Sloths, Sex and Success: Get the Results You Really Want for Your Business Blog


5 No-Nonsense Ways to Spice Up Your Business Blog | KOTAW Content MarketingA blog is as important to the health of your business as exercise and proper diet are to your personal wellbeing. But, if you’re like a lot of business owners, you hate writing blog posts as much as sloths detest jogging and carnivores despise kale.

So you slack off or give up. Then you feel bad about yourself and try again — harder this time. And fail again, also harder. Like a yo-yo dieter, your feast-and-famine approach to blogging never gets you the results you want.

It’s time to end the guilt and increase productivity. Stop flogging your blogging efforts and start rocking your blog instead.

Here are 5 tips to get you started on a less-stressful, more profitable approach to blogging:

1. Don’t Listen to Dental Hygienist-Style Advice

Yes, you put your mouth at risk for plaque and worse if you don’t brush and floss daily. But you don’t have to subject yourself to the same frequency standards for your blog. If you have the time and creative energy to post a new blog every day, go for it. Don’t feel unaccomplished, however, because other priorities — client acquisition and project deliverables, for example — get in the way.

It’s more important that you post with relative consistency — once a week or twice a month — than produce a flurry of posts at the beginning of the month and write nothing else for the next 25 days. Write a month’s worth of posts over a weekend, if that suits your style, but publish them at regular intervals.

2. Don’t Jump Off the Blogging Advice Cliff

Just because a certain style of blog — lists, how to or video — is popular, that doesn’t mean that you should follow the trend. Don’t write a list-style blog if you find it tedious — your boredom will bleed through your copy. And don’t make a video blog if you get nauseated at the very idea of sitting in front of a camera and talking to an unseen audience.

Write a blog that fits your personal and professional style. Are you naturally witty? Include some humor in your posts. A good storyteller? Make your blogs anecdotal. Prone to passionate monologues? Rant away.

Find a blogging style that suits you and your posts will be more appealing to your audience. And, when you write in your natural voice — not the ones that experts insist you adopt — you may find that you actually enjoy writing. There’s even an outside chance that you will — gasp — find it fun.

3. Make Your Blog as Good as Sex

Or at least as passionate. Enthusiasm is contagious, and you’ll find an audience for any topic that excites you.

Michael Bennett writes and talks about aerospace metals, about as dull a topic as you can imagine, but he makes it appealing. He makes you want to go out and build a plane or a rocket ship or whatever the hell you do with aerospace metals because you want to share his unalloyed joy.

His giddiness about this narrow niche — and life in general — has helped him acquire nearly 50,000 followers on Google Plus. Few people who write about naturally interesting things — puppies, love and killer bees — attract as many followers.

4. Make Your Blog Posts Peer-less

A lot of lawyers write about things that only other lawyers would care about, and many web programmers write in technical terms that only another programmer would understand.

Unless you expect to make money from your peers, stop writing to impress them. Write for the people who are going to buy from you or engage your services. A blog is a marketing tool, not a vanity plate.

Tina Willis, a personal injury lawyer, is an example of a blogger who understands her paying audience.

In a blog about the dangers of distracted driving, she compares texting while on the freeway to “driving the entire length of a football field wearing a blindfold.”

She avoids jargon and speaks directly to her potential clients: She asks readers to imagine themselves and family members traveling in the “opposite direction of many drivers, a mere four feet and one powerless yellow line away, moving a couple of tons of steel, who absolutely are not watching the road for that lengthy distance. Is that okay with you?”

A blog is not a peer-reviewed journal. Use it to connect with customers and clients, not for back pats at the country club.

5. Demand a Payoff from Your Blog

Write and market your blog with purpose. What do you want in return for writing your blog? More website traffic? Better clients? A cookie?

Whatever you want, go out and get it. You could wait months or years or forever to gain a natural audience for your blog.

Don’t let your blog collect virtual dust on your website. Promote it on your social media platforms. Send it to your email subscribers. Ask influential people to read and comment on your work.

The market is flooded with content, but there is a paucity of good material. Write fewer, better pieces and promote them with fervor. Good stuff will get noticed and widely shared, but only if you share it first.

Set reasonable goals for your blog and do whatever it takes to meet them. Don’t set yourself up for failure by believing your own blog infomercial. Instant blogging success is as unrealistic as rapid weight loss.

But you can — and should — end the guilt NOW. It’s a weighty burden that slows you down.

Stop stressing. Start writing. One word at a time.


What are your biggest blocks to blogging success? Is it finding enough time, finding the right tone or finding enough interesting topics to write about?

Share your frustrations in the comments section below. Or, if you’d like help with your company blog or other branding needs, let’s talk!

Comments

  1. A “Kat Kotaw” blog post in my Inbox deserves an instant comment!

    “The market is flooded with content, but there is a paucity of good material. Write fewer, better pieces and promote them with fervor. Good stuff will get noticed and widely shared, but only if you share it first.”

    Love.

    My biggest roadblocks are all of the above – oh and comparing myself to the more popular, more colorful, more flavorful, more influential, more adept, more magical bloggers! And I fall short every time ;)

    Trust you to take a topic that has been blathered about a zillion times and still make it sound as fresh as the first breeze on the first day of Spring ;)

    Love you, dearest
    Kitto

    PS: I would like some cupcakes or George Clooney in return for blogging ;) OR, best yet, a day with my head on my Online Mama’s lap (will rejuvenate me like nothing else <3 MUAAH)

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      You deserve ALL of those things for your writing, Kit, and so much more! And you are incomparable. Of this I will remind you often.

