By Beth Graddon-Hodgson
It doesn’t matter how you are or what you are writing about, at some point, you are going to fall under scrutiny for something that you did or didn’t say, or about the style of your writing. Sometimes when you’re a writer, it may be your client that questions your choices. But, more often than not, the scrutiny comes from your readers. We’ve talked about dealing with criticism before on a larger scale; this time, we’ll focus on exactly what you should ask yourself before you decide how to deal with that criticism.
On Monday I talked about why agencies need to be better listeners. It seemed to spark some interest in readers and I found myself critiquing my own listening skills all week. Guess what? I think I'm pretty poor at it too and it's something I'm going to work on - I still interrupt people too much. (Especially after a bunch of coffee. )
We get so much inbound information from social media, email, regular media, etc that I think we've lost some of our ability to listen. (According to audiologists, we've also lost a lot of our hearing from MP3 players and concerts too) I found this great outline of "how to listen" from a rather obscure but well written blog by Michael Hanson. Michael, if you're reading this thanks!
Okay, here’s the thing – let me start off by saying I can’t provide you with a total ‘how to guide’ of what to do to evolve your blog content. Keeping a captive audience is far more complex than even the approach that you use when you’re starting your blog. Every blog is going to be different as every readership is going to be different. What I can give you is some tips based on my own experience in evolving content in a way that will help you reach your goals with your blog and with your business. Here they are:
I was in a meeting a couple weeks ago with a bigger agency for whom I occasionally do work as a subcontractor. As I sat there, listening to them talk to their client it occurred to me that public relations and advertising agencies make the same mistake salespeople do. They don't understand that the most powerful meeting in the world is one in which they really listen to their clients.
Then, another potential client asked me if I minded being called a publicist. I asked why, and apparently they had just met with a PR agency that told them they were no longer publicists...they were storytellers.
With these columns, we focus a lot on tips that help you get your blog started – things that will help you generate that readership, get them to engage and so on. It isn’t often that I talk about what happens AFTER you’ve got a captive audience available and how it should change your content. Like anything good you do in life, your blog content needs to evolve. Once you’ve got that interest of readers, you need to keep it, and evolving your content is the only way that will happen.
To help you better understand what I am going to explain (in my next post) with regards to content for highly established blogs, let’s look at what I typically suggest you do with a blog that is just getting started.
On Thursday, I"ll start a small series on taking your message to a national level - what it takes and how to get there. But first, let's look at the three biggest obstacles to gaining national recognition.
I work with a lot of business owners, authors, entrepreneurs and others who are quite well-known in their local markets. Virtually all of them dream of creating a national platform at some point. And some of them do make it, like my friend Michael Schneider who is well on his way as a travel expert.
Others do not. And I have to say that I can spot them almost immediately. There are three reasons why people do not (and cannot) move to the next level. Here they are:
As many businesses grow, the hassle of managing employees grows along with it. Two of the hardest groups to manage for me were outbound sales and customer service. In the technology industry in the 1990's (which is where my management career started and ended) had few processes developed for inbound and outbound calls. In a small business, your "super admins" end up dealing with most of these things and often get burned out.
Many, many call centers existing in the United States that are affordable, well-managed and easy to integrate into your business. It's not all the stereotypical Indian or Malaysian call center that we've all come to dread. If you're overwhelmed because you've got more business than you can handle, you might want to consider outsourcing call centers as an option. But just what do they do?