We business bloggers love to write, but we sometimes forget an important fact: online searchers don’t (at least not generally) like to read.
Instead, they scan to be sure your blog content:
– answers their question
– shows them how to satisfy their need
– offers them a fresh approach to their problem.
In short, searchers scratchboard.
Scratchboarding, I learned much to my fascination, is an art technique that began back in 1864 in Austria. Indianapolis artist Rod-Man explains that the scratchboard itself is a piece of masonite covered in a thin layer of white clay. The clay is spray-painted with black India ink. What the artist does is scratch off the ink to expose the clay underneath to create the image. Scratchboard artists tend to use homemade tools to create the art, everything from steel wool to fiberglass brushes to household utensils.
In fact, the first international exhibition of scratchboard art just concluded a run at the Dean Johnson Gallery in Indianapolis. Some of the scratchboard creations I saw took up almost the entire area of the board; others had a colorful image in the center surrounded by a sea of black. So, even though the basic medium was the same, each piece of art seemed to approach the “board” in unique fashion.
With scratchboarding fresh in my mind, I realized that the art form is an apt metaphor for the way people approach blogs. If our business blog content is fresh and relevant to the inquiry, readers won’t “bounce” quickly away to look elsewhere for the information they need.
But even those searchers who stick around awhile will use our blogs in individualized ways. Some will follow each link, meandering through pages of related material, then come back to our blog to tie it all together. Others might read scan straight through our 300+word offering, just “scratching the surface”.
Wanting more, they might go back and follow some of the links we’ve provided to other sources. Hopefully, some will “etch” deeper, eventually arriving at our website.
Rod-man, a pipe-fitter and custom car painter by trade, says he’s choosing to express who he has become by doing his scratchboard art. “Many of my works end up with items from my day job included in the design.” (And here’s the part of Rod-man’s interview statement that really connects with blogging:) “I’m trying to persuade the viewer to slow down and take a closer look…My hope is that they will see something in a new light, from a different angle.”
Isn’t that precisely the effect we business bloggers should try to create? We want searchers to get a sense of our unique approach to our business so they’ll know they’ve come to the right place to get answers, satisfy their needs, and find solutions to their problems. We business bloggers, I’ve concluded – we’re all just scratchboard artists in disguise!