If you ask any aspiring or new blogger about the one thing that they most fear in their blogging career , the majority will say “coming out”. Coming out as a blogger, especially in a place like Cyprus where people are either lawyers or accountants, almost always carries connotations of being a hobbyist, a person without a real job or someone who likes to show off their wardrobe or expensive trips abroad. Such impressions are, of course, far from reality and can only be described as the bitter truth; bitter, because, practicing blogging as a conscious career path, is one of the most difficult tasks ever, primarily because those who succeed in blogging or digital content production, must first master the art of writing, information processing, photography, digital marketing and above all, excel in the art of the entrepreneurial spirit.
With the amazing power and opportunities offered through the Internet of Things (IoT), producing digital content has become a mainstream communication strategy for any business. New marketing agencies are created daily, promising to deliver more “likes”, “shares” and visibility to brands and products, often producing content filled with grammatical and syntactical errors, misplaced and irrelevant, paying little attention to branding, brand coherence, audience contextualisation and storytelling. In fact, storytelling, is one of the most disadvantaged arenas of digital marketing in Cyprus and one of the most important at the same time, since people identify better with stories than with products or brands. The conversion of people’s purchasing power from being passive spectators of your campaign to actual clients, walking in a shop and buying what you want, is initiated by the way you make them feel and not by their preferences. Preference comes into play only when you want repeat customers; and even those, are likely to be converted into a loyal following if the story you tell is a story of heart and minds.
In addition to the above, blogging in its entirety is not just an activity of the bold and beautiful. We make informed choices on where to eat, sleep and drink based on what others tell us. How many times have you booked a ticket and, despite the abundance of random online information and zillions of “Ten things to do in London” sites, preferred to ask a friend who recently visited that place to make reccomendations? Have you ever thought why you keep going back to the same information sources, year over year?
Objective reliability. This is the most realistic answer to the above question. Your friend has no interest in recommending a shitty place (and if they do, you might have to consider changing your crowd), simply because they are after the same things just like you: quality, value-for-money and duration. We always ask our girlfriends where to buy a decent wedding dress which will not cost a fortune but which will make us look like the ultimate wedding guest. We ask our friends about that restaurant in Prague, that hotel in Dublin, that signature cocktail in that wine bar in London. We always ask because human nature is such that its innate requirement is to feel safe. Even amidst the most amazing adventures, we want to feel safe, that we have made informed choices about how we spend our time and money. I remember I always used to make fun of my mother and her need to ask all her friends, every single year, about the best Christmas cake recipe. No one eats Christmas cake in our house. Her need to make it is rather part of the Christmas decoration spirit rather than her longing to taste millions of ingredients soaked in liqueur. Every year she searches for the best almonds and the best sugar paste and every year she says that she will never make it again because no one eats it. But she keeps asking for that recipe, proving that, in fact, she rather enjoys the conversation than the end product. This is how humans work. We share information and we process it based on the experience of those who are either close to us, or who have been through that experience. This is how blogging and digital content should be viewed.
Buying situations. Feelings. Stories. People rarely buy products for the sake of the product or seek a service for the sake of the service. They choose you because the EQ of your offering matches theirs.
Imagine you want to sell a product? How would you sell it? Would you put it, point blank, on a Sunday paper leaflet? Would you advertise it online through standardized brochures and “best price” text clouds? Or would you ask someone to review it for you? Write something about it. Would you use their review to improve your product? What if that person had a lot of other friends, who could be potentially influenced? What if you could actually sponsor this person or agency or content writer to write proper, literate and high-level text on your brands and products? This is the future of digital marketing. And this is the way businesses should re-position any communication strategy. Above all, this is how bloggers should be approaching their blogging careers if they are serious about it. Otherwise, you can stick to your luxury brand photo insomnia and pretend that all those likes actually mean something.
What about opinion blogging? Politics and current affairs? We are all commentators on Facebook, couch revolutionaries. What if your voice could actually have an impact on issues you care about? Wouldn’t blogging or digital content production be a sound and promising way to express your views, make a difference, become an impact citizen, a terminology I love. I was, more than once, asked to silence myself because people might be “offended”, people I know could get “sensitive” about stuff. Well, you know, I am a blogger. So I suppose, making people “sensitive” about stuff is my first blogging success story.
And then, how about health and fitness and the good life? I follow all these people on Instagram doing squats, not because I like watching people’s behinds go up and down, but because ordinary people doing extraordinary things (and squats are pretty damn hard, contrary to public perception!), is an inspiration story. A STORY. And since we were very, very young, the one thing everyone wanted was to hear a good story.
How about passions and interests and things that make your stomach turn? I know I might be running the risk of sounding like a fruit pervert, but I love avocados. I adore them. And the largest folder on my laptop is filled with the best guacamole recipes. And they are all from bloggers because they know, they search, they are objective and they have failed many times over in the search for the perfect balance between lemon and salt. They identify with the average person, like you and me. And how about buildings, and architecture and amazing apartments, with awesome dining tables made of fiber glass and olive branches? Passions. This is what makes us tick and this is how blogging and digital content should be approached.
Blogging is all about collaborations. It is a community of people who like to share things for themselves, for others, for the world at large. Blogging is indeed the best form of crowdsourcing (for those not familiar with the term, crowdsourcing is a process by which you gather information, ideas, content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people aka the crowd), a vibrant community of how businesses should be run. Even traditional industries benefit from blogging and digital content information in more ways than one. So next time you share, like or comment, tweet, regram or pin, think about who wrote that article or post and consider that you could be, in fact, producing content yourself.