A Sample Blog Topics Email

Several dozen of you have requested a sample of what the Blog Topics emails look like. I’ve decided to share with you the first issue of Blog Topics. You can see for yourself whether you think it’s enough to keep you coming back for more week after week. We’ve done four issues so far, and the topics have been varied (You can see the topics at the Blog Topics page).

So, here’s what Issue 1 contained:

Write From the Right Side of the Fence

This week, we’re going to talk about writing for your audience.

Saying that “blogging should be this” or “this isn’t REAL blogging” is silly. Saying blogging is like saying “papering,” because it’s just a verb. It means, “using a web-based application to post information in some form to the web, privately or publicly.” See? Kind of bland.

How you and I will define blogging for the purposes of this program, however, is a bit more defined. The goal of YOUR blogging is to write something that elicits a response from your audience. Thus, if you’re in business, you’ll want a response that helps move your business along. If you’re blogging for personal reasons, you’ll get something out of this program if you are willing to remember that you’re blogging for your community and not for your own self. The biggest goal in what you and I will talk about? How do you turn your readership from an “audience” into a “community.”

I’ve said this before: “The only difference between an audience and a community is how you face the chairs.”

The point in our writing projects, you and I, is to get people to gather those chairs in the first place. Maybe later, after we’ve worked together for a while, we’ll talk about getting people to be more of a community, because even the stone cold salespeople will want a loyal community at some point.

Let me give you some topics to consider. All of these will start you down the path of thinking about your reader. Ready?

In *EVERY* case, for these topics, if you want to tweak them a bit to fit your audience, that’s part of what we’re doing here.

BLOG TOPICS

* How I See You – Write a post about who you *think* is reading your blog, and make it a one-to-one type of writing style. Did you notice how I started the second paragraph of this newsletter? “How YOU and I will define blogging for the purposes of this program…” . I said that and you felt that I was writing this only to you. You *know* that others have paid for this program, and yet, the tone is directly to you. That’s on purpose. Try it. And for every post, try writing as if you’re only trying to connect with one VERY IMPORTANT person.

* Our Best Customer – Why not ask for exactly what you’re seeking in a customer? Even if you’re writing about church, you could do this. The premise is simple: write into existence the story of the idea customer or client for your business. And if you’re writing from a personal perspective, why not write about the best type of participant in your blog?

* Your Next Thirty Days – Taking readers on a journey is a great way to build some more participation in your blog. If you start a project where they can follow along, and where they have a sense of where they’ll end up, the results can often be quite interesting. For instance, if you’re writing a blog about cooking, you can talk about recipes for the month of January. Depending on your local climate (if local matters to you), you can talk about what types of foods best complement the weather. Giving people a series to follow along with gives them something to expect and some reason to come back. Make sure to keep an outline for yourself and make sure you give yourself a little bit of prior planning, so that you’ve got posts loaded for however often you post over those 30 days.

* Portrait of Success – Write about a customer, a client, a community member and talk about how they are successful. Don’t directly tie this back to your product or service or whatever it is that YOU do, but instead, really praise that person. Give them the spotlight. Share the stage. Put a picture of them up on your blog, if you can. The benefits to this are twofold: 1.) It’s a nice thing to do. 2.) People appreciate reading about themselves, and they often share it with friends and colleagues, thus garnering you new readers. Both reasons are valid.

* Should Something Ever Go Wrong – Imagine giving your customers or readers or friends a post where you explain ahead of time how you wish they’d handle a break from your typical promised experience. If you’re a pilates studio, you might write about the best way to transition out, or the best way to tell the instructor that things aren’t meshing well between the two of you. Giving your audience a strong understanding on how to deal with what to do when things don’t go as planned is a powerful opportunity to build a relationship before you need it.

Here are some more potential subject lines to spawn posts:

* Things We Might Have in Common – make this a bit personal, so that they know the person behind the product. This works better with an established blog versus a newer one.

* Where Inspiration Meets Execution – talk about what inspires you (or your company) and how you deliver on this inspiration.

* The Benefits of A Relationship With ______ – talk about why giving you their business is the best decision ever. If you’re writing a personal blog, this might morph into a post about your promise to the reader.

* Our Methodology And Where You Fit In – This gives you the chance to explain what else you give your audience that others might not, and/or gives them a sense of what you want back.

* What Matters to You? – My favorite types of posts are those that grow a lot of comments and responses back and forth. This works better on a blog that’s been around a while, but you never know. If you’re ready to try a conversation, try this post. The information is useful, quite often, depending on the level of trust your audience has with you.

* Community Involvement and _____ (you/your company) – talk about what you do to give back.

* Five Ways You Use Our ______ – how do people interact with your products and services? Is there anything of interest to the rest of the community? This is a “serving suggestions” post, and really helps open up new avenues.

