Last week, our director of social media, Ron Giordan, wrote a blog announcing the end of an era for businesses that use Facebook. The Cliff Notes version: Put a fork in Facebook “Like-gating” and turn your energy toward creating content that is consistently engaging. Let’s talk about a few ways we do that with blogs, romancing readers rather than coercing them to like you.
I write blogs for businesses. Sometimes after a day of blogging for three or four different clients, I can barely figure out who I am on the ride home from work. The window replacement guy, the gourmet chef, the jeweler—I really put myself into the mindset of many different “characters” throughout the day in order to blog well for them. I also spend a lot of time imagining myself as their readers. What would they want? How can I make them care? This is how good stories are spun, by mastering the voice and knowing the audience.
Good blogs are like micro-stories
Notice I didn’t say novels, so I don’t expect a lot of readers’ time. That said, I won’t elaborate on specific storytelling techniques here. I’ll just say you be better be or hire a good storyteller if you want a quality blog. It’s one thing to know how to properly structure a sentence or craft a sound business proposal, but it’s quite another to know how to tightly string together words into something beautiful, poignant, thrilling, funny, provocative, or otherwise able to really gut a reader. And by the way, readers like pictures with their stories.
Something I don’t do in blogs is explicitly tell people to like or share the blog. I know some marketers think this is verboten, that you’ve always got to explicitly tell your readers what action to take next. But blogs don’t work like that. Business bloggers are supposed to make readers forget they’re being marketed to. Anyway, show me a reader who doesn’t reflexively look for the “Like” or “Share” button after reading a good blog, and I’ll show you my 98-year-old Great Aunt Rose. (Show me one who likes and shares whatever they’re told to like and share, and I’ll show you my blocked friends list on Facebook.)
Consumers know what to do with good content
They’ve been expertly conditioned to click the little icons that show their approval in a very public way. Simply put, it’s the content creators’ job to exploit that conditioning, to set off consumer impulses, to move people to act rather than extort them to do so. Engagement is rarely cheaply bought or lazily won—not in marriage, and not in marketing. Work your tail off to be engaging, and eventually, consumers are bound to run away with you.