Do you want your blog to improve your reputation, rather than diminish it? Of course you do.
And do you want to do this by telling people directly how brilliant you and your organisation really are? Well, if you do, maybe you shouldn’t be blogging at all. You will damage your reputation more than you can possibly know.
Research consistently shows that attempts to self-promote overtly backfire badly because they dramatically overestimate its positive impact on others and underestimate the negative perceptions of these “Bragger Bloggers”.
We live in an age when there have never been more opportunities to blog, yet neither have there been so many opportunities missed. Many blogs are little more than disguised advertising. Their time is up – readers and viewers have become much more sophisticated in recent years in understanding the motives that lie behind whatever they are reading. And they are perfectly capable of seeing a blogger as someone who can help them without actually having to be told so directly.
So how do you improve your reputation with a blog? Your content needs to stand on its own as a valid opinion. If you write a blog about, say, the 6 choices of security alarms that your business offers, then please don’t be surprised when no one shares it on social media (Why would they?). Only if you write instead about key issues around security (i.e. the importance of the peace of mind that security brings) are you creating an insight that is valuable and lasting.
Why is there is such an enduring misconnect between the value of issues-based content and the temptation to go straight into the hard sell? It’s my feeling that Bragger Bloggers are bit like that bloke down the pub, the one who never stops talking about himself, his pet subject and what he’s interested in. He never pauses to ask you how you are doing, so the rest of us sit quietly, our eyes glazed over, deciding to catch that earlier train home after all.
What Bragger Bloggers don’t realise is that they need to first seek to understand, in order to be understood. Only once they understand who they’re talking to, should they address the latter’s issues. If there is a connection between this and the products and services you offer then great, but let the reader join the dots. You don’t need to do it for them.
Merriborn Media is a business dedicated to developing clever content, engaged online communities and effective collaborative working and learning for clients. Both Merriborn Media and its founder Trevor Merriden were ranked in the Top 3 of social learning evangelists for 2016 in a recent major study.