* How You Could Make 2011 Better – make this a two-way experience. Tell them how you want things to work, but also give them something of value that they can use in 2011 and beyond .What’s that something of value? What’s a hint or some advice or some guidance or a new resource that will help them move forward? That’s what you’re aiming for.

———

And that’s it. That’s more than a week’s worth of ideas for you to chew over. Hopefully a few ideas resonate with you.

Next week, we’ll talk about how I structure my blog posts, and see if there are ways that you can snatch bits of it for your own uses. Good?

And thanks for being part of this. The Blog Topics newsletter is here to help you succeed. If you need something else, speak up. Send mail to chris @ chrisbrogan . com and I’ll get back to you shortly.

Thanks again,

–Chris…

And That’s How It Work

Congratulations. That’s what you get when you subscribe. Every week is a new adventure. If you’re still on the fence, I can’t help you more than I have. You could risk a whole $9.97, stick around for a month, and then quit. But it’s up to you. I’d love for you to join.

Blog Topics

Blog Topics

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  • Nvw

    Great article: Helpful and useful: Norm Van Wieren

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  • http://twitter.com/seanbell Sean Bell

    I like how you crafted this – it gives people enough information to get them thinking but not create a bunch of me too posts (which was a huge concern when I first read about what you were trying to do).

    Given this context, it’s much clearer that you are providing people with a blogging framework, a how to book, that you might have packaged as a stand alone product, but, instead have packaged as an ongoing service.

    You should include your weekly teaser for the next weeks topic regularly, maybe you do and I just haven’t seen it, and maybe a list of past topics so folks can see what they are missing. Thanks for opening up the process and helping move the state of the art forward.

  • http://colormkt.com tito

    Wow! very useful article. I’m new to your blog, I recently discovered by a post on copyblogger from the boss Brian Clark.

  • Deb

    First off, I LOVE this quote: “The only difference between an audience and a community is how you face the chairs.” AND… these are great ideas. I’m often stumped for what to write since I consider my offer is B2B and sometimes feel limited by that. It’s helpful to see what this series is going to look like and how much value it conveys. Good stuff, and thanks. :-)

  • http://DonnyGamble.com Donny Gamble

    So that is how all of the authority blogs consistently produce new topics on a daily basis for their blogs.

  • http://www.businessesGROW.com/blog Mark W Schaefer

    I’d like to challenge this notion — perhaps this social media myth — that you blog for a community, not yourself.

    Why do YOU blog? For money. For recognition that will lead to new opportunities. Obviously for fun. But I think the core of blogging is about you and your goals isn’t it? I mean there has got to be some personal benefit to it or you wouldn’t be spending the time on it.

    Now I fully recognize that you have to write something that attracts and retains an audience and I also know it’s important to stay within a certain theme or you will lose your readers. But let me tell you the biggest blogging mistake I ever made — I wrote for an audience.

    Yes, in a classic marketing fashion, I had my “target” market and “personas’ all figured out. And I blogged for awhile trying to reach those folks. And then I got bored writing what I thought people might want to hear about. So a little ata time, I began to relax, have more fun, and write about things I was interested in.

    Funny thing happened. Instead of me finding my audience, my audience found me. And that is when everything changed and my blog {grow} started to take off and find an engaged and loyal group of readers.

    I think the notion of “writing for the audience” sounds politcally correct, charitable and very social media-esque but practically speaking, if you don’t ultimately write about what YOU’RE passionate about in a way that meets YOUR goals, you’re going to bore everybody including yourself.

    My two pesos.

    • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

      Amen, Mark. I write the things I’d like to read about. If anyone else likes it, that’s a nice bonus.

    • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

      Amen, Mark. I write the things I’d like to read about. If anyone else likes it, that’s a nice bonus.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I’ll say the same thing I said above: deciding what the right way to blog is versus not is like telling book authors not to write about what has their attention. Some people write about business or serve a group. Other people write to handle their personal interests.

      Dave Barry is very different than Arianna Huffington. Both need to exist.

      I write about my passions, but I write to serve a community. If I were only writing for myself, that’d be an entirely different (and less useful) beast.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I’ll say the same thing I said above: deciding what the right way to blog is versus not is like telling book authors not to write about what has their attention. Some people write about business or serve a group. Other people write to handle their personal interests.

      Dave Barry is very different than Arianna Huffington. Both need to exist.

      I write about my passions, but I write to serve a community. If I were only writing for myself, that’d be an entirely different (and less useful) beast.

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  • http://www.seaneoliver.com Sean Oliver

    Thanks for the taste.

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  • http://ClimbingEveryMountain.com Mary E. Ulrich

    Loved this: “The only difference between an audience and a community is how you face the chairs.”

    Thanks for the great ideas. I predict Blog Topics will be a huge success.

