Every person has a level of attention.
Each of us has a variety of choices we make every day in regards to our attention. We decide what to work on. We decide what songs to listen to and what channel we use to listen to those songs.
The same is true for our interactions with TV, books, online articles, newspapers and, of course, the people we interact with.
There are a number of things competing for the attention of your target customer. One way for you to capture some of that attention is with a business blog.
But a part, a big part, of capturing that attention is creating something that’s interesting. In the case of a blog it’s creating an overall blog that’s interesting and posts that are interesting.
How do you do that?
Here are 10 traits that make a business blog interesting.
1. Of Interest Subject Matter
This means that what you’re writing about is something your target customer cares about. The best way to ensure you’re writing topics that your customer cares about is to identify the questions your customer is asking in relation to what you do and the industry you’re in.
It’s a balancing game. You can write really specific or really generic. The best target is somewhere in the middle.
Let’s take a family dentist office as an example.
A really specific topic would be how much X-rays cost. Yes, customers are interested in that on occasion, but those specific questions are better left for the main pages on the website, not blog posts.
A generic topic might be a review of the latest Pixar movie. Yes, families are probably interested in that content, but it’s a little too far away from the dental industry.
Now, families might be asking questions like:
What are the best teeth-friendly foods?
What are the biggest teeth brushing mistakes?
How do you get kids to brush their teeth regularly?
When you write about the topics your target customers care about as it relates to your industry you’re off to a great start with the business blog.
You can find questions when interacting with customers in person. You can read forums where people ask questions related to your industry. You can look at comments and questions on your Facebook page. You can see what articles have been the most popular in your industry.
The bigger picture when it comes to customer question is the simple idea of listening.
Who is the person you enjoy speaking with most in life?
Chances are that person is the best listener. They set everything aside and make you their sole focus when you’re talking. They ask you questions. They make sure they understand what you’re saying.
With a business blog it’s also important to listen. That means observing the questions, problems and life of your target customers as it relates to your industry and looking for ways to help.
It also means listening to feedback on posts. Seeing what posts are doing well and building on what is working while also looking for ways to improve.
If you’re blogging about your industry there needs to be a level of passion. It’s contagious. It’s part of how you make others interested in what you’re interested in.
Think of when you’re new to something…say golf. Would you be convinced to golf by someone that casually plays and doesn’t really care that much about the game?
Or would you be convinced by someone that lives to be on the course 4+ days a week. Someone that knows the ins and outs of the history of the game, the nuances of the local course?
Passion is contagious.
Building on passion is emotion. I think there is a slight, but important difference in this context. Passion is really knowing your industry and caring about it.
Emotion is how you show that you care. It’s tricky because emotions are volatile. Getting back to golf, a golfer might throw a club. They care enough to show their emotion. But that emotion can be negative.
It’s probably okay to show all emotions some of the time. A little anger. A little sadness. A good mix of happiness and excitement.
When emotion comes across in your blogging you’ll attract more readers.
Storytelling is a learned skill. I’ve been trying to practice better storytelling over the years with this blog. I try to weave in personal experiences and how they relate to the topic I’m writing on.
For example, I might write a post about the importance of entrepreneurs getting into a process of improvement. I would tell a story about how I’m trying to adopt a process of improvement in my golf game and weave that lesson into running a business.
There are a number of ways to tell stories. They can be personal. They can be imaginative. They can be things you’ve observed.
However you tell stories you’ll find that people are attracted to the art of storytelling. It’s an interesting way to create content.
This is one I struggle with, but I’ve found it effective. Getting too bogged down in the details can venture the line on being boring. And you don’t want to be boring.
But being detailed is often interesting to the people that care the most.
I just finished reading John Fogerty’s autobiography. You could tell that he loved music. He fell in love with rock and roll as a kid and would dive deep into the details. Any book, video or whatever it was he would read if it had anything to do with rock and roll. He wanted any knowledge he could get.
People like things that are familiar, but they also like things that are fresh. With blogging, it’s important to be a little unconventional. Yes, you want to follow some best practices. You want to see what’s been successful and use that as inspiration. But the idea of innovation is to build on what’s been successful now.
In golf, players used to have really unconventional swings. Now everyone looks the same, but there are still players with subtle differences. Dustin Johnson is an example. His swing is a bit unconventional and it’s interesting. Bubba Watson is another.
The originals were people like John Daly, who for many reasons including his unconventional swing, are the most interesting players in the game.
Then you have Miguel Angel Jimenez who is know as the Most Interesting Man In Golf. He carries himself with confidence. He smokes cigars. He drinks wine. He keeps his hair in a ponytail. He does a unique stretching routine before every round.
Unconventional. Effective. Interesting.
People appreciate when you’re honest with them. Embrace your life and situation. It’s okay to be honest. You don’t need to build drama into your life. Often, the most interesting aspects of life are the seemingly mundane or unimportant.
People appreciate those that aren’t afraid to be honest with their flaws. Embracing imperfection is difficult. I know. But it does attract an audience.
Getting back to John Daly. I don’t know if he’s always been the way he is, but somewhere along the way he found that being honest about his flaws and struggles in life was the best way to live. He seems content with that and he’s one of the most popular players in golf. One reason is that he is himself, a flawed human and he’s open about it.
Finally, being curious is interesting.
This last Christmas there seemed to be a lot of little kids at my family get togethers. One thing I noticed was how curious kids were. Everything was new to them. The toddlers would ask the question What’s this? over and over.
It was interesting to watch them interact with the world around them. They had a thirst for knowledge and it was contagious.
A business blog can bring traffic and new business to your organization. It takes time and a long-term commitment. And it also takes a commitment to being interesting. You might not hit a home run with every blog post you write, but if you focus on the things in this post you’ll be in a really strong position when it comes to creating interesting content.