A few weeks ago, I received this spectacular Guest Post from Marjorie Clayman @rlmadman . It does a MASTERFUL job explaining how to use Power – the 7th Fascination Trigger to boost your blogging success. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
To use power, you must define it
Whenever I think of power, the first thing that comes into my head, oddly enough, is a quote from Spiderman. “With great power comes great responsibility.” This quotation is instruction in many facets of life and work. If you get a promotion, you have the responsibility, paradoxically, to work harder. If you find power through fame, you have the responsibility to use your fame for good (though not everyone fulfills that obligation). In Social Media, from blogging to Twitter, it is not so easy to define the quid pro quo.
The definition of power is slippery
Power is one of those words that we take for granted. “Of course I know what power is,” you think to yourself. But try to answer this question. What does “power” mean in the context of Social Media? Is it:
- Good content?
- The ability to “sync” (as Godin puts it) with others?
The same problem arises when trying to define what makes a blog powerful. Many in the business world would without hesitation say that Seth Godin’s Typepad blog is powerful. If you look at Godin’s blog posts, they are very different from what most of us do. They are short (something I am incapable of doing), succinct, and deep. But how much of that perceived power is about Godin’s reputation outside of his blog? If you had no idea who Seth Godin was and you went to his blog to learn more, would you find it to be a powerful resource?
Let’s use four blogs for reference to represent each potential definition of power in Social Media.
Fame: Even though this might be underselling his importance, let’s use Seth Godin’s blog (sethgodin.typepad.com) as an example of a blog that pulls on fame for its success, meaning fame external to the Social Media world.
Influence: If Social Media power is influence, we could use Chris Brogan’s blog (chrisbrogan.com) as an example that pulls on the ability to influence to drive thought and action. If Chris wants people to visit a website, think about something in a new way, or read a book, he has the ability to differentiate his blog through his power to influence.
Good Content: Obviously there are a ton of blogs that flourish based on truly good content. Let’s use ProBlogger , though, as an example of a blog that pulls on the power of content targeted specifically for a single purpose – help other people blog well.
The Power of Sync: For a blog that leverages the power of teamwork or syncing, let’s reference a fairly new blog called MENG Blend, a cooperative blog launched by marketing expert Lisa Petrilli.
I Want That, But How?
So in looking at these four different powerful blogs, what most appeals to you? That might be the easy question. The ultimate question is how can you leverage different kinds of power to make your blog stand out? Let’s talk about that in relation to the four types of Social Media power we’ve been talking about.
Fame: Obviously one key thought would be running around in my head if I wanted to leverage the power of fame through my blog. I’m not famous. If you suffer from a similar sad handicap, do not despair. There are ways to leverage the power of fame through your blog, but it is an exercise that needs to be undertaken with care.
- Get someone famous to guest post on your blog: Obviously this is the Holy Grail if you are trying to leverage fame for your blog. Like the Holy Grail, this can also be an extremely elusive mission. It’s nothing to feel bad about. I’m just saying that if you ask Leonardo DiCaprio or Seth Godin or Al Gore to post on your blog, it might not happen. At least not right away.
- Reference content from a celebrity blog: If you want your blog and your brand to be associated with fame but can’t get a big name to guest post for you, the next best thing is to compose your own idea and then find content from other sources that supports that concept. You need a light touch if you pursue this path. You don’t want to come across as a name-dropper or as someone who only has ideas that can be supported by famous bloggers. You’ll just drive your readers to all of those blogs you link to.
- Build on content from a famous blogger: Write a review on someone’s newly published book. Expand on a comment you made on a famous blogger’s post to create a post of your own. This method leverages the power of fame but still demonstrates that you have a functioning mind with ideas all your own.
Influence: Influence, like fame, can be tricky if you don’t have a big Social Media following. Sometimes influence can elude you even if you do have a big Social Media following. Reading tweets is one thing. Reading a whole blog post is quite another. Like fame, however, there are ways to leverage influence in your blog even if you feel you are not all that influential.
Connect with the “influencers”: The single best way to garner influence for your blog is to let people with more influence help you out. There are several ways to accomplish that goal. This video by Jon Morrow explains this in a far better way than I could at GuestBlogging.com. Also, revisit How to Get Your Blog Noticed and Promoted By Super Influencers. The bottom line is that if you can connect to people with more influence, you’ll be able to ride on their coattails. Word of caution, though. Don’t do this just to do this, or at least don’t let it look that way. Authenticity and transparency are still tied for rule #1.
Good Content: Hopefully, if you are blogging you are striving for good content. That’s usually the whole point, and it makes enticing people a lot easier. However, that also means that everyone is striving for good content. How can you leverage good content as a power that will differentiate your blog? You’ve heard a lot of this before, mostly likely, but it bears repeating.
- Talk about things that you aren’t seeing a lot of chatter about
- Talk about things you are passionate about
- Infuse your content with some essence of, well, you (you’re unique, aren’t you?)
- Talk about something controversial
- Talk about a current event
The Power of Sync: If the power you want to use to make your blog “spicy” is the power to sync with other people, there are two ways to accomplish that goal.
- Create a group blog: Pick a central theme and ask Social Media “allies” (or co-workers) to co-author the blog with you. Be open to letting new people in. Be open to different voices, different types of writing. A stew is almost always more exciting than tomato bisque.
- Incorporate your readers/followers: You already have the potential to build a community when you start blogging. The comments feature is a natural tool. However, there’s a lot more you can do to make your readers feel like they are playing a roll
- Mack Collier suggests listing your five most popular posts . Not only will this make it easy for people to find posts they heard buzz about, but it also shows your readers that you are tracking what they find interesting
- Mention a comment/commenter in a post. Everybody likes to feel loved. If your readers see that you appreciate them, they will be more inclined to participate. Give them a voice beyond the comment box.
- Ask for input, suggestions, and reactions. The idea of a virtual suggestion box was mentioned during a #blogchat a couple of weeks ago. Syncing is really about giving power (there’s that word again) to your community of readers
Now it’s your turn
How do you define power as it exists in Social Media? Is there an example beyond the four examples here? How you define a powerful blog? How do you want to leverage power? We’d love to hear from you!
Marjorie Clayman is director of Client Development at Clayman Advertising (www.clayad.com),
a full-service marketing communications firm located in Akron, Ohio.