One Trick to Make Blog Writing Much Easier
By Jennifer Oladipo
Aahhh, the company blog. It can either be a great tool for connecting with your audience, or an embarrassing, half-hearted collection of stuff. Organizations end up with the latter when they don’t get clear on whom they’re blogging for, or why.
So how do you figure that out? The trick is to stop thinking about your audience or customers, and start thinking about your club. Why? Because clubs are fun. And, clubs are clear.
Forget your audience and ask, who’s in our club? What do club members chat about when they get together? What do they need to know so that they can go about clubbing it up with better insight, more resources, tools or connections? What’s what do they want to accomplish. Get existential: why does the club even exist?
What’s the difference?
Now, get literal. If you picture an audience, it’s usually a group of passive people absorbing information from a single point for a pre-determined about of time. Think of 100 people watching a movie theater screen, or 500 listening to keynote speaker at a conference: they’re sitting passively, with little chance to interact. Such one-way communication has limited power to continually impact people’s lives and work.
A club, on the other hand, is all about showing up, engaging and sharing. Club members share information across multiple directions, make decisions together, and push together toward a common goal that everyone understands and values. So, when you’re communicating with that group, it’s a whole different story. You need to show that you understand and share their goals, and that your organization helps club members reach those goals.
Okay, so what do I write?
People love practical information that helps people get things done with or without you. (That might sound weird, but you know what sounds weirder? Constant sales pitches. People hate that. Don’t you?) They really want to know that you’re hearing what they have to say and responding. If you’re doing a good job connecting with your club members – staying curious enough to ask them questions as you interact, and thoughtful enough to listen to their complaints – they’ll be thrilled see the results on your website.
Yeah, but how do I know what they want?
Ask. Get nosey.
I’m writing this as I fly back from a client’s conference – one of several each year. These events require long hours, but they are invaluable for understanding their club. The client is a large corporation with several different customer groups, and I’m struck by how each conference has its own vibe, pace, demographics, jargon, and even eating and drinking habits. They’re like clubs, no doubt about it.
I keep those experiences in mind while I’m thinking about how to help the client communicate best.
- Did people talk about common business problems? Address those and say expressly that we overhead the conversation at the last conference A.K.A. club meeting.
- Was there some new tool technology the majority of people were interested in? Break down for them how it works, and how to make decisions about integrating it into their business.
- Was there industry news, or even a political topic everyone kept talking about? Let’s write about how that issue impacts your readers.
- Did the group joke around a lot? Then you can possibly be more casual in the communication.
- Did they all talk about being pressed for time? Maybe we should publish a list that can be quickly absorbed.
If you feel like you don’t know enough about your club to take this approach, then it’s time to get your team to start asking better questions and being better observers. Your blog posts should be a direct reflection of what you know about your club and its needs and interests. Focus on that, and it’s not so tricky after all.