The biggest complaint I hear about blogging is...
Where’s the payoff? Every time I talk about the marketing power of blogging to my fellow entrepreneurs and clients, I hear: “Why put in all that time and effort if it’s not going to lead to a sale or a warm lead?”
Yet a blatantly commercial message in your blog won’t work either. Your readers, your prospective customers and fans, are looking to your blog for your expertise. They will be turned off by a sales pitch and that will kill your credibility, right?
I always tell my clients that you can easily hide a marketing message inside of a good story. If a story appeals to your target market on an emotional level, they won’t care that they just read a commercial.
Here’s how I do this for my video blogging clients; it works the same for text blogging, too.
1. Be the Great Supporting Character
Who’s the hero in Star Wars? Boring Luke Skywalker. Who’s the most interesting character? Han Solo. What does he do that everyone remembers? He returns to splatter Vader’s buddies so Luke can go all explody on the Death Star and save the day.
Your customer is the hero. You are Han Solo. You will ride to the rescue and make your customer even more heroic in their own personal story.
So how do you do that? Glad you asked…
2. Open with the customer’s emotional problem
Since you’re in business to solve your customer’s problem, or pain point, always start off by describing a specific customer who came to you with an inner emotional problem.
Let’s say you sell real estate. A customer comes to you and says, “I need a house.” Well, yes, that’s a problem, but it’s not very emotional; you quickly learn they need a smaller house because their last kid went off to college and they don’t want to take care of a big place any more. That’s their emotional need: they’re empty nesters who now want to focus on themselves after two plus decades of caring for kids.
Your story blog opening is as simple as stating their emotional problem: “John and Jane Smith just waved goodbye to their last child going off to college, and realized their house was simply too big.” It’s a common problem your target market can relate to. Will other Baby Boomers want to read about that? Of course they will!
Now’s your chance to sneak in some of that delicious commercial messaging, but only very carefully…
3. Make your expertise part of the story
Many of you like to blog about your expertise, since you figure that’s why your customer will hire you. But this time, let’s fold that expertise into your story about your Target Market Customer’s problem.
As you help the Baby Boomer couple find a new smaller house, describe the details of your problem-solving expertise to your customers. This SHOWS your expertise without TELLING about it.
But don’t be in a hurry to rush to the end, because it’s time to add a dash of Hollywood to your story…
4. Midpoint twist
In TV and movies, the middle of the show usually throws in a big twist, a change of direction that upends the plans of the main stars. This twist prevents the viewer from getting bored with what could be a predictable story.
Maybe your Baby Boomer house-hunting couple suddenly reveals: their oldest daughter needs to move back home because she’s pregnant and her husband just got laid off. Now what do you do? Turn into Han Solo and blow away the roadblocks that help your customer be the hero to their daughter, future grandchild and their personal story.
5. End with an emotional grab
Your expertise, authority and trustworthiness save the day by not just solving the customer’s basic problem but their emotional one. In our real estate story, you find a nice small house with an apartment on top of the garage for the daughter’s new family, and at the end, show off the baby pictures (with you in them, of course!). Everybody hugs and cries. And every other prospective customer will think you are awesome, know you are an expert they should contact, and they will likely share your story on their social media channels.
Yes, it’s almost a blatant commercial. But your target market won’t care, if you tell an emotional story of how you saved the day. Babies and kittens and puppies help, but don’t put them in just to score clicks. Well, unless they somehow fit.
Yup, totally fits!
Because at the end of the day, your prospects only care about themselves. Just like you only care about yourself. It’s human nature. So tell a blog story that lets us put ourselves into the story and make us care.
FYI - I was always Han Solo.