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Overheard on #Blogchat: Customer Need (@BeckyMcCray)

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Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night (or Monday morning), I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This week’s theme: how small businesses can use blogs with co-host @BeckyMcCray

Though tonight’s co-host, the fabulous Beck McCray (who I met at BlogWorld for a hot minute), had a bunch of awesome tips for bloggers, one in particular that I wanted to highlight is this:

@BeckyMcCray: Huge key for small biz blogs: Focus on what customers want to know, not what you want to tell them about your business.

This is so important, and not just for small business blogs. It’s important for all of us as bloggers to ask ourselves, “What does the reader want?”

Blogs can be a great promotional tool, but where I see so many go wrong is in being too much about the writer and not enough about the reader. Being a bit self-indulgent is fine, but if you have twenty posts in a row about events your company has held, chances are that your reader is going to start to get a bit board. We get it. Your business is awesome and likes to support causes and organizations in the community. We don’t need yet another post about your Relay for Life team or the Girl Scout troop camping trip you’re sponsoring.

Instead, what problems can you fix for your readers (who are your customers – or at least have that potential to be your customers)? If you run a hair salon, could you teach me ten tips for de-frizzing my hair? If you run a bakery could you teach me a new recipe I can use at home? If you run a retail store, could you teach me which television best fits my family’s needs?

Remember, this isn’t just for the small business. Go a step further and actually ask your readers what they want. Maybe they don’t need tips on de-frizzing hair. Maybe they’re more interested in prom updo trends for next season. You can poll your readers, respond to comments you receive, or even add an “ask a question” function on your blog. Just because you like to write about a certain topic doesn’t mean that’s what your readers want to read from you.

At least…not every day. It is still your blog, so it makes sense to write when you feel passionate about a topic. If your blog is a business of its own or you’re using a blog to help promote your business, though, remember that your readers/customers need to have a little possession in your blog’s content. Otherwise, they’ll never truly be a part of your community.


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  • Wayne McEvilly

    I found this post via blogchat and @BeckyMcCray who has been a tremendous help & encouragement to me as I go forth into Blogville – I agree with the emphasis on focus in that tip – it applies universally – whether you’re blogging, making a movie, performing, writing a letter – even tweeting – audience is it, audience is central – If you blog to “customers” it is not attractive – If you blog to an audience with them in mind – they become customers – That’s my premise.
    Wayne
    Thanks for the post. It is useful. I love useful.

  • Heidi Cohen

    Alli–Thank you for highlighting this nugget from Becky McCray’s blogchat. I agree that it should be at the core of any blogger’s focus, regardless of whether you’re a small business, a Fortune 100 or a personal blogger. You have understand that your blog is about your readers, especially the great silent majority who don’t comment or tweek. What they do is show up and validate your blogging. This importance shouldn’t be overlooked. Keep up the blogging and hope to see you on BlogChat next Sunday. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • Becky McCray

    Alli, that is a great follow up post. And I love Wayne’s distinction between “customers” and “audience.” I try to remember that as a speaker, as a blogger, and as businessperson.

    Heidi also makes a great point about the silent majority of our audience. They don’t speak up, but they do show up, and they matter.

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