Start with the fundamental premise that people are primarily interested in themselves. Don’t beat yourself up, your selfishness is a genetic predisposition and it has kept our species kicking for a millenia. Sorry, I digress.
With our premise, it holds that people arrive at your blog looking for something that is personally relevant to them. At Pushing Social, I’ve been teaching that readers are goal-seeking machines looking for answers. Provide your readers with answers to their problems and you have a game-changer.
Right? Well…not quite. It occurred to me that your blog readers are a hell of a lot more sophisticated than my mechanistic view of psychology.
Even though people will look for answers they often ignore the most direct and efficient route. We are easily diverted, distracted, and stalled.I used to think that poor self-discipline caused this behavior was caused.
Again, not quite.
I’ll share my thoughts with you and you can tell me if it resonates with your experience.
I believe (strong word) that we all wake up each day with three primary objectives.
1. Seek pleasure and avoid pain
Nothing new here. Psychology and sociologists established these brain-stem goals a while ago.
2. Refine our internal story
You have a story where you play the central role. You are the husband who works hard, loves his wife, and always finds time for his children; or the career woman that easily balances work and home while nurturing plans of changing how children are educated.
During the day you search for people who can play a role in your story. You look for gadgets, software, or ideas that clarify your role and aid your performance in the story.
3. Scour the world looking for…ourselves
“Birds of a feather flock together” seems to be a social law. We look for people who look like ourselves to assure ourselves that we are not alone, that there is at least one person that share our outlook, values, and beliefs. We often marry these people or merge with their company.
By the way, since businesses are created and managed by people, their organizations tend to takes on the same three objectives. You’ll find these objectives disguised as “Mission Statements” and “Core Values”
Ok, so what does this have to do with your blog?
Here’s the thing. Does your blog help your reader meet these objectives?
Let’s say you sell a beautifully simple app for managing task lists. Right now your blog probably has an a header graphic with a clever statement about your software’s benefit. Your blog’s About page lists your designers and gives their social statistics: role, personality, and hobbies. Every blog post celebrates productivity software and its transformative power.
Likely, this type of blog isn’t hitting the mark. Your readers may read it but the contents swims on the surface of their mind never penetrating to reach the reader’s core desires.
Instead, I would advise reframing the blog based on the reader’s real objectives. I’ll use that time management software example.
Seek Pleasure and Avoid Pain
How your software frees time giving the person more time to do what they want.
(Again, nothing new here. This is how a unique value proposition should be written)
Refine Our Internal Story
Use your about page, bios, and posts to create a role for your software in your audience’s personal drama. This is the secret to Apple’s mystique. They show their iPad enhancing the dad’s role by allowing him to make a video of his kids birthday party. The same insight is used by Harley Davidson, Disney, the Wall Street Journal, and other iconic brands.
- Harley Davidson is the adventure-seeker showing me how to savor life
- Disney partners with me to create wonder and spur imagination in my children’s minds
- The Wall Street Journal is the wise counselor that makes me feel smart, prepared, and sophisticated.
Find Ourselves in the World
Use every opportunity to demonstrate your values and passion. If you’ve done your homework, you are speaking to an audience that shares your outlook. Your blog should reinforce this connection by offering new perspectives that celebrate your customer’s uniqueness.
Think about it, I bet you spend the most time on blogs that have subtly affirmed that they are like you.
The Missing Puzzle Piece
Readers are still goal seeking machines but those goals are more subtle than just simple problem solving. Your reader is creating a incredibly detailed, complex, and nuanced inner world. They want to know if your blog can fit in that world.
Now you have the three criteria. What’s your next move?[businessblog]