But “catchy and consistent” is what it takes to get your blog posts ready by thousands of readers. I know you’re rolling your eyes about now. “Be catchy!” “Be Consistent!” You’ve heard that before. I might disregard their importance, too, if I hadn’t heard it from a ten year old.
When a kid tells you something with absolute authority, it kind of makes you stop and think. Which is what I did when my son Henry gave this advice the other night.
I asked for it, though. Literally. See, I’m having MyTeamConnects website reworked a bit and my designer sent me three files to choose from for my new web banner. Since he was sitting right there in the room with me, I asked my child what he thought.
Without hesitation, “Number two…it stands out.” And then, “Mom, if you want people to join your business, you have to be catchy and consistent.”
Hmm. pretty smart. Where’s he get this stuff?” I know the answer, though. I thought about it and I’ll point out in a second how he’s absolutely right.
By the way, this is a kid who’s heroes are YouTubers with lots of fans. (Don’t judge me too harshly, please. Computers are this family’s bread and butter.) Henry studies Youtube with a fierceness of any ten year old boy with a hobby. Think baseball cards or skateboarding. He subscribes to about 30 gamers’ channels which he follows and comments on. He is slowly accruing Christmas and birthday money to build his computer with all the equipment he needs to do the exact same thing. He uses his brother’s YouTube account because only he’s ten. I already told you that.
Actually he’ll be ten in two days. This birthday is important because he asked for Roxy Game Capture, which will allow him to finally record and post his own games. After considering his request for a over a year now, I’m breaking down. He can’t move forward without it. These days’ it’s no use telling your kids, “Well, I sure wasn’t’ allowed to record and share my games when I was a kid.” Futile.
And like it or not, he knows something about marketing. It’s YouTube, after all. A marketer’s paradise. I’m curious to see what he does with it.
So when this one tosses off the two things I have to be to get people to “join my business” (interesting choice of words), I pay attention.
Catch This: 4 Ways To Grab Attention With Your Blog
1. Start with a subject line that your reader must click on. Just to satisfy their curiosity, just so see what the heck you just meant by that. A subject line that justifies squeezing a few more seconds out of the day to find out what actually ARE the two things that the author needs to finally make her life complete today. Great subject lines pique your curiosity about what’s inside. You have to read more. Halfway through the article and you’re all in.
2. Next think of the word “catchy.” Something that’s easy to grasp and hold. It practically sticks to you. I bought a small, florescent orange football recently with a sticky surface peeking through black netting. The package virtually guaranteed that I would be able to catch it while playing with my sons. No lie; I caught that football! (Until the dog ran off with it.)
Give your readers the one thing they desperately want to do as much as I wanted to be able to play catch with my kids. Your readers want “sticky,” something that can’t miss, can’t fumble, something that solves all their problems and makes them heroes in the eyes of the people most important to them. They want a sticky football. Serve it up.
3. Catchy means Retention. Write something that your readers/viewers/listeners will retain. Do you know someone who whistles the same thing over and over again, or hums absent-mindedly while she works? You want to just kill that ear worm that slimes through their brain with the “catchy” tune they can’t get out of their head. Catchy writing can be almost like a jingle in your head. Try to write the thing your reader can’t forget. If it seems too easy, then it’s probably worth a go. Just say it in your own words and trust your instincts. Say out loud what everyone is thinking and no one will be able to forget it. Just say it.
4. Catchy is friendly. So what if you’re a glass-half-full kind of person? I’m challenging you to tweak it with a small ray of sunshine. People just seem to resonate more with upbeat tones. I know it’s said “misery loves company.” Even if you gravitate to frightening, shocking, or bleak themes, swing wide the door and see if you can shine some light on that. Remember that blogs are social at heart. People visit your blog because they want to hear what you have to say. So no left hooks that drop them cold, OK? If you want them to come back, end on a upbeat.
Tackling Consistency In 5 Steps
I must admit, my child took me back with this recommendation. What does a 10-year-old know about consistency? He declined an interview, so I’m left to my own devices.
1. Be consistent in your personality. Reveal those issues that spark emotion in you, but try not to veer wildly from one extreme to another. I offer this piece of advice, too: don’t write blog posts under the influence (Alternatively, drink every time you write your posts and all will be fine.) In all cases, go back a day later and reread them before you publish. Make writing an habitual practice so that your personality naturally comes through. This is called “developing your voice.
2. Create “Flow” in your website and sales pages. If you want people to “join your business,” as the kid says, anticipate and provide engaging links and pathways to more information or content. Maybe a link to Facebook, maybe a sales page or an ebook, maybe a link to an interview or webinar you did. Here’s where consistency is absolutely crucial.
Make sure the next thing your reader sees is a clear and natural progression, reinforcing the theme, the words, the colors, the fonts and the storyline so that people know they are in the right place and feel ever more comfortable taking the next step. Reveal more with each step of the process, with appropriate and consistent calls to action.
3. Aside from continuity in the sales process (or whatever it is you’re asking your readers to do next), make sure that your online presence is consistent across all your sites and pages. It is important that the reader is not jarred by each transition between your sites. Design with a purpose. Stick with it. Get help (it’s out there) if you need some branding definition and then revisit your “style” at least once each year to make user it suits you and your business.
4. This is big: Commit to regular posts, weekly or biweekly at least, regular emails, regular Facebook updates, tweets and Linked In posts. I know it’s a challenge, but this part of the consistency equation will pay you back in spades. People naturally grow to trust, or at least count on, folks who consistently post on social networks and their own blogs. Even if they don’t always agree, your regular readers will begin to understand the message you’re trying to send (you do have one, don’t you?), and appreciate your commitment and passion. The best blogs have something to say, consistently. It’s part of your job to keep the ideas coming and plug them into WordPress. Consistency is your easy ace. Use it and you will attract a real following, regardless of what you blog about. Remember tip #1? Nothing develops your voice faster than daily writing.
5. This final point assumes you have a sideline. Do you have a purpose that drives your blog? Like a business, charity, or local service? If you do you have customers, donors, investors, affiliates, clients or members. Consistency also weighs well in your interactions with those important people. Establish a standard procedure for screening new clients, serving them, and resolving problems. A unified code of conduct and operating procedures among all your people and systems allows you to work more efficiently and with less “drama.” Your customers benefit and quickly learn what to expect from you.
Catchy and consistent…that’s what he said. While there’s a strong chance Henry was thinking about the Gangnam Style guy, he’d probably forgive me for taking liberties with his two cents and applying it to small business blogging and marketing…
When he’s a YouTube star I’m sure he’ll tell you himself.
Did I miss anything? What’s standing in your way of being catchy and consistent with your blog? Share below; I’d like to know!
Carrot photo, Flickr Creative Commons: WoodlyWonderWorks