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?

Book Review: Creativity For Sale

Book Review: Creativity For Sale

I’m a big reader. I often choose a book over the television or a movie. Sometimes I even read around TV shows and movies at home (I do not take my books/Kindle to the movie theater)!

I generally spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour reading to unwind at night, hoping my brain will settle and I’ll manage to fall into a good deep sleep. Choosing to read Creativity For Sale: How I Made $1,000,000 Wearing T-Shirts And How You Can Turn Your Passion Into Profit, Too by Jason SurfrApp as a “calming” book was an epic fail on my part. Fantastic book, but if you’re reading it with the right mindset and intention, you’re not going to shut off your brain.

Creativity For Sale by Jason SurfrAppI had to get up, literally, four times to jot down ideas when I started reading this book. Jason, who took on SurfrApp as his last name the SECOND time he sold his last name to the highest bidder, is a big idea kind of guy. While I never contemplated selling my last name, I also think of myself as an idea person, so this book really grabbed me.

The funny, sometimes sarcastic, and self-deprecating writing style also really worked well for me. While Jason takes the launching of his ideas and the running of his business(es) very seriously, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s forthcoming when it comes to sharing both his successes and his set-backs.

While the types of businesses and launches that Jason calls his successes might not mesh with yours (I don’t know that I’d have been a good match for wearing company T-Shirts every day and sharing pics and videos in said shirts), the idea that creative, sometimes even wacky, ideas sell and can become successful and lasting businesses.

While some of Jason’s ideas might seem zany, they are all rooted in the idea that a proper launch involves careful and considered marketing that includes your email list, your social media contacts AND your creativity. The book shares how he built his lists (the right and wrong ways) and I love how very open and honest Jason is about what works, what didn’t work and what failed abysmally. I appreciate that he honestly shares that he once employed spammy tactics and was shot down. None of us are perfect, and we’ve all come close to crossing a line. It’s positive to know that you can recover from mistakes if you are smart about getting back on the right foot.

As an entrepreneur who sometimes has trouble shutting down and decompressing, I also appreciate that Jason shared his struggles to get and stay healthy while running a business (or many businesses). It can be very hard to balance life and innovation/ideas. It’s important then entrepreneurs remember that taking care of themselves allows them to take care of business.

I like a business book that can share smart content and ideas without taking itself too seriously. This book definitely falls into that category, much like the books by Scott Stratten – especially The Book of Business Awesome / The Book of Business UnAwesome and QR Codes Kill Kittens. While this books is about a lot more than just social media marketing, it absolutely embraces the idea that you can/should be entertaining while you educate!

Will all of the ideas I jotted down while reading this book come to fruition? Probably not. But a business book that sparks ideas and gets the reader excited about their business in a new way is a business book I want to read. And I did!

If you haven’t already read Creativity For Sale: How I Made $1,000,000 Wearing T-Shirts And How You Can Turn Your Passion Into Profit, Too, I strongly suggest you add it to your must read list. If you have read it, I’d love to know what you thought. Do you agree with my take? Please share in the comments!