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This is my first advice post for bloggers. Every day I offer a single piece of advice to assist you in your business, marketing and relationship life. Come back on the weekends for music recommendations from the world of independent and world music.
I’m a professional speaker and author. For the last few years, I’ve been honing my speaking skills to further this newfound career opportunity. One of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever received as a speaker came from Nick Morgan: The only reason to give a speech is to change the world (see this previous post for more details).
Up until then, I gave speeches to inform, to charm and sometimes to entertain. What a lack of ambition! When I started to require every one of my talks to “change the audience member’s world”, I started to see my ratings and my business climb. Why? People don’t want to just hear a speech, they want to know what the speaker wants them to DO. So now, every talk is examined for a strong point of view, a call to action and clear reasons why action must be taken.
Since late August of 2006, I’ve added blogging to my work. Many of my friends and readers insisted I start a blog. I held out because many blogs just seemed like digital diaries or living linkfilters. Taking a page from Dear Abby, I decided to offer advice with my blog. What I’ve learned is that blogging and speaking aren’t much different. If you don’t move the reader to action, they don’t come back to your blog very often and they certainly don’t click on your Amazon Affiliate powered recommendations or buy your products. So now my motto is, “the only reason to blog is the change the world.” Every post must display one of my key points of view (Less information is more, Love is the breakthrough solutions for relationships, etc.) and then make a suggestion to the reader (read this book, do this, stop doing that). If I change your mind or your behavior, I’ve successfully blogged you.
Suggestions for modern bloggers:
1. Share your life, but don’t stop at diary entries. Tell us WHY your day to day life instructs us too. Share your stories to make a bigger point. If you have a blog that is just about your family and kids, play Dr Phil and let us know as parents what we can learn from your experience.
2. Make sure your point of view is clear. Tell us what you like, dislike and believe in strongly. Tell us how that point of view was created in your mind and why we should “subscribe” to it.
3. End your posts with at least one recommendation. If you wrote a post to change our perspective, tell us what to do with this newfound view of the world.
4. If possible, tell us what to do in the subject line. If we are just getting a blog feed on the go, that will be helpful. Remember, people make decisions to read your emails based on the subject line (see previous post on how to master the subject line) and they probably act the same way as they troll the blog world looking for good grist.
4. Tell us to visit cool sites/blogs and then tell us what to do with them.
BTW: Asking people to comment, forward your post or just buy your products is not a suggested action that “changes the world.”
If you follow this advice, you’ll see your conversions and subscriptions climb. You will weave yourself into the lives of your readers. You’ll make a difference with your blog. Don’t sell yourself short, you have something to offer anyone. Don’t treat blogging like a habit, treat it like an opportunity to make a difference and change the world.
Recommended read: Blogwild by Andy Wibbels (a basic, but very helpful book for bloggers of all types)