your brand that your audience will begin to resonate with your content. As they begin to see themselves as the heroes in the upcoming chapter, you’ll capture their imagination. You want them to respond to a post, a photo or video by thinking, “Hey, that’s totally me! I should tweet this to Joey.”

For that to happen, you must know your audience personas inside and out. Red Bull has done an exceptional job of making their stories all about the customer.

Passions and desires

People don’t generally follow products and services. They connect with real live people who have passions, desires, disappointments and triumphs, just like they do. When your readers discover that you’ve had the same challenges, and you found a better way, they’ll want to follow your journey, so they can experience the same outcomes.

Don't be afraid to weave your personality, opinions and perspective into your posts.

Final thoughts

Many of the bloggers I've coached over the past years feel inadequate. They believe the results they've achieved have been below expectations because they suck as a writer. They suffer from imposter syndrome.

Connecting with prospective buyers is more important than brilliant composition. Acceptable spelling, grammar and style are accessible enough. There's even an app for that. 🙂

Often, business bloggers are closer to the mark than they can possibly imagine. One of the three circles may be missing from their approach. Something as simple as shifting their stories from the company to the customer can make all the difference in the world. Dig deep. What questions are your prospective customers asking? What are their fears and concerns? What teaching do they require. And now, how can you connect with them and answer those questions with complete transparency, honesty and authenticity?

Blogging is all about your "voice", rather than acquired "professional" writing skills. We respond to the content when we connect with the person behind it.

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.
— Richard Bach

Always remember that when you improve the outcome for your readers, your "hope it's good enough" writing may have become a their "awesome." Ask yourself, "Have a I included personal connection in my post? Will they come away 'feeling' something, and committed to taking some form of action?" Your audience wants to live richer, more fulfilling lives. The actions they are inspired to take need not involve a purchase from your company... at least not right away. You have the opportunity to educate and inspire.

If you hate writing, but feel you must to promote your brand, then hire someone who specializes in writing great content your readers will love. But if you have a story you feel you must tell, then you must share it.


Cole Wiebe, content marketing expert, Vancouver, BCCole Wiebe helps brands and professionals grow their influence and value online; so they can “out content”™ their competition. Cole is a content strategist, content writer, conversion copywriter and online marketing coach.

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18 comments on “Most Business Bloggers are Closer to Hitting the Mark than they Believe”

  1. Hey Cole,

    I've got to admit that I can relate to this, and it just comes to show that even though "Content is King", there is so much that goes into blogging that does not have to do with content. That is where the Venn diagram comes in.The passion, experience, passion and desire need to be worked on r built upon in order to create an authority on something - and that's when the content will get noticed.

    1. Hi Amiti,

      I'm glad you could relate to the post. One of the biggest objections I get from clients is that they believe including their life experiences, passions, desires, feelings and opinions will make the writing "unprofessional." Our audience is made up of three dimensional human beings that have more going on in their lives than being our customers. And they connect with other living, breathing, feeling humans. It's easy to forget that and focus only on the information and sales angle. It's certainly happened to me.

      Cole

  2. When I first started blogging I was trying to sell my products. Now I do analogies about business promotions that relate back to my industry. I now have a nice network of people and have also gained business. Building relationships will enhance your position on the internet.

  3. Hi Cole,

    What you suggest in regard to the personal connection is very true. People most definitely respond to someone they know rather than just pure knowledge and content.

    I have noticed that for many, as they are starting out there is a reluctance to let people get too close in case they are exposed as being new to marketing when, in actual fact, this can be the very thing that appeals to some people. They are intimidated by the 'gurus' or those with more experience and can relate to someone who is maybe only a step of two ahead.

    Thanks for the great article.

    Donald

    1. Hi Donald,

      I've seen the "guru" phenomenon you describe many times.

      A well established website publishes incredibly well-researched and meticulously written content on a very regular basis. This is a true expert. Everything is incredibly professional, and every piece of content is cleared with their branding department and legal. Every claim has been credited with a link to the website where the data originates in a bibliography at the footer. Flipping back through the blog, I'll discover that there may be one or two comments to the hundreds of Wikipedia-quality posts. And searching through the top four social networks, it appears nobody has ever shared a single post, although the author has taken the time to announce each post release on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. The on-page SEO has been conducted with equal attention to detail, which accounts for the high Google ranking that brought me to the website.

      Next I check out a really popular blog by a relative newbie, that admits that he's learning the material as he goes along. His style is chatty and friendly. He may open a post by including a personal humorous story. There are videos, complete with bloopers. This guy gets at least fifty comments to each post, and dozens of shares. His Contact Me page states that unfortunately he will be unable to take on any additional client work for the next six months, as his schedule is absolutely slammed.

