Better Blogging: Singalong With Social Distortion

Better Blogging: Singalong With Social Distortion

It appears I’m making a return to my better blogging with lessons from some of my favorite songs. This time out I’m sharing blogging (and social media marketing) lessons we can learn from longtime punk rock storytellers Social Distortion.

As I started my research for this, though, it became obvious that so many blogging lessons could be tied to the story songs written and sung by these hard living rockers. It became obvious that this would have to be a two-part article.

So, without further ado, here’s the first part!

Better Blogging With A Little Help From Social Distortion

I Wasn’t Born To Follow

The lesson learned from this song ties into another music-themed article I wrote last year, looking at the idea of standing on the shoulders of giants. If you want your blogging to mean something to your readers, you can’t simply follow the leads already left by other, more influential authors. You have to take what you’ve read, learned and discussed and then write about it with your own intent and purpose.

Simply regurgitating the ideas of others won’t make you stand out from the content marketing crowd. To lead as a blogger you have to create something new and meaningful tied to your own ideas, your own opinions, your own research, trials and tribulations.

Gonna change the world, gonna turn the page
Gonna say what I feel, let out this rage, get ready
we’re going down, down to the streets below
I said “goodbye to the masses, I wan’t born to follow.

Reach For The Sky

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big. It’s actually rather intrinsic when you consider the entrepreneurial path. However, when it comes to your blog and your articles, are your big dreams and ideas working toward an outcome that will benefit your future?

Your blogging has to have an intent and purpose beyond being seen, beyond reaching for the sky by sharing that superb read that goes viral.

When I was young I was invincible,
I find myself now thinking twice,
I never thought about no future,
its just the roll of the dice.

Is your blogging getting in front of the eyes that will actually become leads, prospects and paying clients. If it isn’t, it might be time to craft a more considered plan for your future publishes that actually looks toward future lead generation and sales.

Gotta Know The Rules

Rules to blogging? There are a few. While there are many difference voices, many different ways to deliver your message with your own unique signature, there are a few hard and fast rules that the most successful bloggers stick to.

One of them is simple, but often forgotten. You have to give something back with your blogging. Or you must pay it forward.

Looking at your blogging efforts solely as a means to promote your personal brand, your business or your products or services will leave your audience with cold feelings (another Social Distortion song – I’m on a roll).

Loads of people go
Through life thinking
Take what you can and leave the weak behind
Never stop to think
What can you give now
Too afraid to learn what you might find, yeah, yeah, yeah

Story Of My Life

You probably thought I’d start out with this song, but I feel it’s a better closer to the article.

Yes, we’re better bloggers and our blogging efforts get more shares when we manage to tell a story. But the premise of this song is a little bit different. It reminds you that life goes by in a flash and we can’t ever get back those days and moments past. Thus, we need to live them at the time.

You’ll be a better blogger and have much more meaningful stories to share if you remember to regularly unplug and actually enjoy the life that allows for those stories.

Life goes by so fast
You only want to do what you think is right.
Close your eyes and then it’s past;
Story of my life

Hope you enjoyed that short singalong with one of my favorite bands. At the same time I hope it reinforced some ideas and tips that will remind you why you started blogging in the first place.

Let’s make 2015 the year we all stand up, stand behind and stand out with our articles and shares. Make them real, make them relatable and make them resonate!

Explicit Content: It’s More Than Potty Mouth!

Explicit Content: It's More Than Potty Mouth!

The title’s correct! It’s not link bait to draw you in then leave you disheartened, distrustful and disappointed.

I am ACTUALLY writing about explicit content today, especially as it pertains to the launch of my new podcast: Ready, Set … PODCAST!

Explicit Content! More Than Dropping F-Bombs!

Every once in a while you see an article making the rounds across the blogosphere and social media feeds. That article calls out the use of explicit language in blog posts and marketing materials. Such language is:

  • unprofessional
  • dumbing down language
  • offensive
  • etc.

Did you know that if you look up explicit in the dictionary, there are few, or sometimes – NO, references to potty mouth or swearing?

One of my go-to sites, Merriam-Webster shares:

Full Definition of EXPLICIT

1 a : fully revealed or expressed without vagueness, implication, or ambiguity : leaving no question as to meaning or intent
b : open in the depiction of nudity or sexuality

2 : fully developed or formulated

3 : unambiguous in expression

4 : of a mathematical function : defined by an expression containing only independent variables — compare

While my writing style might give off a resounding WTF vibe, I rarely drop F-bombs. In fact, the only time I do is when I hurt myself in a stupid fashion. You know, walking into the door jamb, stubbing my toe, whacking my head on a low, open cupboard door. That kind of thing.

