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Achieving Eudaimonia in Business Blog Writing

The Stoics realized that there are things we control, and things we don’t. To get to the good life, we should focus on things we control, accepting the rest as it happens. When it comes to the things we can control, Stoics believe it’s not an external situation that makes us happy or miserable, but our interpretation of that situation. The idea is to achieve a supremely happy life, which Stoics call eudaimonia.

That ancient philosophy can help business entrepreneurs today, theconversation.com comments. As I read this article, it occurred to me that three business concepts based on Stoicism can serve as great guidelines for those of us involved in blog marketing:

  1.  “Before we try to control events, we have to control ourselves.”

Twelve years ago, in the process of explaining the way my company Say It For You came about, I talked about the “drill sergeant discipline” needed by blog content writers. What I meant was that, while all my business owner clients knew that writing blogs in their area of expertise was going to be a great idea for them, not very many of them felt they could take the time to compose and post content on a regular basis.  I also knew that the main key to business blogging success was going to be simply keeping on task. Meanwhile, our business owner clients can’t throw in the towel before success has been given the chance to develop. We can’t control the market or our customers – first we have to control our own activities.

2. “Stoicism means leveraging your uniqueness.” (Don’t let emulation turn into imitation.)

To have any hope of moving higher in search rankings and engage readers’ interest, blogs must provide fresh, relevant content. But, with the sheer volume of information on the Web on every topic under the sun, how do we keep providing new material in our blog posts week after week, month after month, even year after year? Two strategies include bringing in less well-known facts about familiar things and processes, and suggesting new ways of thinking about things readers already know.
But, besides offering unique tidbits of information, we must incorporate one important ingredient – opinion. Taking a stance, using blog content writing to express a firm opinion on issues, is how companies and practices can leverage their uniqueness.

   3.  “Stoicism turns problems into opportunities.”

I teach freelance blog writers in Indianapolis to include stories of their clients’ past mistakes and failures. Such stories have a humanizing effect, engaging readers and creating feelings of empathy and admiration for the business owners or professional practitioners who overcame not only adversity, but the effects of their own mistakes! When customers’ complaints and concerns are recognized and dealt with “in front of other people” (in blog posts), it gives the “apology” or the “remediation measure” more weight. In fact, in corporate blogging training sessions, I remind Indianapolis blog writers to “hunt” for stories of struggle and mistakes made in the early years of a business or practice!

Studying the Stoics gives us a chance at achieving blogging eudaimonia!

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Business Bloggers Can be Authors of Defining Moments

bloggers as authors of defining moments

In The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact, authors Chimp and Dan Heath posit that there are certain brief experiences which jolt us, change us, and elevate us. What if a teacher could design a lesson he knew students would remember twenty years later, they ask.  What if a manager knew how to create an experience that would delight customers?

And what if (reading this book made me ponder), we knew how to create content that would delight readers and emblazon our clients’ brands in  prospects’ and customers’ minds and hearts? Isn’t that, I asked myself, really what this business blog marketing thing is all about?

When people assess an experience, the Heath brothers explain, they tend to forget or ignore its length and rate it, in retrospect, based on the best or worst moment (“the peak”) and the ending. Translated into the construction of a marketing blog post, while it’s the keyword phrase that starts the job of getting the blog found, a big part of blog content writing, I’ve found, involves getting what I call the “pow opening line” right.

The opener might consist of an anomaly (a statement that, at first glance, doesn’t appear to fit). Or, the opener might be a bold assertion or “in-your-face” statement. The “pow” opener puts words in readers’ mouths – when talking to others about this topic, readers will tend to use the very words you will have, figuratively, “put in their mouths”. Seth Godin’s “There are actually two recessions” is a perfect example of impactful, thought-changing discussion-piece openers.

The Power of Moments authors talk about ”flipping pits into peaks”, turning customer complaints into positive, memorable experiences.  You want to get things wrong, then have customers bring those mistakes to your attention, so that you can create a memorable “fix”. For us blog content writers, the lesson is this: writing about past business failures is important! True stories about mistakes and struggles are very humanizing, adding to the trust readers place in the people behind the business or professional practice.

Readers, I explain to business owners and practitioner clients, even the ones who have subscribed to your blog, are not going to peruse, much less study, every word in every one of your blog posts, however relevant the information, however artfully worded.  What we’re shooting for as blog writers is to be authors of defining moments for readers rather than merely waiting for those moments to happen!

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Motivating Others Through Our Blogs

 

 

book-cover-100-ways
“Motivating others requires a connection to people’s deep desires. It’s not just about loading them up with a lot of how-to information,” write Steve Chandler and Scott Richardson in 100 Ways to Motivate Others.

Since as blog content writers, we’re trying to motivate readers to take action, what lessons can we learn from this book of 100 ways? I’ll choose just a few pointers offered by the authors that I found most relevant:

1.  “You can’t motivate someone who can’t hear you….In order for someone to hear you, she must first be heard…Tune in before you turn on.”
I remember, years ago, listening to a speech by radio host Michael Medved in which he told us that we need to listen to our clients with “three ears”.  That’s because we need to hear what they say, hear what they’re not saying, and even discern what they don’t even know how to say!

