Sometimes I think this is an impossible task. It seems that whenever I start doing research on a topic, the information I find is repetitive. Everyone is saying the same thing. I’m guilty of it myself. My justification is that my readers are depending on me to do the mundane research and distill the message down to what they want to know which is usually the ‘how to’ of something in easy, bite-sized pieces. But how does that bring them value?
What I have learned is that no matter what the topic, my personal experience with it is unique. Even if I speak on the much-talked-about theme of email marketing, there is no one who has handled it exactly as I have or who has gained the same lessons from the activity. This is the only true way to ensure that your blog post is original. Tell your own story. Bring to life the ‘how to’ tasks and embrace them as your own. This is, after all, why your readers are still with you.
So what does that look like? Let’s stick with the email marketing theme as our example. In the ‘how to’ blog I would speak about setting up a Mailchimp account, creating a list, customizing a template, writing compelling copy and headlines, formatting images, and ensuring there are adequate links and calls to action. If you do a search for any of those items right now you will see that there are dozens of articles and blogs on each of those topics. But what if we took it one step further?
Let’s suppose we blow up the ‘setting up a Mailchimp account’ to include links to Mailchimp that describe the how to’s with great detail and even a video. I don’t want to force the reader to click through to another site, however, so I provide a brief overview right there so they have the choice to learn more but they aren’t obligated to. Next I would talk about my reasons for choosing Mailchimp and the experience I’ve had working with other platforms such as Constant Contact and Active Campaign (both fine programs, but Mailchimp kept rising to the top for me…personal choice!) As I share my reasoning for choosing how I did, the reader is then compelled to consider their own circumstances to help drive their decision making.
If we were to take another example of ‘creating a list’ I can share my own personal experience of how I was stupid in the early days and simply added people to my list whether or not they asked to be there. Even though this was pre-CASL, it was poor form and not respectful. Obviously lots of people were doing things that way because the rules changed to ensure that anyone on your list has opted in to be there. Common sense suggests that you only want those people on your list anyway, right? If the people on your list actually chose to be there then they are the people who are more likely to become your fans and customers along the way. The idea of having a large email list filled with completely disengaged names is useless and counterproductive. These are people who you are speaking to who have given you the privilege of their time. Don’t take that for granted.
I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t just repeat the other guy. Take even the most mundane or repeated message and put your thumbprint on it. Share with your tribe the method and reasons behind your approach. Offer insights that dig deeper. Get creative and tell a new story!