Most of the time, any explicit language you see on my posts is my own made-up alterations to commonly used swear words of a more benign sort.

Example: I often request that marketers refrain from engaging in activity that can be described with two of my favorite altered terms, jackassery and asshattery.

I’ve never been told by any of my readers, in private or in public, that my explicit language offends them.

Not Swearing? How, Then, Can Explicit Content Be Offensive?

This is just my best guess, I don’t have any metrics to back it up, but … I think people are offended when someone strongly, assertively, and without pulling the punches discusses the negative impact of an action or activity that the reader embraces as standard operating procedure.

This goes back to the definition of explicit shared above. When your content is direct, to the point and implies anything negative, people start to think you’re writing about them personally. No matter how careful you are to call out actions, rather than individuals.

That leads me to think that these people feel somewhat guilty for their actions, but again, that’s just my personal take.

I’ll Remain Explicit In 2015

So, after looking carefully at the definition(s) of the term, I will continue to adhere to my explicit content policy in 2015 and beyond. My new podcast, Ready, Set … Podcast, will have an explicit rating, because both my partner Brooke Ballard and I will occasionally use explicit language to make a point. Not because we think it’s cool, or because we want to be edgy.

We use the language we use because it’s real and authentic and that’s how we actually speak.

And my blog posts going forward? Same explicit content style. No ambiguity about what I think or the ideas I share.

Let’s lose the idea that explicit is simply the opening up and expelling of swear words. It’s a lot more than language that would have earned you a mouth washed out with soap as a child.

Your Turn …

Does explicit language, used well with the proper intent and purpose, bother you? Chime in with a comment!

Benefits Of Creating Content: 5 Reasons To Get Busy!

Benefits Of Creating Content: 5 Reasons To Get Busy!

You hear it over and over again. Content is KING. Content is the key to increase reach and make impressions. But you’re still waffling about blogging – or creating other types of content, like videos, images or even podcasts. You just can’t seem to make the time to create content on a regular basis. Why?

Maybe you’re busy? Running your own business takes time. A lot of time. But …

Content Creates Opportunity!

Here’s hoping that one, or more, of these five content creation benefits will sway you to add creating content to your busy schedule!

1. Unique content (what you write, record or design – rather than what you share) gets visits to YOUR site. Your website! The hub and hallmark of your digital real estate. And visits to your site might lead to someone taking action (you know, via a Call to Action), which just might land you a prospect or solid lead!

In the end we’re all in business to make money, in order to sustain our lifestyle. Prospects and leads are crucial to finalizing a sale and bringing in the paycheck!

2. You want people to add themselves to your lists, right? Of course. Your list is something you own and it won’t go away unless you do something really stupid.

But, in order to get them on your list, you have to – YES – get them to your site. Content you’ve created is a big draw when it comes to creating clicks that land eyes on your site.

If the content you’ve created is compelling, they’ll want to see more. This just might prompt site visitors to sign up for regular updates.

3. Social media shares generally don’t get as much reach and response as unique content, be it an image or a link to an article or video. Social media marketing and smart sharing is valuable to your overall marketing efforts. Creating content for your social media platforms, content that drives prospects back to your site, your calls to action and your list building efforts is crucial.

Even Twitter allows for visuals and video.

4. Content creates conversations. Taking a stand on an issue, sharing your unique perspective or taking on the devil’s advocate role can create a conversation or discussion. Discussions and the further sharing of ideas can often spark interest in other things you have to say and share.

5. Content creates influence.

What’s influence? It’s that special something that comes when the content you share strikes a chord, is highly valuable and generates trust.

Sharing the content of others is great, and shows you’re generous and on top of your industry. But creating content that inspires is one of the best ways to gain an influential position and credibility in your target market.

Hopefully one of these five content creation benefits will strike with the AHA moment needed to make creating content one of your main marketing pursuits!

Marketing Moment: When Perfect Isn’t Plausible

Marketing Moment: When Perfect Isn't Plausible

It feels like every time I turn around I see another article touting top tips for crafting or creating “perfection.”

The topics range from creating the perfect blog title to setting up the perfect profile on specific social networks. Maybe it’s about the perfect time to post on Facebook or the perfect day and hour to send off your email newsletter.

Let’s Put Down Perfect!

