John Tackett

Content Marketing: Finding the Goldilocks zone in your blogging

One of the perks of growing up in Northeast Florida was being able to watch space shuttle launches from my backyard. I never became an astronaut, but having NASA as one of your neighbors has an impact on you.

For example, I still keep up with NASA’s continued efforts to explore space, which is currently centered on a strategy of looking to planets in the Goldilocks zone orbiting around stars as big as our sun.

As a writer and editor, I often think about where the Goldilocks zone exists on our blogs.

Sure, there are a lot of factors to consider, but what I’ve found is that discovering the ideal zone where the conditions of voice and benefit exist in just the right amounts so an audience can flourish is truly not easy to find.

But, there are a few elements to consider that can point you in the right direction.

 

Start with the bare bones of blogging

If you break a blog post down, you’ll usually find it consists of two basic elements:

  • Identity – The human element of your content’s voice
  • Benefit – What the audience gains out of your content

When writing blog posts, hopefully your goal is ideally to try and find the balance between those two elements while keeping the interests of your audience at the forefront. 

 

Here are a few Venn diagrams to help put this into perspective. Now, let’s take a look at some of the imbalances and why they matter.

 

The messenger in blogging is a part of the message

A blog that is light on identity lacks the humanistic touch that makes your voice unique.

I often see this as a common problem for newer blogs still developing their voice in the market, but it can quickly become a problem even for established blogs.

To put a little context around this, blogs traditionally started as a platform for democratic content. It was a way for thought leaders to bypass the gatekeeping of traditional media and cut through the noise by taking their message straight to the people.

This idea still holds true today to a large degree even as blogging continues to evolve, but the trick to remember is the messenger remains a vital part of the message.

Consequently, if your blog voice is an erratic messenger with no unique identity, even the most beneficial content on the planet will not save you from eventually being abandoned by an audience.

Before you publish another post, take some time with your team to review the basics around your brand’s persona and how that persona translates into delivering a consistent voice in your blog content.

 

Just make sure the messenger is not the entire message  

In the case of overdeveloped identity, the majority of attention is focused on the brand or the author and not on the audience or how they benefit from your content.

The upside of an overdeveloped identity is that it’s is easy to spot – I call it “look at me” blogging.

Now, don’t get me wrong; you want to include a certain amount of personable information in your content. After all, that human element of blogging is what made blogging so dynamic to begin with.

But, the challenge rests in knowing when to deliver enough voice identity in your blog posts to be personable and transition from that to delivering benefit to your audience.

“Look at me” blogging is seductive because it’s easier to do than producing value for an audience, but the consequences for your blog are toxic.

The best way to avoid this is by holding your blogging to an editorial standard where the promise of benefit to your audience is always the focus.

If your team develops the habit of fleshing out value first by asking, “What will the audience get out of this?” before a single word is put on paper, you’ll discover that easily understood value is also easily delivered value.

 

Finding your Goldilocks zone

Blogging is a lot of work, but it offers an opportunity to cultivate an audience that finds value in your message.

With that opportunity comes the responsibility to place your audience first and deliver on your promise of value because true value is at the center of everyone’s universe.

 

Related Resources

Content Marketing: A process for evaluating content channels

Content Marketing: How to manage a change in content on your blog

Content Marketing: 5 tips for WordPress blogging

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Inbound Marketing



  1. December 17th, 2013 at 11:27 | #1

    A great breakdown of the best ways to write blogs that speak to your audience and their needs. Thanks, John!

  2. John Tackett
    John Tackett
    December 17th, 2013 at 11:46 | #2

    Hi Melissa,

    Thank you for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed it.

    best,

    John Tackett

  3. December 18th, 2013 at 16:28 | #3

    Hey John,
    Great, concise tips. Just blasting off with a new start up and I will certainly use your advice. Thanks!

  4. September 8th, 2014 at 05:46 | #4

    Hi John,

    Good concept. Totally agree.

    You can take a step further though, for instance there is no one audience for your blog, you could have 2-3 groups with various needs and expertise. We have two main audiences Agencies and Online companies, where the former requires much more complex content (so in your terms a benefit that requires more value added from us).

    I also think content should have purpose; traffic, engagement, conversion, authority etc.

    Just my two cents. :)

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