Magicians are skilled manipulators of perception. They can make people think something is moving when it isn’t or see things that aren’t there. Diverting attention this way and that, they can hide cards and rabbits or make objects appear from thin air.
Blogging is a little bit like that, depending on who writes it. Diverting attention with a little smoke and mirrors often draws readers inwards towards a certain conclusion or believing in what the author wants them to.
Now, don’t get me wrong – blogging isn’t evil. Not at all. But brilliant blogging is a bit like magic. Maybe a bit more than we’d like to admit.
Which means it’s tricky. Here are seven magic tricks of blogging.
1. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen!
Most performers want to capture your attention as fast as they can. Makes sense – no audience, no show. So how do they do it? A flourish, a bang, a splash… they aren’t shy about stating that they’re on stage and you should be watching. Your blog posts shouldn’t be shy either, so jolt readers into paying attention from the start.
2. I know who you are.
To be effective, blogging has to address the ideal audience for that topic, style, point of view. That means you need to know who you’re writing for and why. Get intimate with that person and make sure that you demonstrate you know every need they have, their pain and fears, right from the start. You aren’t the enemy. You’re on their side.
3. I have what you want.
Once you know exactly what the reader needs and wants (and that goes beyond the immediate), your job is to clearly convey that your blog offers exactly that – your words can fulfill their desires or solve their problems.
4. Putting on a great performance.
A good performer keeps the audience entertained with plenty of chitchat, flashy moves and movement. The more people focus on what the magician does, the less they focus on maintaining their beliefs.
Your words need to help change beliefs too, maintaining a pattern of conversation and buzz from top of the page all the way to the bottom.
5. Shall we dance?
Continually mention worries the reader has, answer their questions, and then reassure them that there’s no need to worry at all.
6. Look over here!
Did you hit a tricky spot? It happens. Sometimes you need to divert attention from a sticky point so that you can slip a ball into your pocket for the purpose of the overall show. Respond to the concerns you can and then deflect attention to another area where you can provide firm reassurance.
7. Slipping cards in your pocket…
Readers aren’t stupid though; they know you’re sneaking something in your pocket. They just don’t want that to be particularly obvious so that they feel used.
Most important when blogging is to deliver on your promises. It’s common sense, but it’s so damn rare that it’s magic these days.
People don’t want to buy a ticket to the show only to realize that it wasn’t worth the price.
No one wants to read a blog that is not offering them information, entertainment, or connects them with like-minded individuals.