If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I harp on one thing over and over:
The key to successful copywriting, business blogging and marketing in general is to focus intently on what’s in it for *them*.
Them, of course, refers to your readers, your prospects, your current clients and customers, and the giant mass of people out there who don’t yet know who you are and couldn’t care less.
In other words, you’ve got to offer as much unique value as possible.
If It’s Too Good to be True…
An unexpected corollary of offering unique value, though, is that people want to know what’s in it for you. It all comes down to the old cliché:
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
This is a classic example of having a great benefit that triggers an emotional acceptance response, but nonetheless needs to be backed up with a rational reason why.
Remember the second of The Two Most Important Words in Blogging?
- We’re slashing prices to the bone because we need to clear out inventory to make room for the new 2007 models!
- I don’t usually discount my fees, but because I got hit with an unexpected tax bill, you can save 25% if you sign up this week.
- We’re giving you your first three months free, because we’re so sure you’ll be delighted that you will never want to miss a single issue.
Giving a reason why you’re willing to make the offer that you do is a fundamental of good marketing. Without it, an excellent offer can be seen as untrustworthy.
And I totally forgot about it myself early on with this blog.
Back during the first six months of Copyblogger, I would constantly get email from people who thanked me for the content, but also really wanted to know what was in it for me as the author.
I didn’t have ads.
I wasn’t soliciting clients.
I wasn’t selling anything.
I wrote all of those people back, thanked them, and told them not to worry about me.
But they weren’t worried about me.
And then I read this post from Seth Godin (in particular his mention of “user confidence”) about why Fred Wilson has ads on his blog (even though he doesn’t need the money). It was one of those forehead-slapping moments, and I understood why people were emailing me, some sounding concerned.
There was no apparent reason why I was doing all this work.
The Reason Why I Started This Blog
So now I have a few ads on this blog. I don’t make much from them, and although not in Fred Wilson’s league, I don’t really need the small amount of money that they bring in.
But no one emails me sounding concerned anymore.
It never occurred to me to just explain early on what my reasons were, even though I should have known better. But even now when I tell people the real reason it seems like they think I’m crazy.
The ads are easier, but I’ll tell you the reason anyway.
The real reason I started this blog was just to throw my hat in the ring; to come out from behind the scenes and get involved in a meaningful way. From my perspective, that meant I needed to demonstrate to others what I know and what I have to offer.
This is a very exciting time online, and I had a blast during Web 1.0, even though the whole thing was based in large part on stupidity that ended badly. I’m digging Web 2.0 a whole lot more (pun intended), because I think it’s sustainable, and because it empowers individuals and small groups more than anyone else.
And thanks to this blog, I now have a business network and several lucrative working relationships that didn’t exist this time last year.
The point is this—blogging can serve many commercial purposes.
You can make money from ads.
You can sell products.
You can sell services.
Or you can simply blog to meet cool people with great skills and great ideas and do business with them in a variety of ways.
That last one is the reason why I started this blog.
And I’ll probably go ahead and take a shot at the other ones too.