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.
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
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.