Once in a while, every blogger’s writing gets a little stale. You still get your point across well enough, but your posts are missing that passion, that power, that “Oomph” that forces people to pay attention. Everything you write sounds like you’re tired. You might even start to wonder if you’re getting bored with your topic.
Is it true? Are you doomed to mediocre content? Should you just stop wasting time and give up on your blog now?
You see, writers aren’t the only creative professionals who suffer from a lack of pizzazz. All artists, from painters to choreographers to musicians, struggle to find an emotional connection with their work, and even the best of us go through dry spells.
Sometimes, you can just wait for it to pass. Other times, it stays dry, and you plummet into writer’s block. When that happens, everyone seems to have advice on what to do, but in my experience, very little of it works. For me, only one technique is consistently effective.
I call it “One Butt Cheek Blogging.”
Get off of Those Butt Cheeks!
Who would’ve ever thought your butt cheeks could have anything to do with blogging? But they do. In fact, you might say they’re an excellent yardstick for engagement in general.
The next time you’re in a public event, such as a lecture, play, or ballgame, look at everyone’s body posture. People who are disengaged are usually leaning back, resting comfortably on both butt cheeks. It’s only when they really get into it that they begin leaning forward, putting all of their weight on a single cheek.
Think it’s insignificant? It’s not.
I borrowed the concept from Benjamin Zander, one of the most sought after conductors and public speakers in the world. In one of his speeches (you really should watch this), he tells a story about advising a struggling pianist to lean forward on one butt cheek and then play the piece again. The pianist was a little skeptical, but considering Zander‘s reputation, he tried it anyway.
Almost if by magic, the pianist connected with the piece. Instead of just thinking about the music intellectually, he brought his body into it, using his posture to help unlock his passion. Ever since, Benjamin Zander has been spreading the one butt cheek methodology around the world, even teaching it to companies that want to help their employees become more engaged.
The good news is it works for writers too. Here’s how to become a one butt cheek blogger:
Write from the Inside Out
So many bloggers quit writing because their topic ceases to inspire them. They think the only way to keep going is to start a new blog on a new topic and reach for new inspiration.
But that’s a huge mistake.
Any longtime writer will tell you that you can’t wait for your work to inspire you. You’ll be waiting forever. The only way you’ll make writing a career is if you can bring inspiration to your work, not the other way around.
Most beginning bloggers have it backwards. They think the topic is supposed to inspire them, when really, they are supposed to inspire the topic.
You have to write from the inside out.
Every time I start to write a post, I usually spend at least 10-20 minutes looking for my passion. I just sit there and think, not writing a word. I have to give my mind time to find that special idea.
When it happens, I know it. My heart starts beating faster. I wake up. And if I were able to move from the neck down, I guarantee you I would be leaning forward onto one butt cheek, raring to write.
Never, ever sit down to write with the intention of just cranking out a post. Your writing deserves full engagement, and so do your readers. You might even say it’s contagious.
How to Engage Your Readers
If you want to learn how to be a great writer, spend some time watching great speakers like Benjamin Zander and how their audiences react.
When a great speaker is performing, it’s impossible to ignore them. As the speech goes on, they seem to get bigger and bigger onstage, drawing the audience in by the sheer gravity of their persona. They don’t just deliver the content. They unleash a torrent of energy that’s so powerful that you can feel it around you.
You can see it not only in the audience’s posture, but also in their eyes. They light up like Christmas lights. It isn’t their own energy that causes their eyes to sparkle, either. It’s the energy of the speaker, powering them like an electric cable.
Can you have the same effect on your readers?
One of the hard parts about blogging is you can’t see people’s reactions. You can’t see their eyes sparkling or them leaning forward in their seats. All you have is their comments, and most people can’t articulate the effect you have on them. So it’s hard to know.
But I’ll tell you… the posts I love most dearly are the ones where bloggers pour themselves into it. Here on Copyblogger, it’s this one about Brian’s near-death experience. If you want to see the results, just look at the number of trackbacks and comments.
The bottom line: if you want to engage your readership, then you have to engage yourself. Don’t just deliver the content. Put so much passion into your posts that they’re impossible to ignore.
You won’t just become a better blogger. You’ll also become a better person.
And the eyes of your readers? You might not be able to see them, but all across the world, they’ll begin to shine.
That’s the magic of full engagement.
About the Author: Jon Morrow is an Associate Editor of Copyblogger and co-founder of Partnering Profits.