We both have roles to play.
You are my reader and friend. We laugh, debate, and sometimes fight. It’s cool and tremendously gratifying.
However my role is more complicated. Sure, I am a writer but you expect something more from me. You want consistency. You want passion. And you want me to deliver content that aligns with my strengths. Put another way, you demand authenticity.
Your readers expect the same from you.
Are You a Reporter, Teacher, Coach or Philosopher?
As student of top-performing blogs and I see most publishers playing one of four different roles: The Reporter, The Teacher, The Coach, and The Philosopher. Each of these roles are valuable and indispensable to their readers.
Here’s a quick primer on each:
Your job is to sort through the noise and find what is relevant and useful. Done right, your readers will use your blog to filter and organize their information. This is a powerful role to play.
Great examples of Reporter blogs are Mashable, Social Media Examiner, ReadWriteWeb, and The Huffington Post. Thousands of readers start their day with these blogs because they are reliable tools for organizing the world. This is a gargantuan task but highly desired by readers.
Teachers earn a tremendous amount of trust because they create “aha” moments. They use a variety of tools, such as video, audio, illustrations or text to help their readers see a completely new way to solve their problems.
While teaching is about accurately transferring fundamental knowledge. Coaching focuses on helping the student achieve mastery. There is a shared pact between the student and the coach, The student wants to be the best, the coach wants to mold and shape a winner.
For example, my father taught me how to play chess. He made sure that I knew the basics of the game (and taught me how to lose and win graciously). However my Uncle Craig used our chess games to shape my approach to life.
Coaching communities are starting to slowly emerge around the web.
For example, I’m part of The Third Tribe, a community of entrepreneurs who seek to blend the authenticity of social business with the tools of direct response marketing. It’s moderated and coached by some of the top names in the social space including Brian Clark, Darren Rowse, and Chris Brogan. Over time, the community has evolved into a coaching environment where excellence is encouraged.
Some blogs routinely tackle the big “Why” questions. Their blogs have few "list posts" or handy how-to guides. Instead, these fearless thinkers ponder the basic assumptions underlying their topic and poke at it for new answers.
Readers use philosophers for new perspectives and inspiration.
Of all the types of blogs, the Philosopher role is the most difficult to pull off. You can’t fake insight. It only can be earned through years of persistent work uncovering how a particular niche works. Once you have the knowledge, it takes time to distill your knowledge into the philosopher’s wisdom.
Two great examples of excellent "deep thinking" blogs include BrassTackThinking and Seth Godin (of course!)
Give it A Try
Take a look at your previous posts, what role are you playing? Are you scattered all over the place or have you focused in on a specific role. Do you satisfy two roles at the same time? Let me know in the comments below – talk to me and I’ll talk right back.