When the setting becomes the story, that’s an “uh-oh”, Writer’s Digest’s Larry Brooks cautions historical novelists. “If your narrative is composed primarily of a series of moments and happenings…then your middle pages may already be asleep as a result.”
Books grounded in rich historical settings can lead to wonderful stories, Brooks concedes, but (and here’s the part so relevant to us Indiana business bloggers): “Readers need to identify what they should be rooting for.”
Shock advertising can, in fact, move people to action, I learned, reading reports from the British Department of Health on the anti-smoking campaign “Get Unhooked” (which was banned because the ads caused fear and distress in children). In business blog writing, though, while it’s important to appeal to readers’ need to avoid pain, you’re more likely to “win friends and influence people” in your blog posts by giving searchers a “feel” for the relief and comfort they’ll gain after using your products and services. In fact, the whole tone of blog posts has to be welcoming and reassuring: We know what we’re doing around here. Rest assured, we’ll listen to your needs and you’ll be taken care of.
So how do you avoid the falling-asleep-in-the-middle effect? Author Steven James teaches budding novelists to maintain suspense in their writing. One way to do that, James says, is to put characters or things that readers care about in jeopardy.
In the same way as historical novelists need to avoid presenting what is an essentially a series of disconnected moments and happenings, business bloggers need to avoid disconnected series of product descriptions and lists of service offerings.
“WIIFM (“What’s in it for me?). That’s what your prospective clients want to know. A champion salesperson understands this and, rather than selling on price, sells value by way of the customer’s expressed value areas and by educating the customer on the cost of ownership,” teaches SalesGravy’s Steve Ferrante.
In blogging for business, always keep in mind – readers are rooting for themselves and they need to identify why and how you can help.