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Blogging is a part of our origin story here at TopRank Marketing. In fact, we just celebrated the TopRank Marketing Blog’s 15th birthday this past December. But despite our blogging longevity, we’re always refining and optimizing, too.
That’s why I attended Chris Brogan’s session on creating a fast blogging framework at Social Media Marketing World 2019. While there, I learned this bestselling author’s approach to writing blog content (and had a few laughs along the way).
The key to Chris’ framework? The word “fast.”
Being fast matters to Chris, informing the audience that “the average human only read 19 minutes a day. That includes texts, emails, and BuzzFeed articles. They’re not going to read your 2,000-word missive.”
So, be quick. Get to the point. Don’t complicate things. Don’t write a white paper when it’s supposed to be a blog post.
Follow the Great Blogging Checklist
Chris is able to be a fast blogger because he has a list of what every blog post needs:
- A great title
- A relevant graphic
- A “strong+story” first paragraph
- A great first example
- A second and/or third example
- A list of action items
- A call to action
To create blogs, Chris starts at the top of the list and works his way down, checking things off as he goes. But just like most lists, there are items on there that are prioritized.
According to Chris, a great title is at the top of the framework because in today’s world “the subject line is the blog post.” Your title or subject line is what gets read the most by your audience. And if it doesn’t pull people in, convey the story you want to tell, and convince them to read, you’ve already failed.
But what comes after that? How can you keep people on your blog once they’ve agreed to read it?
Chris suggests reflecting on your own experience:
“Think about when you read blog posts. You rarely ever read the whole thing. You can’t write your story like it’s a murder mystery and reveal the butler did it on the last page. Get the story into the first paragraph.”[bctt tweet=”You can’t write your blog like it’s a murder mystery and reveal the butler did it on the last page. Get the story into the first paragraph.” – @chrisbrogan” username=”toprank”]
Brevity Is Your Friend
As Chris said, people only read an average of 19 minutes each day. They don’t have the time to read a long, run-on sentence or a paragraph that refuses to end.
Once you’ve finished your blog post, go back and see where you can make it more simple and get to the point faster. Your audience will appreciate the time you’re saving them in the long-run.
For us, this doesn’t mean long-form content is out. It means be concise, deliberate, and intentional with your language. If there’s a sentence that isn’t needed, cut it.
Connect on a Human Level
When it comes to the nitty gritty part of actually writing your blog post, Chris suggests letting go of your stuffy corporate identity and instead be human. Don’t be the brand. Be the person that represents the brand. Show your audience that you have feelings, opinions, jokes, and more.
Be a Guide
Chris’ last blogging tip is probably the most important: be a guide. Sure, a cool story is fun to read. But is a story really valuable if it doesn’t teach you something? Your blogs need answers to important questions. They need to solve problems. And one of the best ways to do that is to be a guide for your audience, helping them avoid disaster and reach their destination.
Blog Like Brogan
Content is everywhere—and so is our audience’s attention. As Chris said, we need to strive to create blog post that people actually want to read. For Chris, that means eloquently getting to the point early on to hook readers, and then delivering on your promise in an intentional way. You’re not trying to fill a web page. You’re trying to fill your reader’s mind with information they truly care about.
The post Chris Brogan’s Guide to Building a Fast Blogging Framework appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
Photos. Texts. Emails. Video. Digital is a pivotal part of our daily lives.
So what if we stopped using it?
Brian Solis, the author of Lifescale: How to live a more creative, productive and happy life, wants us to think hard about our digital distractions and drop them from our habitual behavior. As digital marketers, this notion sounds antithetical to our mission. But Brian promises that disconnecting is beneficial to marketers as well.
Below, I share Brian’s thoughts on digital distraction and business from his session at Social Media Marketing World 2019.
Focus Is Elusive
“My ability to be creative, to dive deep, to focus, to give myself time away from my device, was not only difficult but impossible,” Brian said.
In fact, this inability to tune out the noise and focus prevented Brian from finishing his eighth book.
Now, Brian isn’t suggesting that we stop using technology. He’s just suggesting we use it in a different way. Instead of using it for productivity, Brian suggests using our devices for the purpose of creativity.
If we’re able to put our devices down and truly ignore the notifications, we can focus on the tasks that are important. It will improve our output in quality and quantity.
Disconnection Improves Our Health
How we currently use digital devices isn’t healthy for us.
Brian pointed out that an astonishing 41% of people have had an accident relating to our smartphones. There’s a new health concern called “selfie wrist.” Plus, depression and anxiety are on the rise among teenagers, the world’s most avid social media users.
“As with cigarettes in the early days, we didn’t understand that our digital indulgences were made to be addictive, and we didn’t have information about the health effects on our bodies, emotions, and psyches,” Brian said.
He then added: “Living our best life isn’t really living at all.” It’s just posturing.
These distractions weigh down our cognitive load, robbing us of creative moments and pulling us out of focus, and this has a real business impact and we need to change:
- The average person spends 2 hours on our smartphones each day – and it’s not work related
- Humans used to shift attention every 3 minutes – it’s now 45 seconds
How to Disconnect
Getting over our digital distractions boils down to one thing: Awareness. If we’re aware of our dependency on the digital world, we’re more empowered to do something about it. We can make more intentional choices about how to avoid these distractions and stay focused.
Measure Your Distractions
Check how many times a day you:
- Reach for a device
- Check messages
- Check your feeds for updates
- Share a picture
Knowing how often you’re taken away from your work is a good indicator of how much creativity you’re losing. This also allows you to make more noticeable improvements in your work, life, and mental health.
Dedicate Time for Creativity
Write. Draw. Paint. Play guitar. Sing. Creativity is like a muscle that needs to be worked. So just like you workout at the gym, you need to make time to be creative.
And it’s not about talent, it’s just about expressing yourself. It’s about being happy, mindful, present, and intentional about how you spend your time. Block off time to be creative and block off time to check email, respond to tweets, etc. Just make sure you don’t mesh the two.
Dropping Our Dependencies
To do our best work, we need to be our best selves. And digital distractions take us away from the creative activities and ideas that make us happy. As a result, digital distractions make it impossible for us to focus on the things that really matter in life and instead take us out of the moments we’re living.
So, take some advice from Brian: “Allow yourself to color outside the lines and do something absolutely silly.”
Hear more of Brian’s thoughts on creativity and digital distraction by reading our full interview with him.