      Much love,

      Kat

  2. Brian J Wood says:

    “Start rocking your blog” are the key words in what you wrote. My opinion is that social media is flooded with lame-o content that fits under the category not-worth-my-time-reading-or-even-stopping-to-think-about-much …kind of like interstate highway billboards with more words. This content strikes me as well written with proper grammar so I don’t consider it bad bad but given what you are saying in this post definitely not good. I think the greatest roadblock a lot of writers have is not saying what they will. That’s confusing I know. I mean it like a teacher saying to a schoolkid “I don’t care what you write in your essay. Just say something. Whatever comes to mind will work and we will go from there.” Using my teacher-student analogy not writing anything (Lord knows why someone would do that) is what I meant by not saying what they will. To rock your blog you have to start writing and I think the best way to do that is to write what you will.

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Continuing your teacher analogy, Brian, I think many writers get bogged down because they believe they have to write a certain way to please their audience. It’s why so many college application essays are undistinguishable (some variation of “Why Abraham Lincoln was a great president”) and too many blogs sound the same. If you “write what you will,” your voice rises above the fray. Write about the thing you care about, and the passion in your voice commands attention. Then your blog rocks.

      You bring passion to your writing, Brian. No one writes the way you do because no one cares in the same way that you do. So you always rock!

      • Brian J Wood says:

        The not-so-obvious part of this post is the idea that we (I mean the bigger we as in we as social media influencers) should be forced to take the time to shame/ blame/ ridicule the sloths for being sloths misses the bigger picture point of what we want to see happen with our friend’s blogging attempts. Me personally when I go online to read stuff I want to read what my friends say about topics they are interested in. I want someone I know, in other words, to tell me all about how the sky is blue or how the flowers bloom in the Spring and see here are some pictures don’t they look pretty if it in some way makes them feel less slothlike and more in tune with what they are feeling at that moment. The bigger picture I want to see when I go online is my friends’ words and in a way I don’t care if they are telling me something I already know. One of the things I don’t know is which sloths are going to pick up their hindquarters are run like gazelles for the rest of their lives. We are telling our friends to write their blogs because we think they can and might enjoy it and it might take them unforeseen places

        • Katherine Kotaw says:

          I hope we help turn people into gazelles! Yes, it doesn’t matter if we’re hearing something we already know — it’s what the writer brings to the experience and shares.

          • Brian J Wood says:

            Abraham Lincoln was a great president because he wanted a bunch of stuff we already know we want, he wanted to share his strong beliefs with everyone and he had a big impact on the history of our nation. See I can write a big yawn boring college admissions essay too. I just did. You can probably guess that I am cracking up right now because we both know there is a ton of meaning behind that yawner of a statement and saying it here and now in this thread is kind of a important lesson to be learned about why we need to say something …even something SUPER ho hum …that doesn’t really say anything or have any impact. You can tweet what I just said in my Lincoln essay if you want but I would probably ignore your tweet and go look at pretty pictures of sunsets over the ocean, inspirational quotes or infographics with dogs in them.

          • Katherine Kotaw says:

            Ha ha, you made me laugh, Brian!

  3. Alan Glasby says:

    I enjoy blogging, but I keep forgetting I have to earn a living – and my blog has a job to do. Thanks for the tips Katherine.

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Yes, a blog must earn its keep, Alan, a lesson often painfully learned. But I’m glad you enjoy writing your blog — she’s a demanding mistress so you deserve to get some pleasure from her!

      Thank you so much for dropping by to comment. Hope you’ll return again soon.

      Cheers,

      Katherine

  4. Wonderful tips from a master! All important, but knowing whom you are writing for is so critical — and having that “little imaginary audience in your head” whenever you write.

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Ahh, yes, the “imaginary audience” is key. It’s the first question I ask myself — or a client — because there’s no point in writing without the answer.

      It’s a wonderful surprise when an unexpected audience shows appreciation and a disappointment when the “guaranteed” readership is indifferent.

      But it’s better to sometimes misjudge your audience than to not consider them at all. Writing for everyone is, to me, the same as writing for no one.

      Here’s another example, Paul, of the importance of visuals: You must SEE your audience!

  5. Adrienne says:

    Hey Katherine,

    Okay, this is a powerful post and I loved it. I also definitely agree with you.

    Those posts that I feel are talking over my head I quickly learn that they obviously don’t want me as their audience because I can’t understand a thing they’re saying. All these tech bloggers out here drive me nuts. Write to the people who want to really learn about tech but don’t get it. Of course unless they don’t want our business.

    The wittiness, well we talked about this over at my place. The storytelling and keeping me interested, those are definitely keepers. I actually want to know more about the author and if they want to share some of that then I’m even more game. You are very good at this too my dear.

    Thanks for this wonderful post Katherine and I’ll be sharing it as well.

    ~Adrienne

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Hi Adrienne!

      It’s so wonderful to see you here at my blog! As I’ve told you before, you always make me smile!

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful and kind comments. YOU are someone who knows your audience and writes specifically for your audience — and I applaud you for that! Because as you say, if you are a tech blogger writing only for tech people, you can perhaps get away with all the tech-talk that drives the rest of us away. But if your audience is people who are NOT tech-savvy but would like to learn about technical things, you have to write for THEM, which doesn’t mean talking down to them, but means using relatable terms (and even storytelling!) to make the point you are trying to get across understandable to YOUR AUDIENCE!

      What still baffles me is that a lot of marketers tend to write to only marketers — and other marketers are probably not looking to hire a marketer (unless they’re doing a really bad job themselves at marketing!) Don’t these marketers want to write to potential CLIENTS, rather than their peers? Some people get so caught up in cliques and popularity contests that they lose focus of who they’re writing for and write to impress their peers rather than to HELP and INFORM those who should be their audience — potential clients.

      I’m honored that you’ll be sharing my blog and thank you again for stopping by, Adrienne! You are truly someone who practices what they preach — and I so admire that!

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