Do you Follow the *Heroes* Model in Your Blog?
The strongest connection you can make with people is of the emotional kind. I watched only one episode of the NBC hit show, but I was impressed very favorably. No, that’s not right, I’m talking about emotional connection –- I was smitten. By the time I realized that I had hit the TV remote button “on” (I never watch TV) I was totally into the show, advertisements and interruptions included. That is the effect you want to have on visitors of your blog.
Some may visit you by chance, just like I did by flipping the TV on, and may have never otherwise found you. Some readers may find you while surfing another site through a link to your blog in the blogroll. Or the visit may be the result of a Google search. How people find you matters, of course, and I will talk about it in another post.
Right now I want to focus on what they find when they come into contact with your blog. How can you build a blog that reflects who you are in a genuine voice, and resonates with people at a level deep enough to keep them coming back?
It’s About Them, Be Yourself
If you watched even a few minutes of Heroes, you know that each character feels authentic. But authentic is not enough. For emotional resonance and connection — ordinary, personal, and even vulnerable are better. Be one of them, you’re a person just like your readers. People sign up to support others who are like them.
And ironically, the more you are yourself, the more others will identify with you. Strong brands are built upon differentiation; I cannot think of anything more inimitable than you.
It’s Your Story, Tell it Like you Mean it
This goes hand in hand with being yourself. Use your own words and expressions to relate to your readers in the most concrete and simple ways you can. Blogs are more like online talk. But of course since they are written, check your spelling and grammar.
In Heroes you can follow the stories of many characters. And still remember where everyone was and what he or she was doing when you last saw him or her. Stories allow people to put themselves mentally in place of the protagonist. They are mental practice. And nobody can tell your stories and examples from your life as well as you do.
They are your Words: Pick Powerful Ones
I hinted at it already. Powerful and effective words do not need to be complicated. In fact, the simpler, the better. Let your passion shine through. Imagine that you’re writing about Hiro Nakamura screaming a big hurray of joy. Arms raised, big smile on his face, sheer delight in the moment. Yes! That’s how you want your reader to feel. I did it, I overcame an obstacle, I learned a new skill, I am absolutely excited at the prospect of explaining this business deal to you.
The most powerful words are those that give you that delightful jump inside. Think about the emotion you want to communicate, and find a way to do that with a story instead of explaining a process. That is if you want people to try things on, to rehearse them in their heads.
It’s only talk, yet talk can change our lives. There is magic in great storytelling, that magic is what pulls at your heartstrings and keeps you coming back for more. So there you have it: be yourself, tell it like you mean it, and use powerful words.
Valeria Maltoni works at the intersection of marketing and communications. She blogs at Fast Company Expert blogs on customer conversations and connects ideas and people at Conversation Agent.
With New World attitude and Italian style, Fast Company expert blogger and Conversation Agent Valeria Maltoni demonstrates her unique talent for synthesizing marketing, public relations, and communications. See how customer relationships are always conversations, and why this knowledge is essential to doing business in the Information Age. Valeria also blogs at the Marketing Profs Daily Fix and Marketing 2.0.
This is a beautiful post, Valeria. I particularly agree with your point about power coming from simple words. I’m a HUGE advocate in making a message simple. For example, if you want to tell someone you appreciate them, just say it like this: I appreciate you. And, Valeria, I appreciate you.
Here’s my favorite: “It’s Your Story, Tell it Like you Mean it”
When you don’t believe in the subject matter, it’s hard to make others believe in it.
The Blog Herald has been Valeriafied! Now I have another reason to click through from my RSS reader. :-)
On the other hand, any time you can lump in “Heroes” with blogging is a great post in my books!
And Chris — believe me, we’re happy to have her. :)
Mark — thank you so much for your kind, and simple words. After all, the most powerful and resonating word of all has only 4 letters: love.
Cam — as Seth put it: love the product. It means going all out for it with passion and conviction. And those certainly come through in your profiles and stories.
Chris — I think it means it’s good, right? Thank you for your support. I look forward to igniting conversations on marketing and branding of blogs, a topic I am really digging.
Thank you, Tony. It’s good and scary (in a good way) to be here. I explained scary to someone today in a business context: it means you’re taking risks, and that is good. Just make sure you dial your gauge with feedback.
Valeria — Authenticity and simplicity are things every blogger should strive to. You make it look easy, but it takes some time to get comfortable. I’ll have to check out Heroes next time it’s on.
Valeria, this was an awesome article. Very fine.
I blogged in the hopes maybe someone may read it.
I chose my “name” precisely because it freed me up. I wasn’t that windbag Virginia: I was a forceful, vital person with someone to say to YOU, whoever YOU the reader may turn out to be. I can write 1000 blog items and if turns out that just one person gets moved emotionally .. or takes some action, it was all worth it.
While I may never have a host of readers, I notice I get linked a WHOLE bunch and that’s a rather rare form of feedback. I throw mud at the wall (lots of posts) and never know which handful is going to stick, but I keep throwing the best mud I can make.
Your article is INSPIRING, so much better than the “teach them how to blog” items you see.
Many thanks. My very best to you.
ps. INSPIRED, I blogged it!!
Ahoy Valeria, really awesome post and as a fan of Heroes this really is goes hand in hand with the show and is helpful for anyone wanting to Blog better.
P.S. Welcome aboard The Blog Herald!
Great first post Valeria! Now I have another place to try and track you down… not that I’m a stalker or anything… ;-)
Yes, the old word “authenticity” comes to mind. If “you” isn’t big words and flowery speech, that will come through and people will feel it. Not good. If “you” is very simple speech, maybe even funny or irreverent, and you write that way, people will see it and feel it and probably come back for more. Hey we all make mistakes too, so don’t be afraid to admit it or even point those mistakes out. We ALL learn from mistakes, so maybe your mistake can help somebody else not make the same one. It’s a sharing kind of thing.
It’s a worn phrase these days, but “keeping it real” really does work and it is far more easy than trying to be something you aren’t. Even if showing off all the flaws is frightening, it is very rewarding and really does endear you to your readers. Trust me on this one…
Virginia — thank you for stopping by and for the kind words. I tried following the link back to your blog and got an error.
Tanner — what a nice welcome. I smiled when I followed you back to your blog. I posted on piracy about ten days ago. Glad to be here with you.
Tim — this is a very nice group of writers. I’ve been reading for a while and can say that keeping it real is what it’s all about.
What a helpful opening post and a terrific way to kick off the new gig!