My issue with these posts is the idea of perfection. The tips themselves are, more often than not, quite valuable, and when applied should bring some positive results. But the idea that there is a perfect profile or a perfect title that will reap serious rewards for everyone if they simply follow a formula is misleading at best and debilitating at worst.

Perfect is quite often subjective. Especially when applied to tasks or creations that are multi-faceted (although diamonds are multi-faceted and they can be perfect – WAIT … back on topic).

What’s perfect in my eyes, my thoughts, my ideas … well, it just might be flawed in yours. The same goes for your audience and how they perceive what you share, send, submit and publish.

The Wonder of What Works (And What Doesn’t)

I’m often amazed, even after engaging in social media marketing for so many years, when I’m completely wrong about how a post will “do.” Admit it, you’ve been there!

The article you thought would incite a riot of commentary and discussion goes over like a lead balloon. Never floats. Simply sits heavily until it loses all its air. Yes, I know the guys on MythBusters managed to float a lead balloon, but they’ve got a bunch of science knowledge and geeky toys that we don’t!

Then, the post you thought would generate a tiny bit of polite interest, a couple likes, maybe a share or two, erupts into huge debate and discussion.

Sometimes it can seem that there’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to what works!

Perfection Paralysis

There’s no governing body sharing a checklist for the perfect post or share. This means, too, that there are no points being awarded social media feeds for that perfect post or share. Except in our own minds.

If we get too stuck into the premise of perfect, we might find ourselves pausing too long before we take action. Planning for perfect, to me, is a form of analysis paralysis. We’re so focused on the crafting of perfection that we forget perfect is all in the eyes of the beholder. And our audiences are made up of a bevy of beholders, each with their own unique take on what’s tempting, topical and terrific.

Stop Deleting Imperfect Posts!

I know many social media marketers who, if a post doesn’t get enough engagement (enough is as subjective as perfect, actually), choose to delete the post. As if it never existed.

This saddens me. It’s quite robotic and inhuman. Duds happen to us all. They show that we’re engaging in a little trial and error testing, seeking out what actually interests those with whom we hope to converse and engage.

And, honestly, we all know when someone deletes a dud. What was once on the Internet is not soon forgotten simply by clicking the delete button!

Perfect Isn’t Plausible!

Perfect might very well be possible, but is it plausible? If we constantly strive for perfect, never allowing for some testing of what might fail, might we not miss out on something near perfect, just plain old good, that might really appeal to our audience?

Do you have a penchant for what you perceive to be perfect? Does it ever cause perfection paralysis, keeping you from publishing a post or sharing an idea across social media channels?

Social Smarts: Rant With Relevance

Social Smarts: Rant With Relevance

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, only occasionally poking your head out when Anton or Derek publish an article, completely missing everything I’ve ever published, you already know that I have a reputation for the rant.

rant

verb (used without object)

1. to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave.

verb (used with object)

2. to utter or declaim in a ranting manner.

Rant With Relevance

I’m not going to deny that I frequently rant, but my rants are delivered with careful intent and purpose. Ranting simply to rant soon loses any appeal.

A well intentioned rant is a vehicle to deliver knowledge. It’s a means for generating discussion. The intent is to entertain while you educate, in a punchy fashion. The purpose is to bring to light a mistake or misconception in the hope of enlightening the reader to other options.

If your rant isn’t relevant, meaning it doesn’t offer up solutions to the issue that caused it, you’re using the power rant with nefarious intent. You’re hoping only to draw eyes to your site. It’s click bait.

Your audience is smart, they’ll soon be on to such tactics and it won’t bode well for you.

Rethink that Rant!

Even with the proper intent and purpose behind the rant, they sometimes go awry.

You might want to reconsider your rant if:

1. It’s a topic already really well ranted by your peers and colleagues and your rant adds nothing new or interesting. There’s nothing like latching on to what’s popular and hanging on with a death grip. Wait, actually – that’s not such a good idea!

If it’s been said and done, it’s been said and done. Possibly better than you could say it yourself. Possibly by someone with a very large following that has spread it far and wide. If this is the case the discussion you are hoping to generate has already taken place. You’re simply rehashing what worked for someone else.

If you can’t add to the argument with your own unique perspective or offer a unique solution, you should rethink that rant!

2. The article upon which you’re ranting actually agrees with your opinion. Yeah, YIKES! We often see this in our busy, fast-paced industry.

I blame it on those who don’t actually read an article or post in full before they decide to go off. I also blame the pervasive need to craft incendiary titles. Titles which often have absolutely nothing to do with the final idea presented by an article or post.

