A study about distraction is something business bloggers should pay attention to.
Psychology Science reports that hearing only one end of a two-person conversation is more distracting than hearing both sides. College students were given minute-long cognitive computer tasks to perform, during which the computers’ speakers played a two-person dialogue, or a "halfalogue", where the student could hear only one half of a phone conversation.
The purpose of the Psychology Science experiment had to do with cell phone use, and findings helped explain why it’s so difficult to ignore the "halfalogues" we overhear people talking on their phones. Bottom line – conversations work only when they are, at the very minimum, dialogues.
While the researchers were quick to offer the caveat that the test results might not apply so neatly to tasks outside the lab, as a business blogging trainer, I think there is a message here bloggers might heed.
There’s been a lot of conversation in online marketing circles about using blogs to create "conversations" with clients. Now that a host of tools have developed to measure the success of business blogs, as Doug Karr and Chantelle Flannery explain in their book Corporate Blogging For Dummies, it’s come to light that counting reader comments is not an effective measure of a blog’s success.
"One out of 100 or 1 of 1,000 visitors will comment on a blog post, and they’re typically not the type of visitor who is going to buy from you."
In fact, the authors point out, comments to your blog are often generated by industry professionals – your competition. You should meansure the success of your blog, therefore, not by the number of comments visitors leave, but by the effect the blog has on your business!
So are "halfalogues" OK for business blogs? Yes, if they result in conversions. Responding to one of your Calls to Action is your online visitors’ way of holding up their end of the conversation. (Karr and Flannery warn against requesting too much information from readers who click through to one of your landing pages, or putting them through unnecessary navigation.)
What I’ve concluded is that the process in business blogging is very much a two-way street:
- (Ball in customers’ court): Searchers go online because they want something – information, products, or services. They find your blog post because it’s a match for those needs.
- (Ball in your court): You offer various Calls to Action on your blog site.
- (Ball in customers’ court): They respond with questions, information about themselves, subscribing to your blog, etc.
- (Ball in your court): You respond with appropriate action.
Bottom line about all this? Business blog posts are not exactly dialogues, but, when they work well, they’re hardly halfalogues, either. I’ve decided to coin the phrase