  • http://www.avenue3re.com Lois Ardito

    Chris….I could see every one of these topics work for a Real Estate company like ours. I am going to print this out for me and my partners and go to it! I’m really happy I’m on board for the weekly topics. Never disappointed.
    My thanks, Lois

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Glad you’re part of the story. : )

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Glad you’re part of the story. : )

  • Kradr2

    >>>> Portrait of Success <<< By far the most powerful right know !!! I wish that was President Obama's central theme and vision last night … Better, he should have made it his mantra… It is what people need and want to hear right know … You can't denny a concrete, self evident, example of success…. It is basically a before and after snap shot of reality…. Before my product / service this and after this, A to B, your the connection, you are the bridge that makes this happen, you are the difference maker and this is the difference . Make it happen !!!

    • Kradr2

      Too emphasize , Passion is huge and so is confident self evident examples …. Again, The portrait of success is like that scene in Indiana Jones where Harrison Ford shoots the guy wilding the sward….. Are you going to buy the sward, song and dance, Rasil dasil, Barry Sanders side to side jook or are you going for the gun, one shot one kill, knock out punch, silver bullet Earl Campbell strait to the end zone steam roller?

  • http://www.professionalproofread.com Johnny Russo

    Thanks Chris. That is indeed helpful. Great value. The next 30 days journey is a fantastic idea.

  • http://www.tuag.ca Michael Keara

    Chris your timing is excellent. I was just describing your ‘Blog Topics’ concept to someone yesterday and we were wondering what they actually looked like. Thanks for the sample.

    But to be honest we were not talking about it because we didn’t know what to write about – we both have a backlog of topics to get into. (We were interested in the business model and I do admire your ability to expand in that regard.)

    As much as I agree with most of what you have in this sample, I have to say I find the idea of ‘blogging for your community and not for your own self’ to be troubling.

    It’s not the first time I’ve heard this idea (I think you’ve mentioned it often on this site for example). The notion, at best, leaves me with no concrete ideas about how to create content and, at worst, could lead someone into producing a charade of meaningless posts that lack the very heart of ones own perspective.

    Ok, I know you probably don’t really mean it that way – but I do think it could be *taken* that way. I believe that because I fell into that trap myself and have only recently scrapped 4 years of ‘attempted’ blogging (using the word as in the phrase ‘attempted robbery’) which brought little joy to me and, not surprisingly, no growth in audience or community. Hell, even I didn’t want to read the junk I came up with.

    However, with my recently revamped web site I went against the conventional wisdom that I should separate business from personal. I’m a user advocate and I rely on deeply personal responses to technology as one of my key tools. To not include this personal perspective in a business context leaves me unable to contribute anything worthwhile. Since I made this decision I have lots to talk about.

    So with regards to setting up the frame of mind for meaningful blogging I’m resonating strongly with what Mark W Schaefer said in his comment – especially his last paragraph.

    I’d like to hear more thoughts on the apparent business/personal separation versus the need for passion in blogging.

  • http://www.tuag.ca Michael Keara

    Chris your timing is excellent. I was just describing your ‘Blog Topics’ concept to someone yesterday and we were wondering what they actually looked like. Thanks for the sample.

    But to be honest we were not talking about it because we didn’t know what to write about – we both have a backlog of topics to get into. (We were interested in the business model and I do admire your ability to expand in that regard.)

    As much as I agree with most of what you have in this sample, I have to say I find the idea of ‘blogging for your community and not for your own self’ to be troubling.

    It’s not the first time I’ve heard this idea (I think you’ve mentioned it often on this site for example). The notion, at best, leaves me with no concrete ideas about how to create content and, at worst, could lead someone into producing a charade of meaningless posts that lack the very heart of ones own perspective.

    Ok, I know you probably don’t really mean it that way – but I do think it could be *taken* that way. I believe that because I fell into that trap myself and have only recently scrapped 4 years of ‘attempted’ blogging (using the word as in the phrase ‘attempted robbery’) which brought little joy to me and, not surprisingly, no growth in audience or community. Hell, even I didn’t want to read the junk I came up with.

    However, with my recently revamped web site I went against the conventional wisdom that I should separate business from personal. I’m a user advocate and I rely on deeply personal responses to technology as one of my key tools. To not include this personal perspective in a business context leaves me unable to contribute anything worthwhile. Since I made this decision I have lots to talk about.

    So with regards to setting up the frame of mind for meaningful blogging I’m resonating strongly with what Mark W Schaefer said in his comment – especially his last paragraph.

    I’d like to hear more thoughts on the apparent business/personal separation versus the need for passion in blogging.

  • http://www.tuag.ca Michael Keara

    Chris your timing is excellent. I was just describing your ‘Blog Topics’ concept to someone yesterday and we were wondering what they actually looked like. Thanks for the sample.