Once again, we’re talking click bait, even though it’s often well intentioned.

It’s important that you read the ENTIRE article, from start to finish, before you decide to go off on a tear and show your audience that you’re ever so much smarter than the original author.

Failure to do so could leave you with egg on your face, as we’ve seen time and again that the provocative title doesn’t always match up with the content delivered.

3. It’s absolutely irrelevant to your audience. We get it, you’re a diehard. A fanatic. An enthusiast. From college football to healthy living, we all have something not tied to our business that we embrace effusively. And of course we want to bring our friends, family and peers on board.

The problem, though, occurs when we use our business vehicle (not the company van, I’m talking about your content delivery systems – your blog and social channels) to deliver our rants (or raves).

Our followers signed on or signed up hoping to receive our business expertise. While there’s nothing wrong with sharing some, even a lot, of who we are outside of our business, the focus must remain on the relevant topic. The topic which gained you the audience in the first place.

When we start using our business blog and social channels too often to champion causes and deliver rants relating to slights to our favorite TV show or soccer team, we shift the focus. If that focus gets hidden too deeply, we lose our hold on the very group seeking our expertise.

Have you ever seen a well intentioned rant go awry. What happened? Did our rant about rants manage to stay on topic?

 

Blogging Lesson From We Were Promised Jetpacks

Blogging Lesson From We Were Promised Jetpacks

Yes, I have a thing for Scottish bands. It started with me seeing Idlewild perform “You Held The World In Your Arms” on the Jimmy Kimmel show back in the early 2000’s.

Well, it probably started WAAAAAAAAY back when I was about eight and my uncle turned me into a bit of a music nut at an early age, but we’re talking about the Scottish band thing, not my music nerd status, right?

Once I find a great new band, I then seek out all of the bands that “sound like” them. Several years later I stumbled across a band called Frightened Rabbit and I was hooked. They have been my favorite band for several years and prompted a serious seeking out of similar sounds.

But, back to the lesson and better blogging …

How can a single song from a fairly unknown Scottish band with a long name help you on your path to better blogging? It’s easy:

Be a conductor!

A conductor?

Yes, a conductor!

A conductor as in an orchestra or as in electricity?

BOTH!

Sometimes I like to pepper my articles with definitions from a very sound resource, dictionary.com. This article is one of them.

conductor
[kuh n-duhk-ter]

a person who conducts; a leader, guide, director, or manager.

a substance, body, or device that readily conducts heat, electricity, sound, etc.

What do either type of conducting have to do with better blogging? I’m so glad you asked!

As a blogger you aren’t just writing for the sake of publishing. You’re hoping for a conversion of some sort or another. You’re blogging and sharing your articles hoping to draw your readers into an action: signing up for your list, sharing your article, commenting, even – eventually, buying your product or service.

Conduct For Conversion

In order to craft and create that conversion you have to conduct your readers, leading them – hopefully, to take the action you intend. You can’t just holler out to take action in the loudest voice possible. Well, you can, but that’s pretty heavy handed and often has the opposite result.

There are two ways to conduct your blogging audience to take action:

First, you conduct your audience to action subtly, with nuance and nimbly adept writing. Much like the orchestra conductor directs the subtle nuances and nimble notes of the piece being performed.

Secondly, you can electrify your audience with your excitement and passion for the project.

Each approach works differently, but both can be quite effective.

Conductors Clue In

How do you choose the proper conductive approach when it comes to your blogging? You have to know and understand your audience. You also have to know and understand your offering, be it an offering for sale or an offering to take action.

Much like the orchestra conductor knows how much he can get from each violinist, from each flautist, you must know what you can get from your audience and how to get it. Then you must conduct yourself, through your blogging, accordingly.

How do you conduct your blogging audience? Are you more likely to employ electricity and excitement, or more subtle nuance?

Content Marketing: Can Storytelling Sabotage You?

It’s become another overused, often misunderstood buzzword amongst content marketers, bloggers, copywriters, etc …

Storytelling

We’re asked daily if we’re telling our story. Our brand story, product story, personal story, bathroom break policy story.

Okay, I may have taken it a step too far with the final example, which leads me to the point and purpose of this article.

Can we take storytelling too far?

Can storytelling go wrong? Can we sabotage our story and, with it, our brand or business?

Yes! If you get a little too caught up in telling your story, the focus becomes all about Y-O-U. While the story should always reflect you, it should also draw in your audience with the allure of either a shared experience or a solution that fits their needs, suits their situation.

