Instead-of-What Blogging for Business

Back in 1764, I was reminded by the editors of Mental Floss Magazine, Scottish engineer James Watt was pondering the same question that’s on all of our minds when we’re doing blog marketing – How do I convince people they should use my product?  (In the case of us freelance content writers, of course, we’re trying to sell our clients’ products and services.)

Watt had improved the steam engine, but mine operators continued to rely on horses to haul heavy loads. Watt calculated that it took a horse one minute to lift 33,000 pounds of coal one foot. A machine that did that job had a horsepower of 1. Watt’s calculation, the editors point out, was less than scientifically accurate.  Still, because it was based on the familiar, on information the miners already knew, his logic persuaded mine owners to try his engine.

One core function of blog marketing is explaining yourself, your business philosophy, your products, and your processes – all with an eye to converting readers into customers and clients. An effective blog clarifies what sales trainers like to call your “unique value proposition” in terms readers can understand. And one excellent way to do just that is by making comparisons with things with which readers are already comfortable and familiar!  As Dale Carnegie himself advised, “compare the strange with the familiar.” 

“Before engines could take off, one inventor had to get marketing down to a science,” conclude the Mental Floss editors. Since inbound marketing has been, since 2006, “the most effective marketing method for doing business online,” advises aligning the content with your customers’ interests and levels of understanding.

James Watt was able to persuade the mining operators of his time that the new machines would make a good “instead of” for the horses they were accustomed to using.

As blog content writers, we need to know what products and services our target audience is accustomed to using, then make a powerful case for the value of what we’re offering instead.

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