Several dozen of you have requested a sample of what the Blog Topics emails look like. I’ve decided to share with you the first issue of Blog Topics. You can see for yourself whether you think it’s enough to keep you coming back for more week after week. We’ve done four issues so far, and the topics have been varied (You can see the topics at the Blog Topics page).
So, here’s what Issue 1 contained:
Write From the Right Side of the Fence
This week, we’re going to talk about writing for your audience.
Saying that “blogging should be this” or “this isn’t REAL blogging” is silly. Saying blogging is like saying “papering,” because it’s just a verb. It means, “using a web-based application to post information in some form to the web, privately or publicly.” See? Kind of bland.
How you and I will define blogging for the purposes of this program, however, is a bit more defined. The goal of YOUR blogging is to write something that elicits a response from your audience. Thus, if you’re in business, you’ll want a response that helps move your business along. If you’re blogging for personal reasons, you’ll get something out of this program if you are willing to remember that you’re blogging for your community and not for your own self. The biggest goal in what you and I will talk about? How do you turn your readership from an “audience” into a “community.”
I’ve said this before: “The only difference between an audience and a community is how you face the chairs.”
The point in our writing projects, you and I, is to get people to gather those chairs in the first place. Maybe later, after we’ve worked together for a while, we’ll talk about getting people to be more of a community, because even the stone cold salespeople will want a loyal community at some point.
Let me give you some topics to consider. All of these will start you down the path of thinking about your reader. Ready?
In *EVERY* case, for these topics, if you want to tweak them a bit to fit your audience, that’s part of what we’re doing here.
* How I See You – Write a post about who you *think* is reading your blog, and make it a one-to-one type of writing style. Did you notice how I started the second paragraph of this newsletter? “How YOU and I will define blogging for the purposes of this program…” . I said that and you felt that I was writing this only to you. You *know* that others have paid for this program, and yet, the tone is directly to you. That’s on purpose. Try it. And for every post, try writing as if you’re only trying to connect with one VERY IMPORTANT person.
* Our Best Customer – Why not ask for exactly what you’re seeking in a customer? Even if you’re writing about church, you could do this. The premise is simple: write into existence the story of the idea customer or client for your business. And if you’re writing from a personal perspective, why not write about the best type of participant in your blog?
* Your Next Thirty Days – Taking readers on a journey is a great way to build some more participation in your blog. If you start a project where they can follow along, and where they have a sense of where they’ll end up, the results can often be quite interesting. For instance, if you’re writing a blog about cooking, you can talk about recipes for the month of January. Depending on your local climate (if local matters to you), you can talk about what types of foods best complement the weather. Giving people a series to follow along with gives them something to expect and some reason to come back. Make sure to keep an outline for yourself and make sure you give yourself a little bit of prior planning, so that you’ve got posts loaded for however often you post over those 30 days.
* Portrait of Success – Write about a customer, a client, a community member and talk about how they are successful. Don’t directly tie this back to your product or service or whatever it is that YOU do, but instead, really praise that person. Give them the spotlight. Share the stage. Put a picture of them up on your blog, if you can. The benefits to this are twofold: 1.) It’s a nice thing to do. 2.) People appreciate reading about themselves, and they often share it with friends and colleagues, thus garnering you new readers. Both reasons are valid.
* Should Something Ever Go Wrong – Imagine giving your customers or readers or friends a post where you explain ahead of time how you wish they’d handle a break from your typical promised experience. If you’re a pilates studio, you might write about the best way to transition out, or the best way to tell the instructor that things aren’t meshing well between the two of you. Giving your audience a strong understanding on how to deal with what to do when things don’t go as planned is a powerful opportunity to build a relationship before you need it.
Here are some more potential subject lines to spawn posts:
* Things We Might Have in Common – make this a bit personal, so that they know the person behind the product. This works better with an established blog versus a newer one.
* Where Inspiration Meets Execution – talk about what inspires you (or your company) and how you deliver on this inspiration.
* The Benefits of A Relationship With ______ – talk about why giving you their business is the best decision ever. If you’re writing a personal blog, this might morph into a post about your promise to the reader.
* Our Methodology And Where You Fit In – This gives you the chance to explain what else you give your audience that others might not, and/or gives them a sense of what you want back.
* What Matters to You? – My favorite types of posts are those that grow a lot of comments and responses back and forth. This works better on a blog that’s been around a while, but you never know. If you’re ready to try a conversation, try this post. The information is useful, quite often, depending on the level of trust your audience has with you.
* Community Involvement and _____ (you/your company) – talk about what you do to give back.
* Five Ways You Use Our ______ – how do people interact with your products and services? Is there anything of interest to the rest of the community? This is a “serving suggestions” post, and really helps open up new avenues.
* How You Could Make 2011 Better – make this a two-way experience. Tell them how you want things to work, but also give them something of value that they can use in 2011 and beyond .What’s that something of value? What’s a hint or some advice or some guidance or a new resource that will help them move forward? That’s what you’re aiming for.
And that’s it. That’s more than a week’s worth of ideas for you to chew over. Hopefully a few ideas resonate with you.
Next week, we’ll talk about how I structure my blog posts, and see if there are ways that you can snatch bits of it for your own uses. Good?
And thanks for being part of this. The Blog Topics newsletter is here to help you succeed. If you need something else, speak up. Send mail to chris @ chrisbrogan . com and I’ll get back to you shortly.
And That’s How It Work
Congratulations. That’s what you get when you subscribe. Every week is a new adventure. If you’re still on the fence, I can’t help you more than I have. You could risk a whole $9.97, stick around for a month, and then quit. But it’s up to you. I’d love for you to join.