Storytelling That Succeeds

The story has to relate to your readers in a significant way or they’ll pass it off as needless and narcissistic.

The story starts to sabotage you when you forget you’re writing for the audience and start lauding yourself as the storyteller.

If your story resonates with your readers, taps into their emotions, causes them to reconsider or persuades them to pose a question … well, then it’s successful. If your story causes your audience to take any action except clicking away to something more suitable, I say you add a check to the win column.

However, far too many stories cause that calculated “click away.” Once a reader clicks away too many times they might consider opting out, hiding you from their streams or even, YIKES, unfollowing you.

Is Your Story Too Long?

A connection of mine recently spun out a personal story over several blog posts, social media posts and more.

The story was quite compelling. Something very relatable to a large part of the overall population and her following.

The problem? It centered solely on her experience. Which would have been absolutely fabulously okay for one reading, one share. But the story went on and on, with the same chapter and verse repeated over AND over again.

Instead of spinning the story in a different direction and drawing in readers by making it about THEM, she centered the story on herself.

The Story Killer? Self Congratulations!

This connection made a fatal error when the story stopped being about the story itself, a shared experience that could have touched many, and continued to share her own successes, tied to the story, in a self congratulatory way.

Put quite simply, the repeated postings started to sound an awful lot like bragging.

Stop Turning Stories Into Press Releases

If your story screams, “See ME, see how I prevailed,” it’s no longer a shared story that’s meant to spark discussion, create connection and build lasting relationships.

Consider this, is it a story or a press release? Are you broadcasting or sharing? Is it all about you, or is it about your audience and their experiences?

Stories can absolutely sell. But they first have to connect with your audience, building trust in your shared experiences. Otherwise it’s just a promotional blast that will fade into the noisy and forgettable content coffers.

How do you share stories without making them all about Y-O-U?

Better Blogging: Stop Being So Generic!

This better blogging series has been an absolute blast. As more and more content marketers embrace the idea that truly unique content will set them apart, there’s a need to take a deeper look at the idea of unique in order to create the articles, graphics and other types of content that will be consumed, shared and discussed.

Is anyone else tired of the proliferation of listless list posts?

Touted as top tips or best practices, these lists are so rarely enlightening, entertaining or educational.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing better than a carefully crafted list post. Done well they’re chock full of smarts and savvy and are often bookmarked for future reference and sharing.

But how many times do we need to see Hootsuite listed as a top social media management tool? How many times do we need to see Feedly listed as a top RSS feed/curation tool? Been there, done that and the T-shirt’s kinda boring.

What about top tips? How many times must we be told that consistency is crucial to content and/or social media marketing? Don’t put another dime in the jukebox, toots … I don’t need to hear that song again.

I know, I know, you’re about to tell me that your articles are targeting newer content and social media marketers, those that have no idea that Hootsuite is a much revered social media management and monitoring tool, those that have NO idea that consistency is a key part of any marketing effort.

Seriously? Stop!

Stop being so generic!

Maybe there are truly NO new topics to be covered. Maybe all you can do is share the same ideas as marketers X, Y and Z. But, if that’s the case, give them a little something that makes them your own.

These better blogging posts may, in fact, be sharing tips that others have already covered. BUT? I managed to share better blogging tips tied to Depeche Mode and R.E.M songs. And, in doing so, I managed to make those tips truly my own, as they featured my own unique take, my own spin, my own notes. I think that’s enough music references for now!

The point is, I added a good dose of Mallie and music to some ideas that have certainly been shared before. And adding that bit of Mallie and music made the content stand out from the listless lists and the regurgitated ramblings.

What are you doing to make the content you’re publishing sing?

Does each article you publish stand out? Is every bit of your blogging effort helping your expertise shout out from the rooftops? If not, it’s probably because it’s a little too generic.

Generic and generalized tips and lists don’t help you hop down from atop the shoulders of giants. Regurgitating the same sad facts makes for sad content. No one wants to share sad content. Very little discussion is generated by the same old same old.

How are you adding an extra dose of YOU-nique to your content?

Better Blogging: Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants

Better Blogging: Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants

Earlier this week I wrote an article about better blogging ideas gleaned from R.E.M. songs. You can read that article here. However, I didn’t share my favorite R.E.M. song, as I felt it required an article all its own.

If you’ve never listened to this particular song, you’re unaware that the lyrics repeatedly reference “standing on the shoulders of giants.” Not a phrase that R.E.M. penned.

