Ever stopped yourself in the midst of writing and wondered, “Will anyone read this blog post?”
I’m not talking about when your writing gremlins send you into a loop of fear and procrastination. (Hint: They don’t usually ask. They straight-up tell you that no one cares what you have to say. ?)
When the real you—the you who cares about your audience—asks this question, you gotta know the answer.
Because a blog post topic no one cares about isn’t doing its job of building connection and trust with your audience.
Here are some practical tips for making sure the answer to that question—“Will anyone read this blog post?”—is a resounding “Yes!”
Imagine you’re at a BBQ. People are milling about shoving coleslaw into their mouth-holes and making conversation.
You leave the food table with your plate loaded up and scan the crowd for a group to join. You see that couple you met at last year’s BBQ. Currently, they’re chatting with a few other people, so you sidle up and start listening to what they’re talking about.
Everyone’s weighing in on that most classic of BBQ debates: Garden Burgers versus black bean burgers. You wait for a pause and then say, “Has anyone tried the Impossible Burger?”
Boom! You’re in.
Writing for your audience is like joining a group at a social event: You need to pick up where the conversation already is.
When it comes to your blog, you’re not choosing among a group of random strangers. You already know a lot about your audience and what they need and want. (Tell me you do. If not, you and I need to chat ASAP!)
Start putting your thoughts together about your audience:
- What are they already talking about?
- What do they care about?
- What questions do they have?
- What issues are top of mind?
Pro Tips for Your Blog:
Listen to your audience.
- Ask them questions on social media or at networking events.
- Follow other bloggers in your industry and check out the topics they’re covering.
- Ask your current customers what’s on their minds.
But Wait… Should You Blog About That?
OK, so now you’ve answered the question of whether or not someone would actually read your blog post. Of course they would! You’ve written about a topic you know they care about.
But should you write that blog post? I mean, does it serve a purpose for your business?
Maybe you could go on for days about plant-based meat substitutes.
But is that a good use of your time blogging for your business?
Only if you can tie it back to your business.
Maybe you’re a health coach. Score! Talking about food options is probably one of your key categories.
But what if you’re a web designer???
In that case, you’d have to look for an artful way to make a connection between what your audience cares about and what you want them to care about.
Now the veggie burger discussion is kinda extreme. If you’re a web designer, I’m sure you can find topics your audience is interested in that are related to web design rather than BBQ fare.
But just go with me here for a minute.
As a web designer, you might tell a story about being at the grocery store and feeling overwhelmed by all the different choices of meatless burgers. You could use this as a way to empathize with your audience and how overwhelmed they feel trying to select a website platform or theme. So many options, how do you decide???
Why the heck would you want to do that? Well, from time to time there might be a topic that everyone is talking about and you’ll want to get in on the buzz.
But more often, you’ll need to use the art of the segue to transition from your audience’s initial thoughts about a topic to their next steps.
If you want to deepen the conversation and the relationship with your audience, your blog has to help them think new thoughts and feel new feelings.
Remember, your blog is how people get to know you and your business decide whether they want to hire you.
You need to shift them from not even knowing you to trusting you.
You need to shift them from having hesitations about hiring you to being ready to pull the trigger.
You don’t have to make wild leaps from veggie burgers to websites. But you do have to curate the conversation and help people understand and relate to topics at deeper levels.
Connecting the dots is what makes you a good storyteller. It allows you to connect with readers and also curate their experience so that you can lead them toward making the transformations they want to make, but aren’t quite sure about yet.
Pro Tip for Your Blog:
Master the art of the segue. Just like in real-life conversations, artless transitions in blog posts make people tune out. Work on bringing the conversation around to your topic gently so you don’t sound like that guy at the BBQ no one wants to talk to. You know, the one who interrupts every story with, “That reminds me of a story about how awesome I am…”
Build Your Brainstorming Muscle
It’s not always obvious how to connect the current conversation to something in your business. It takes practice.
Especially if you want readers to feel like there’s a natural segue rather than a jarring jump from one subject to another.
Think back to that veggie burger convo. Imagine not waiting to hear anyone’s answer to your question and instead saying, “I had an Impossible Burger last night while watching the game. Oh man! Did you see that penalty kick? What do you think the team’s chances are this year?”
People would start awkwardly glancing at their shoes and looking for another conversation. And you’d feel like a spaz.
In your blog, the more you practice making transitions, the stronger you’ll get at it.
Here’s the best way to practice: Brainstorm!
Challenge yourself to come up with as many ideas as you can for connecting topics your audience wants to talk about with topics you want to talk about.
Cultivate a non-judgmental practice of saying or writing down all your ideas–even the stinkers.
You only need one good idea. And you’re much more likely to find it when you generate lots of ideas. Kinda like panning for gold in a river. You have to sift through a lot of mud first. But the more mud you scoop up, the greater your probability of finding that sparkle.
And if you want to build this muscle even faster, brainstorm with blogging buddies or a writing coach. You’re so close to your business that it’s often hard for you to see the connections between your audience’s needs and your expertise. Other people can help you get better perspective
Try. Observe. Blog. Repeat.
Instead of wondering whether readers want to hear what you’re blogging about, get certain:
- Join the conversations your audience is already having and listen.
- Connect your expertise to topics of interest. And get outside perspective and support to see past your blind spots.
- Keep practicing. Keep brainstorming.
At first, using your blog to join conversations might feel kind of clumsy. (Just like talking to strangers in real life.)
That’s OK. Every blogger experiences that. The key is to keep practicing. Notice what’s working.
- Which topics do readers get really excited about?
- How can you write additional posts about those topics providing different value?
- How can you get better at listening to your audience and finding out what they care about?
- How can you become a segue ninja so that you’re always steering the conversation toward your business–without being pushy?
Blogging is an ongoing conversation. The more you do it, the more comfortable you feel. So start now, let it be awkward, and grow into it. I’m rooting for you!