Messages have two aspects, explains Elizabeth J. Natalle in Teaching Interpersonal Communication, the report aspect and the command aspect. Since we blog content writers are always looking to find the right tone to translate corporate message into people-to-people terms, I found Natalle’s explanation of the two categories very useful.
I put the well-written article “50 Ways to Live a Longer, Healthier Life” (in the March issue of the AARP Magazine) to the control/command test. Author Nick Farrai offers lots of information and statistics from credible sources, including:
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel review
- 15 studies published in the European Heart Journal
- New York University’s Langone Medical Center
- Harvard University’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health
- JAMA Internal Medicine
- American Heart Association
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Johns Hopkins University
- Concordia University
- U.S. Department of Transportation
So how did this long article fare when it came to the command aspect? (Remember that the command aspect related to the relationship between the communicants – the people offering the advice and those for whom the advice is intended). I gave Farrai high marks for knowing his audience, and for showing how the information he was serving up would help you (he uses the word “you” a lot, which is great for creating a relationship). He’s “giving away” highly useful tips with no hint of salesmanship. “With this collection of some of the most important longevity findings, you’ll have the road map you need to get to 80, 90, 100 or beyond.”
The 50 healthful hints following each set of statistics and findings come in the form of definitive “commands”.
- “Go nuts”.
- “Keep watching LOL cat videos”
- “Get social”
- “Watch your grandkids”
- “Read more”
- Practice home fire drills”
- “Take the stairs every day.”
You might say the art of blog marketing consists of supplying facts, and then putting those facts in context, which is precisely what this AARP article does. As bloggers, we’re giving readers the raw materials to think about, but we need to go one step further, demonstrating why those facts matter, and suggesting ways readers can use the information for their own benefit. That’s exactly what in-command business blogging does!