The most famous and well known use of the phrase came from Sir Isaac Newton, in a letter he wrote to his peer and rival Robert Hooke. Newton was not the originator of the phrase either, however. A variation of the phrase was used by a 12th century theologian. But there’s no definitive use that can be deemed the original.

Before I lose you by rambling about origin, I’ll share that the phrase, used often by theologians and scientists, says that our contributions to our discussions and the furthering of our work have been affected by the contributions and discussions of those who came before us.

Singer sing me a given
Singer sing me a song
Standing on the shoulders of giants
Everybody’s looking on

As marketers, and especially as bloggers, we are always searching for something new to share, something to generate discussion, something to spark conversation. However the topics about which we write are often based on the ideas of others, our peers, colleagues and even our “competition.”

It’s important to step off the shoulders of those giants and create something new and unique to call our own idea, even if it’s been generated by our understanding and interpretation of the thoughts of others.

Standing on the shoulders of giants
Leaves me cold, leaves me cold
A mean idea to call my own
A hundred million birds fly away, away, away

It’s that interpretation, that “making it our own,” that allows those ideas to take flight, worthy of sharing across the many social media platforms we frequent.

While it’s quite possible that there are no truly new ideas, I don’t think we’ve exhausted our means to add a unique take and a personalized understanding to the concepts we discuss daily. It’s our ability to extract that unique take that allows us to step down from the shoulders of giants and generate ideas on our own.

So, there it is. My final R.E.M. song shared along with an idea for better blogging. I hope you’ll take a listen to my favorite song and comment on the idea of taking inspiration from others as we generate new ideas of our own.

Better Blogging: With A Little Help From R.E.M.

Better Blogging: With A Little Help From R.E.M.

A couple weeks ago I published an article with some blogging best practices that I culled from some of my favorite Depeche  Mode tunes. It was an entertaining publish and it allowed me to share a little bit of Mallie that isn’t on display every day. I thought I’d give it another whirl, this time with the tunes of another favorite band, the ever awesome R.E.M.

Let’s dive right in!

Better Blogging While Listening To R.E.M.

What If We Give It Away?

It isn’t always easy to give away your knowledge and expertise. We feel, and often rightly so, that we should be paid for that expertise and know how. It requires careful balance and writing skill to write a blog post that shares enough knowledge to showcase our value and smarts, but doesn’t give away our “state secrets,” so to speak. The best blogging creates the trust in our experience and expertise that leads our readers into our sales funnel. So, we do have to give a bit away. With intent and purpose, of course.

Perfect Circle

If we’re blogging for business purposes, our end goal is a sale, a client. Our blogging efforts are part of the perfect circle that builds trust, shares our expertise, answers the questions of our prospective clients and eventually draws them into our sales funnel. It can’t be all about the sale. The perfect circle idea requires that the expertise be shared, then the trust built, before any social selling can be even remotely effective.

Laughing

We’ve long known that entertaining while educating can make a good blog post great. Sometimes we can share valuable insight with our audience by allowing them laugh with us, by sharing anecdotes and lessons learned from our own failures.

Belong

Part of building a successful blogging presence involves creating a sense of belonging for your audience. Your readers want to feel welcome, invited and part of your articles. The best blogs and bloggers invite their audience to share an experience. to belong to the discussion, to share in the exchange of ideas. When your readers feel like they belong, that they’re welcome, your blog flourishes.

Stand

Now, you might think the title of this song would lead me to write about using your blogging efforts to take a stand. While I wholeheartedly agree with that idea, that’s not why I chose this song.

Amidst the many very emotional and often melancholy offerings in the R.E.M. discography, this song is one of their silliest. Silly and fun. It’s absolutely okay to employ the occasional bit of silly in your blogging. It’s okay to have fun, show your silly side and, maybe, I don’t know … write an article about songs helping better blogging efforts!

Pretty Persuasion

It’s silly to pretend that our blogging efforts aren’t designed to persuade our readers to buy. We’re blogging for business, right? Our business doesn’t succeed if we don’t sell the products and services we provide.

However, we also know that our articles have to build trust. Our audience is smart and savvy, and they’ll see right through petty and pretty persuasions. We are not in the business of blogging to confuse, confound or put one over on our audience.

Lose the pretty persuasions and you’ll build an audience that trusts your expertise and experience. Keep the pretty persuasion and confusion tactics and you’ll come across as a snake oil seller.

I’ve actually saved my favorite R.E.M. song, King of Birds, for a solo article. I hope you enjoyed this walk through the band’s discography. Do you agree with any of the ideas shared?