    But to be honest we were not talking about it because we didn’t know what to write about – we both have a backlog of topics to get into. (We were interested in the business model and I do admire your ability to expand in that regard.)

    As much as I agree with most of what you have in this sample, I have to say I find the idea of ‘blogging for your community and not for your own self’ to be troubling.

    It’s not the first time I’ve heard this idea (I think you’ve mentioned it often on this site for example). The notion, at best, leaves me with no concrete ideas about how to create content and, at worst, could lead someone into producing a charade of meaningless posts that lack the very heart of ones own perspective.

    Ok, I know you probably don’t really mean it that way – but I do think it could be *taken* that way. I believe that because I fell into that trap myself and have only recently scrapped 4 years of ‘attempted’ blogging (using the word as in the phrase ‘attempted robbery’) which brought little joy to me and, not surprisingly, no growth in audience or community. Hell, even I didn’t want to read the junk I came up with.

    However, with my recently revamped web site I went against the conventional wisdom that I should separate business from personal. I’m a user advocate and I rely on deeply personal responses to technology as one of my key tools. To not include this personal perspective in a business context leaves me unable to contribute anything worthwhile. Since I made this decision I have lots to talk about.

    So with regards to setting up the frame of mind for meaningful blogging I’m resonating strongly with what Mark W Schaefer said in his comment – especially his last paragraph.

    I’d like to hear more thoughts on the apparent business/personal separation versus the need for passion in blogging.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      So here’s the thing: telling people what to blog about (you said blogging for your community vs blogging for yourself) is like telling authors what to write about. Some people blog personally. Some people blog for business. The Huffington Post isn’t a personal blog. Mashable isn’t personable. There are hundreds and thousands of blog businesses that aren’t about personal notes.

      Make sense?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      So here’s the thing: telling people what to blog about (you said blogging for your community vs blogging for yourself) is like telling authors what to write about. Some people blog personally. Some people blog for business. The Huffington Post isn’t a personal blog. Mashable isn’t personable. There are hundreds and thousands of blog businesses that aren’t about personal notes.

      Make sense?

      • http://www.tuag.ca Michael Keara

        Yes that makes sense however I’m looking at it from the other end. I have a ‘business’ blog/web site that carries my ‘personal’ perspective. Generally I hear people say business is no place for personal content. But that doesn’t mean a lot to me for reasons I stated.

        I like the answer you gave to Mark below where you said you write about your passions but to serve a community. *That* makes sense to me. Thanks.

      • http://www.tuag.ca Michael Keara

        Yes that makes sense however I’m looking at it from the other end. I have a ‘business’ blog/web site that carries my ‘personal’ perspective. Generally I hear people say business is no place for personal content. But that doesn’t mean a lot to me for reasons I stated.

        I like the answer you gave to Mark below where you said you write about your passions but to serve a community. *That* makes sense to me. Thanks.

      • http://www.tuag.ca Michael Keara

        Yes that makes sense however I’m looking at it from the other end. I have a ‘business’ blog/web site that carries my ‘personal’ perspective. Generally I hear people say business is no place for personal content. But that doesn’t mean a lot to me for reasons I stated.

        I like the answer you gave to Mark below where you said you write about your passions but to serve a community. *That* makes sense to me. Thanks.

  • Fimiona

    Thank you for posting these examples, Chris. While I do not produce a blog at this time, your lists are always sources of inspiration to mine for points of view for articles and web content. This one gets a re-post from me.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Happy to help. : )

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Happy to help. : )

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  • http://blogginghowtomake.wordpress.com/ arfan

    great article… helpful

  • http://www.richieyurealestate.com Richie Yu

    Great article! Great service too!

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  • http://www.globalkap.com Tendering Software

    I completely agree that blog posts should be written for those who are in the relevant industry or who will be interested to read you post. Writing an irrelevant post may result in bad traffic coming to your site.

    This is also a good step forward “* Portrait of Success – Write about a customer, a client, a community member and talk about how they are successful”. Its a great idea.

    Looking for the next weak addition.

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  • clif bagz

     im finding hard starting a blog..tnx for this informative article, ..

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    Let’s blog people, nothing like a good blog helps with email marketing. 

  • fererredy

    I’m just showing someone what a blog is

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    You shared great stuff here, blogs and emails come hand in hand. 

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    Chris is just showing someone what a blog

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    Thanks to share your research and information. 

  • Linda Wilson

    Goodness me, Mr Brogan, you did cause quite a stir!

    In my somewhat naive take on things, I don’t see how anyone could write for ‘community’ if they didn’t have personal passion about the subject matter. Whether it’s to educate, inform of sell, the recipient won’t stick around very long if what is written is lacking in life, love and a little (or more) of oneself.

    I think I’ll definitely have to find my way to becoming a regular recipient of these fine words – I would like to be part of the ‘community’ and I really don’t mind which way my chair faces!

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