If we as blog writers can go right to the heart of any possible customer fears or concerns (which we’ve learned through deep research into our target market!) we have the potential to breed understanding and trust.

 

2   Stop criticizing upper management. “Maybe you do this to win favor and create bonding at the victim level, but it won’t work…The word ‘they’ solidifies the impression that we are isolated, misunderstood, victims.”
The authors are talking about managing employees, but the same lesson can be applied to the attitudes we convey about our competitors. Other providers are viable alternatives for our customers, and readers don’t like to be “made wrong” for checking out what our competition has to offer.

Although one approach in a business blog is comparing your products and services to others’ it’s important to emphasize the positive rather than “knocking” a competitor.  That means that, rather than starting with what the competition is doing “wrong”, use the power of “We” to demonstrate what YOU value and the way YOU like to deliver your products and services.

 

3.  “ Do the one thing… The truth is, there is only one thing to do, and that is the one thing I have chosen to do right now. If I do that one think as if it’s all I have to think about, it will be extremely well done.”
In blogging, doing the one thing takes the form of what I call “the Power of One“ –  addressing, in each blog post, one message, to one audience, targeting one outcome.

It’s here that blog posts have a distinct advantage over the more static website copy.  Each post can have a razor-sharp focus on just one story, one idea, one aspect of your business.  The more focused out efforts are on connecting with a narrowly defined target audience, the more successful the blog will be in converting prospects to clients and customers.

There are, no doubt, at least 97 other ways to motivate readers through our blogs, but these three make for a good start!

 

 

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Blog to Foster the Human Connection in the Digital Age

??????????????????????????????????????????????Have you ever wondered why handmade items are looked upon as superior, while machine made pieces are often deemed inferior? And is that still true?

“Perhaps it used to matter if a dress was handmade or machine made, at least in haute couture, but now things are complete different,” said Karl Lagerfield at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Spring 2016 exhibition.

Not everyone agrees. Julie Heller, owner of an appointment-only designer vintage store EraLuxe gallery, admits that the scope of what makes a garment valuable is changing. As technology advances, handmade pieces will be associated with added value – mostly because, she says, of “society’s nostalgia for the craftsmanship of the past”.

Hazel Clark, research chair of fashion at Parsons, agrees. “We are seeking connection in many walks of life – including in our clothes, says.  That sense of the individual in the process is important, a sense of a relationship with the person who has made the item.

Does this discussion about creating connection relate to blog marketing? In every way. “How would most people describe their relationship with your company?” asks Corey Wainwright of hubspot.com. Is the relationship purely transactional, make you just a place they go to get something they need, or do you elicit more personal feelings? “When your audience is reminded there are real life humans behind the scenes,” it becomes easier for them to trust your product or service, Wainright concludes..

On your website and in your blog, you can get your point across really well with clear, concise, straightforward copy.  But, Wainright explains, if you can get your point across and humanize your brand, you have the potential to delight readers. Two ways, among others, to achieve that effect, he says:

  • Infuse a sense of humor into your content once in a while.
  • Publish photos of your team being themselves.

One interesting perspective on the work we do as professional bloggers is that we translate clients’ corporate message into human, people-to-people terms.  People tend to buy when they see themselves in the picture and relate emotionally to the person bringing them the message.

Blog readers may be connecting with you digitally, but it’s up to you to foster the human connection!

 

 

 

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Highlight the Team in Your Business Blogs

Multicultural smile
Highlighting your team is a great way to bring your readers behind the scenes and let them see the team camaraderie. This kind of transparency builds trust with your readers,” says Any Porterfield in socialmediaexaminer.  “Your team can help you keep things informal, fun and relatable,” she adds.

Since I work as a professional ghost blogger, I’ve obviously needed to abandon most of my generational bias towards long, individually composed business letters and long phone conversations and come into the world of electronic marketing tools.  But there’s a reason  I gravitated towards composing blogs rather than website copy.  In a way, blogs are the humanizing factor in the online communications family. The blogs are where you meet the people running the business or professional practice.

One interesting perspective on the work we do as professional bloggers is that we are interpreters, translating clients’ corporate message into human, people-to-people terms. In fact, one reason I prefer first and second person writing in business blog posts over third person “reporting” is that I believe people tend to buy when they see themselves in the picture and when can they relate emotionally to the person bringing them the message.

“Getting down and human” in business blogs is so important that it becomes a good idea for a business owner and professional to actually write about past mistakes and struggles. After all, it’s much easier to connect to someone who has been where you are.

It’s interesting – blogging is an essential customer acquisition tool in our increasingly web-based world, but very few business owners can spare the time to post relevant, new material with enough consistency and frequency to have much of an effect. As blog content writers, our Say It for You team is providing that service, which seems like a contradiction to the idea of the readers meeting the actual team of employees who are providing the product or service..

Not really. Even if your hired gun “ghost blogger” is doing the writing, employees themselves can provide anecdotes and information, and different blog posts can feature different employees and owners.

Humanizing the blog by bringing readers behind the scenes helps keep your company or professional practice relatable. The old saw still applies: People want to do business with people!

 

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