Over the past few weeks, I've been giving a lot of thought to how blogging and marketing interact and how businesses (mine too!) need to take a different approach than what they're used to when trying to create an online presence through social media.
It seems like most of us small biz owners who are using blogs as marketing tools are very much compliantly, unobtrusively, predictably inserting round pegs into the round holes put before us.
We enter the arena of social media with a corporate background and the idea that professionalism translates the same online as it does offline--you must have a photo of yourself looking business-y, you must be policially correct, non-offensive, polite at all costs and for God's sake, don't do anything unexpected--you might surprise folks and cause yourself to stand out!
This post from Seth hit home with me. He says:
Most marketing is intentional. In this ad I will advertise this product.
So is most writing. A knitting blog writes about...wait for it... knitting.
Our mind is prepared for what we are about to receive. If it's a sales pitch, we're ready to ignore it. If it's on a familiar blog, we're ready for it to be familiar.
Real memories are created by surprises.
Real change is created by unexpected juxtapositions.
And Seth asks a question that has been swirling around in my brain lately--
Most marketers, probably you, are busy putting your round pegs in the round holes that have been given to you. What if you did the opposite?
For most business blogs, the idea is to establish yourself as an expert in your field, so the content is usually informational.
The trick is turning informational writing into something that is a bit more creative, because truly, if it's only straight forward information that you're providing, then your readers could just as eaily do a Google search for what they need and end up looking at someone else's blog next time. And honestly, haven't we all seen enough "HowTo" and "Top 10" list posts in our lives?
It's just a street sign in Michigan. The purpose of the sign is to convey specific information ("Don't go swimming here!").
If this sign were like all other generic, uniform signs (Stop, Yield, speed limit, whatever) then you would really only take notice of it if you were on that beach in Michigan and considering taking a dip in the water.
But this sign is not like other signs.
It surprised me and made me laugh. It looks like a sign Edward Munch would come up with, but on second glance, perhaps they're warning us that the waters are alien infested ;-)!
This sign captured my attention even though I'm not on that beach in Michigan and even though the information it's meant to convey doesn't really apply to me.
Still, I look at it, laugh, show it to you, and will store this amusing memory in my brain even after I stop looking at the photo of the sign.
Ah, now I get it. Information becomes interesting and memorable when its delivery includes unexpected juxtapositions and surprises.
When that happens, a knitting blog is interesting even to folks who don't knit.