Question: What do writers, holistic professionals and social entrepreneurs all have in common?
Answer: They tend to be right-brain dominant.
Scientists tell us that the left side of our brain is used for sequential thinking, speech, analysis and organised thought. The right side of the brain is used for creative thinking, global perspectives, imagination and innovation. After working for more than four decades within the creative industries, an additional seven years as a coach and consultant for holistic practitioners, and more recent work with social entrepreneurs, it is my observation that all of these people tend to think in abstract ideas — typically associated with right-brain thinking. They are concept-driven people. They have a vision, usually driven by an emotion, and they work passionately — often tirelessly — to bring that vision down to earth.
The problem with this is that visions don’t always translate well when a right-brained person is trying to communicate them to others. Making their visions understandable to others can be a major challenge for people who see and experience the world through the lens of abstractions, ideals and values. And making our visions understandable to others is what marketing is all about. This is one of the reasons (there are many others) why visionaries often find marketing to be a daunting task.
Why Blogging is Part of the New Marketing Paradigm
One of the most powerful forms of new paradigm marketing is blogging. Some people might wonder why I consider blogging to be a form of marketing, so let me explain my reasoning. I believe marketing is simply ‘the act of communicating the message that we have something of value to share’. It’s not about ‘selling’; it’s about communicating. Blogging is, in my opinion, the way new paradigm marketers ‘sell without selling’. It is the way to express ideas, share information, give advice, establish trust AND engage in a dialoguewith our audience.
It’s my observation that many new bloggers mistakenly think blogging is an ‘anything goes’ activity. That might be fine if your only aim in blogging is to use it for personal creative expression, but if you want to use blogging as a marketing tool, you cannot use an ‘anything goes’ approach. Here are the three most common mistakes I see right-brained people make when they blog:
- Blogging ‘whenever they feel like it’ rather than consistently and regularly
- Blogging without an over-arching message or purpose
- Blogging in a stream-of-consciousness manner (similar to the way they think)
Below, I’m going to look at each of these mistakes, and offer my own ‘concrete’ advice on how to turn them around, so your blogging can become an effective marketing tool.
The Value of Having a Regular Routine
In my experience, right-brained people tend to be driven by ‘feelings’. This means they tend to eschew routines, preferring to engage in creative activity when ‘they feel like it’. When they’re not in the right mood for something, they simply don’t do it. While they might think this practice brings authenticity to their work, it’s my observation that it can often hinder them from getting projects done and from putting systems in place that can help build their enterprise.
The other common trait amongst creative, right-brained people is they tend to have a lot of plates spinning in the air at once. They seem to need a lot of stimulation to be happy, and thus say ‘yes’ to lots of projects. The end result is that they are spread too thin, and often forget to leave the ‘me time’ they need to do things like writing content for their blog. And because they don’t have a commitment to a system of regular blogging, they don’t bother to create time to do it.
If you wish to use blogging as a means of marketing you MUST build it into your regular business routine by assigning specific days on which you will WRITE and PUBLISH your articles. Make a schedule and commit to it. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much commitment. Commit to two blog posts a month to start and build up to one or two posts a week after you’ve gotten used to the regular practice.
Having a regular blogging routine helps grow your AUDIENCE. When people know your writing patterns, they will look for your posts and subscribe to your blog. If you don’t show any consistency, your readers will feel no incentive to stay in touch with you. I have seen it personally in my own blogging. I recently changed my own blogging schedule to ensure I blog twice a week, and my readership has TRIPLED within the last 60 days. This has not only impacted my subscriber list, but it has also increased my book sales and my ReTweets on Twitter. Creating a routine is one small change that can make a huge difference.
The Value of Having a Message and Purpose
Many right-brained business owners will blog on somewhat aimless topics. Others think blogging is just about talking about their business. NEITHER is true. Your blog needs to have a clear, definable, over-arching purpose and message. For instance:
- The over-arching purpose of one of my blogs is to provide insight and help in ethical marketing practice for social entrepreneurs.
- The over-arching message of that same blog is that ‘we can heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell’.
