The Golden rule of successful blogging is, The Golden Rule. People, whether defined as consumers, customers, readers, subscribers or any other noun used to describe those who participate in this new information world we call the Internet, do not want to be used, swindled or taken advantage of. Okay, nothing ground-breaking about that statement. When we deal with our family and friends, The Golden Rule comes quite naturally, and we often times do not even realize we are applying it.
However, when it comes to the world of business, marketing and advertising, The Golden Rule does not see nearly as much application and implementation.
Why is that?
Well, in my humble opinion, for far too long, companies did not look upon their customers as people to forge a legitimate relationship with. We were seen as nothing more than a warm body that could be used, persuaded, and often times deceived into purchasing a product or service. Corporations spend a ridiculously-inflated amount of money on marketing and advertising campaigns in order to convince us that our lives would be ‘oh so much better’ if we would just spend our hard-earned dollars on their products. This model has been effective for big businesses over the past several decades, as seen through the endless barrage of television campaigns that interrupt our favorite TV shows.
However, this approach to marketing no longer holds the same weight it once did. I believe Bob Dylan said it best, “For the times they are a-changin’.”
We are becoming less and less influenced by the unrelated gimmicks and pointless cartoon characters brain-stormed by companies who are constantly looking for new ways to peddle their products and services. The proof comes in the form of TiVo and DVR, which viewers are increasingly using as both a commercial filter and time saver. Can I get a show of hands of those who recently bought car insurance because you thought the little green gecko was just too adorable to ignore?!
But I’m not a business, just a blogger, you say?
If there was one piece of advice I could give to bloggers, it would be to consider yourself a business, and approach your blogging accordingly. Even if you do not participate in affiliate marketing or the selling of products, you are providing a service in the form of content. People who read your blog for the first time will decide rather quickly as to whether or not you are a worthy source for what it is they are looking for. By simply publishing content online, you have entered a competitive environment whether you like it or not, and this is a good thing. Competition raises the stakes and challenges us all to find out just how great we truly were created to be. It is this spirit of competition in the world of business that sparks our ingenuity, and drives us to prove to people that what we have to offer is better than the other guys’.
So how do you compete as a blogger?
By taking the same approach you take with your family and friends, and applying it to your readers and customers. The Golden Rule should not be a philosophy that is dedicated solely to our inner circle of family and friends. In order to become a successful blogger, you must open the door of your inner circle to your readers as well. You must treat them with the same respect and honesty that you would your friends. Below are three important aspects to the Golden Rule that can be applied to your blogging efforts.
- Practice empathy. By placing yourself in the shoes of your readers, you will be more apt to know what it is like to be them. This will encourage you to try and understand how they feel, what they are going through, and how they may look upon you. By having a better understanding of who your readers are, you will be able to provide them with more targeted information and content, which can lead to a better retention of these readers. A practical approach to this could be as simple as posting a poll question or ending your blog posts with a question or statement that encourages readers to leave comments.
- Be helpful. It is natural for people to remember those who either wronged us or did something that made our day. Stand out from your competition by helping people solve a problem or answering questions they may have. This can come in the form of writing a well-thought out, informative blog post or simply replying to questions they may pose in the comment section of your blog. By being helpful to others, you are more likely to be remembered and have your generosity shared with others. Of course, the flip side of this coin can be very detrimental to your blogging success. Piss people off and they will tweet about it, post it to their Facebook wall and spread the word.
- Reciprocate. If a reader is going to take the time to read your blog posts and leave you a comment, then take the time to thank them with a response. If a reader takes the time to tweet one of your articles then thank them with a retweet. Take that a step further. If they are a fellow blogger, then check out their blog and tweet one of their posts which you would like to share with your followers.
The Technological and Social Revolution
This technological and social revolution we are currently in the middle of is quickly transforming how we communicate and relate to one another. The Internet has allowed the individual to have his/her voice heard and become a true player in the world of business and commerce. As a result, We The People have more freedom of choice than ever before, and as a result, are empowered to make decisions at a more rapid pace. We do not have to spend a great deal of time listening to the marketing ploys from a single entity, because there are a growing number of competitors who are vying for our attention and dollars. This is why, as a blogger, your first impression is very important. This is why, I believe the best way to capture the attention of people, and encourage them to be a part of what you are doing is to treat them as you would your own family and friends. Employ The Golden Rule!
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