      People will check out reference material if they're looking for an answer, but they follow people. In the end, most of us buy from people we know, like and trust. The solid information sites usually only score on one: trust.

      Cole

  4. Yeah knowledge is the most important thing which make us unique in the crowd and creativity plays a major role with knowledge.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. An extremely well written article Cole!

    And you offer some very sound advice as well! I can certainly relate to analogy about the game, in which you may be ever so warm, but just not quite where you need to be!

    And I will try and apply your excellent advice about the types of stories that I share.

    And be mindful to try and make them more engaging to my readers!

    Thanks! It's so easy to forget several of the excellent points that you've shared!

    1. Hi Mark,

      Glad you enjoyed the post. In the movie "You, Me and Dupree," Dupree (played by Owen Wilson) referred to that sweet spot, where our knowledge, experience and human essence come together as our inner “ness.” It's the embodiment of everything we can bring to our relationships and content.

      I do a lot of ghost writing for clients, and one of the greatest challenges I have is convincing them to let me include some of their inner "ness" in their posts. To be their "voice," I invest myself into getting to know not only their business but who they are. Many believe that it's not "professional" to be that human, and that can be a costly mistake.

      Cole

  6. Cole the importance of story telling as it relates to customers cannot be over emphasized. You did mention that point in your comment on the post I wrote title: Irresistible Power of Story Telling.

    As you mentioned, brands that have been able to connect to their audience through stories have been able to win more loyal customers especially when the stories capture the actions of the customers as Red Bull has done.

    When customers relate with the experience of a brand they easily connect and that's when it become easy for a post or video to go viral.

    Thanks once again for a powerful reminder.

    Peter

  7. I'd not seen that diagram before Cole but it makes a lot of sense to me.

    There are a lot of "stuffy" blogs out there that have no personality and no-one to read them. People engage with people and their experiences. They want to get to know someone before they buy and feel they've made the right decision.

    I often think of writing a blog post more as having a chat over a coffee or a beer with someone. I'm not giving a lecture, I'm having a friendly chat. That way, I only think about speaking to one person, the reader.

    1. Hi Tim,

      You're right; a blog post should be a friendly conversation. Back in the 60's, ad agencie execs would invite a client in, offer them a fine Cuban cigar and a glass of premium Scotch, and then they'd discuss the campaign. A few refills of the glass and they were discussing hobbies, sports, and family vacations. I'm not sure why it's become so difficult to convince modern business owners that it's okay to ditch the pitch when blogging, and that providing valuable information in the form of a conversation is very "professional."

      Cole

  8. Hi Cole,

    That diagram tells it all! It takes all three, knowledge, passion and experience to effectively communicate with others.

    I've seen many blogs that are very knowledgeable, but are so boring, I have to read them twice! We, as bloggers are writing for our readers. Yes indeed, we want to share knowledge to them, and also share our experience, and passion about something.

    But there is a fine line. We need to write to people not to ourselves! We always have to keep others in mind no matter if we are writing a blog post or sales copy.

    -Donna

  9. Hey Cole,

    You hit the nail on the head with this one my friend.

    I think I've seen this diagram before and this is so true too. It's the perfect example of having fabulous content yet no one reads it, comments on it or shares it. People have to show up but you have to give them a reason to and make them feel like you're speaking just to them. That's the way to really get their attention, I agree.

    I love this message and post Cole, you did great with this one. It's funny how it's taken so many people a while to finally understand this. Okay, it took me awhile too really but better late than never.

    Great share, thanks and have a wonderful week.

    ~Adrienne

    1. Hi Adrienne,

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post. You just inspired me to go over my last post again. It reflects my knowledge and experience, but I think it's weak in my own passions and desires. Did my readers gain a greater understanding of my own struggles and journey from the post, and will the inclusion of my own story inspire them in some way to aspire to greater things? Hmmm.... It's something I'm still working on.

      Cole

  10. I think getting your voice to come through is very important. As you say, readers need to connect with a real person.

    It can be easy for some to do this. Others find it a real challenge.

    I think a lot of people in business are in the latter group. That's because they think it's important to be "businesslike". They're in a formal, work mode and not a relaxed, personal one.

    1. Hi Matt,

      So true... I took my car in for service a few weeks ago. As I sat in the customer lounge, sipping on my espresso, I observed salespeople engaging with prospective buyers. They chatted, brought out coffees and laughed. But I'll bet if these same sales professionals wrote a blog post, they'd feel compelled to put on their "business" hat and write ultra-stuffy, factual content.

      Cole

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