Is coming across as biased a bad thing? Not when it comes to blog marketing, I concluded, after reading in the Guardian about a great lecture by writer Neil Gaiman. Gaiman started out the lecture he was giving on the importance of libraries by saying “It’s important for people to tell you what side they are on and why.” As an author of fiction over the last thirty years, Gaiman has been earning his living through his words, so it’s obviously in his interest, he admits, for people to read.
Journalists often feel compelled to try to prove they are “unbiased,” Walter Dean admits in a piece for the American Press Institute . “But what if they took a different approach, acknowledging that bias is built into the choices they make when deciding what to leave in or leave out? Draining a story of all bias can drain it of its humanity,” he says.
Serving as head of the Say It For You team of blog content writers, I’ve had a lot of time to ponder the notion. Our mission is to help business owners and professional practitioners frame their stories, letting readers know what they know how to do and what they offer. But in addition, they need to show what they stand for and what they stand against. One of the gurus I follow is Seth Godin. In the book, All Marketers Tell Stories, Godin says something really powerful: “Your opportunity lies in finding a neglected worldview, framing your story in a way that this audience will focus on.” That “worldview” is a bias.
As content creators, we are influencers. We have to be. The content itself needs to use opinion – call it bias if you wish – to clarify what differentiates that business, that professional practice, or that organization from its peers. Just why have you chosen this particular model for your business or practice? I loved this sentence from the University of Sussex Department of Communications and External Affairs about opinion pieces in general:
“The most important thing to remember is that “readers are not necessarily interested in what you do; they are interested in what you have to say.”