I hear a lot about the ‘end game’ of a great blog post. If you are speaking in marketing terms, then it’s said that a successful blog post should ‘solve a problem‘. That makes sense if you’re a lifestyle blogger (How To Brighten Up A Dark Room) or a photography blogger (How To Get Everyone Smiling In That Family Portrait) or a blogger of another media/lifestyle/travel/foodie persuasion, but for personal bloggers this ‘solve a problem’ directive can seem a little bit abstract.
“How does a personal story about going down to the shops yesterday solve a problem? Maybe it doesn’t? Are people googling ‘how to go down to the local shops’? No, they’re not! Dang. Maybe it’s not worth writing about? Oh no! I’m a failure at this blogging thing!”
Stop right there! The good news is that your trip down to the shops IS worth writing about, if you have your own shop-going story to tell.
The truth is not every successful post will be problem-solving or instructional. But there are other ways to define the focus and success of your writing (especially if you are a more personal blogger).
So are you ready for this?
The Pip Lincolne Theory Of Blog Post Success
I think a great blog post should be TRANSFORMATIVE
By that, I mean that the writing connects to the reader in some way, and that connection transforms (even if it’s only a tiny bit or a tiny while) the way that reader feels, thinks about things or approaches things. There’s a transformative exchange that signals success. And gosh knows we need more transformative exchanges, more true connections (even if they are online).
Posts that ‘solve a problem’ are great too – but there’s every bit as much value and meaning in a post that ‘transforms’ and in fact these connecting, transformative posts might just offer a deeper connection than ‘How To Fold Your Ironing Board Cover’ ever could.
So what does this kind of transformation look like? Sometimes the transformative element might be knowing that someone else feels the same way you do (and you thought you were the only weirdo!) Sometimes the transformative part might be simply that the writing makes you happy (and you were having a shit day!. Maybe it’s transformative in that you’re so thrilled the blogger took the time to write today and that makes you feel really comforted and inspired (you love that blog! It’s like a comfy blanket!) These are the transformative powers of the personal blog.
NON-personal blogs can transform in other great ways – sharing a recipe that becomes your family’s new favourite, teaching you how to cast off your knitting, opening your eyes to a marginalised or at risk group, showing you how to take better photos.
All these things- the personal and instructional/useful – transform in big and little ways.
Never doubt that the seemingly little ways can be BIG for some people. And the big ways, not so big for some.
(Sometimes the transformative bit might occur in the comments, even? I bet you’ve seen that happen on your own blog or elsewhere?)
The vital transformative trick is to GET PERSONAL (I don’t mean confessional!) and give your very own perspective in your very own language. When you are writing, write from your heart, in your voice. Be you. And when you’ve written that post (having put yourself in it, rather than just written a documentary about your day!) – know that just by putting yourself on the screen that there WILL be a transformative element in there for someone, probably for many people.
Remember that SOLVING A PROBLEM is all good and well, but you’re going for something bigger (and littler, at times). You’re going for transformation in varying degrees.
A great blog posts TRANSFORMS.
What do you think?!