“If they’re in your session, they’ve already drunk the Kool-Aid,” explained well-known humor speaker and coach Bill Stainton at our most recent National Speakers Association of Indiana meeting. Stainton was offering a tip to conference “breakout session” speakers, but he might well have been coaching content writers in Indianapolis.
Conference attendees who choose to attend sessions titled “Better Employee Relations”, “Applying the New Federal Regs on Manufacturing”, or “Orange Growing in Your Own Back Yard”, for example, already have an interest in one of those topics. The point Stainton was emphasizing to us speakers is that in such a situation, long introductory remarks are superfluous; the session leader needs to get to the heart of the matter straight away.
As a professional ghost blogger for business owners and professional practitioners, I realized that breakout sessions at a conference are an almost exact parallel with corporate blogs. If readers have arrived at your business blog, it’s because they already have an interest in your topic – they’ve already “drunk the Kool-Aid”, and are ready to receive the information, the services, and the products you have to offer. It’s now up to you to assure those visitors, through the words and pictures in your business blog content, that they’ve come to precisely the right place to get what they’re after.
In any talk, not only a breakout session but even a keynote address, Stainton explained, the first five minutes must be indicative of what the audience can expect. What will be the format and presentation style (humorous/ serious, questions welcomed/questions held to the end?) and “stance” (problem-solving/ informational/motivational?). The audience will go along with any number of different approaches, but they want to know “the deal”, meaning what they should expect.
When I’m offering corporate blogging training sessions to business owners and their employees, or talking to freelance blog writers, I’m telling them the same thing. It’s just that a couple of seconds, not five minutes, describes the “window” of time blog content writers have to “get indicative” and capture readers’ attention.
Yes, online readers who arrive at your business blog may have already tasted the Kool-Aid and apparently are interested in more of it. Your task is to keep them engaged with valuable, personal, and relevant information, beginning with the “downbeat”,(which is my term for the first sentence of each post).
Yes, those visitors are drinking Kool-Aid, and the only question remaining is – will they be drinking your brand?