As such, EVERY article written either by me or guest contributors on my own blogs must address its over-arching purpose or the message (or both). Being consistent about your purpose and message helps grow your BRAND. You might think you are ‘repeating’ yourself but you won’t be. Engage your right-brain thinking and look at all the creative ways you can send the same message using different words and different ideas.
For example, one of my clients is a poet with her first poetry book coming out next month. She’s been struggling to figure out what to write about in her blogs, and how they can help build a reading audience for her books. So I suggested that she go through each of the poems in her book and identify the over-arching message in each one. Then, she can break that over-arching message into two or three different points. Each of these points can become a blog topic. If she does this for even just 10 poems, she’ll have 20-30 topics. If she writes one blog post a week, this list will take her through the next six months of blogging. Imagine how combining this plan with a regular blogging practice will build both her audience and her brand (and over-arching) message. This will eventually pay out in book sales, especially as she brings more poetry books out over this coming year.
The Importance of Structure
This point has to do with the WAY many right-brained people write. Unfortunately, I have found that many people with the most beautiful vision cannot present their ideas in a structured way, either in conversation or in writing. This is very frustrating for them, because they cannot understand why other people cannot see what they are seeing. This is a BIG issue, and requires a lot more advice than I can put into a single blog article, but here are a few small tips that can help right-brained thinkers communicate their ideas more effectively in their blog articles:
STRUCTURE POINT 1: Identify Your Message
Before you start writing, identity ONE major message or point you intend to communicate in the article. Too many right-brained bloggers write in a free-spirited fashion, using lots of colourful or poetic language, but not really leading the reader anywhere. Unfortunately, this does nothing to help grow your audience, your brand or your business. It also doesn’t give anything of value to your readers.
STRUCTURE POINT 2: Put Your Message in Your Title
Many right-brained bloggers write really colourful titles for their blog posts that don’t tell the reader what the article is about. This renders your blog post completely ineffective as a marketing tool. If people cannot get a clear idea of what your article is about when they see it on Google, Twitter or Facebook, they won’t click the link. And if no one clicks, no one is reading.
Whittle down your message into a title for your blog. Try to make it no longer than 60 characters long (because that’s all that many search engines can accommodate).
STRUCTURE POINT 3: Stick to the Message
Right-brained people are FULL of ideas. The problem with this is that they tend to express these ideas whenever they come to them. While this is a vital part of the creative mind, it can come across as meandering and aimless if it is in a blog article. Just because an idea comes to you does NOT mean it needs to be in your article unless it adds something substantial to the point you’re trying to make. Also, if you randomly toss in a new idea without developing it (a common thing I see in right-brained articles) it should be taken out of the article as it weakens the message. If you feel you have ‘lots of other things’ you want to say, write those ideas down for future articles.
STRUCTURE POINT 4: Use a 3-Part Structure
The ‘rule’ for writing an effective blog post is really no different from writing a good essay or delivering a good presentation:
- Start by saying what you’re going to say (and why you’re going to say it)
- Say what you’re going to say
- Summarise what you just said (and why it is important)
Using this structure can help you gain focus as you write your article. It also helps your readers decide, from the very start, whether or not they wish to continue reading. At the end of the article, they will be able to evaluate whether or not they got what you promised to deliver. If they decide they got something valuable from reading your article, they are likely to return to your blog another day. If people cannot evaluate what they got from reading your article, it means you have not expressed that value clearly enough in your structure.
The Future Will Be Full of Right-Brained Marketers
I believe we have entered an era where more and more right-brained thinkers are entering the entrepreneurial world, and especially the realm of social enterprise. It’s my desire to support these value-driven business owners to become powerful communicators through new paradigm marketing platforms, such as blogging and social media.
While some of these tips I’ve offered today might present a learning curve for many a right-brained thinker, be assured that we are all in a social learning curve as we collectively create the new business and marketing paradigm. Work to learn how to bring your left-brain into play but never, ever abandon your creative vision, your global perception and your values.
All those beautiful right-brain qualities you have are the VERY things that will bring us into the new paradigm in the coming decades — where both right and left brain thinkers become ‘whole brain marketers’ able to communicate ideas that express a richer, deeper vision of the world in which we live.