"My job is to serve as a human shield, to protect my people from external intrusions, distractions, and idiocy of every stripe." That, according to Harvard Business Review blogger Robert Sutton, is just one of twelve things good bosses believe.
I don’t think it’s going too far to say that bloggers for business share the mission with those good bosses. In the case of blogging, the job is shielding online readers from external distractions, "intrusions" and idiocy. Talk about distractions and intrusions! Technorati estimated the number of blogs at the start of 2009 at 200 million, with new ones coming online in the tens of thousands each day.
Even allowing for the fact that a large number of blogs are, for all intents and purposes, "dead", with no new content having been added in months and months, there is an awful lot of information (and an awful lot of misinformation) out there in the "blogiverse" on any topic under the sun. Looked at from the vantage point of professional ghost blogger and blogging trainer, then, I think one important function of high-quality business blog posts is to help readers find their way, amidst that enormous deluge of information, to the information they need, put in a context that works for them.
If you’re to serve as a "shield", that means offering searchers a common-sense system or grid to filter that ocean of information.
- Establish credibility. Use "only-ness" statements to demonstrate the uniqueness of your approach to your profession or area of expertise.
- Show your "measure". A good part of the confusion felt by online searchers comes from the fact that, not having been trained in your field, they don’t know how to judge how experienced you are relative to your competitors, if your prices are fair, and where you "place" in the big scheme of products and services. The more logic and clarity you can provide in your blog post, the more readers will feel a sense of "relief" at having to search no longer for the information, products, and services they need.
- Keep it bite-sized. Offer a lot of good information, but exercise portion control, focusing on one key concept in each blog post.
Brick by brick, blog post by blog post, with user-friendly information posted frequently and consistently, you’ll be building a human shield against distractions of every stripe!