Indie’s Great Content Map provides a path for you as a blogger to guide readers on a happy journey through your content. The map provides ideas on how you can entice and reward users to travel with you from outset to destination, instead of abandoning ship. Everything from titles to formatting to use of multimedia – not the least of which is actual interesting content that is well written and structured – is critical to the success of your content journey.
The first step is branding and identification. Being the captain of this journey means first ensuring readers know who’s at the helm. What is your brand? Who are you? What do you look like? What do you sound and act like? Are you sincere in your desire to communicate, or are you merely contributing noise to the general conversation?
People are interested in people first—in their ideas, their passions, their stories. Sharing your ideas through content means sharing you. If you do that well, then people in your community of interest will also want eventually to purchase the artifacts of those ideas and your particular view of the world—books, videos, workshops, keynotes, podcasts or webinars, coaching, consulting, even t-shirts…whatever form your content takes.
Here are three ways to ensure your front-line blog content accurately and adequately shows you at the helm:
- Your brand. If you have established a personal brand as an expert authority in your field of expertise, then make sure you’re using it in your blog or web site banner. Consult with your brand expert to determine if it’s best placed as the title, the tagline or in some other way, but make sure it’s there and visible.
This means it also needs to be at the end of all of your guest blog content as well. For example:
And a special plea as a publisher: If you’ve written a book, or are working on one, PLEASE mention it in your tagline! Always, everywhere! I’m constantly shocked at how many first-time authors forget this very basic form of identification and marketing.)
- Your face. Ever said, “It’s great to put a face to the name!” when you meet someone with whom you’ve previously only conversed by phone or email? What people are saying is that you become more real when visual information is added to their brain’s data about you. My trust and comfort level is instinctively raised (or lowered) when I can see you – especially when I can look into your eyes, even in a still photo.
So choose a photo that is consistent with the voice you’re expressing in the blog, and with your brand. If you don’t have one, get a new one taken – your headshot should always be up to date. Show your brand materials to the photographer and tell them you need a photo that gets at that look and feel.
For example, if it’s a casual and fun topic, dress for that. If you’re doing a medical advice column and you’re a professional, you might want to wear whatever uniform you would normally wear to be consistent with your professional reputation. Don’t be afraid to be creative with your position, facial expressions, dress—whatever says “you” to the core. Check out one of our Fresh Voice clients working this principle.
- Your voice. Adding to that store of information about you is your voice, allowing you to provide even richer data of inflection, accent, speech patterns and mannerisms. Brief audio or video clips (the best possible combination of seeing and hearing) gives you a great opportunity to introduce yourself to your audience in a personal, one-to-one way.
A variety of simple to use video recording and editing tools make it easy to record, edit and add music to mini-videos. One of my favourites is Capture app, which makes sharing easier by allowing you to directly upload your edited video to YouTube where you can share it across multiple platforms.
With all the noise and whiz-bang on the Internet, it’s sink or swim. These three tools ensure that everyone knows who’s in charge – and when it comes to YOUR content, you need to be the Captain at all times!