I’m not a huge fan of country music, but I do like Willie Nelson. Maybe it’s because Willie has recorded so many great songs in a style that doesn’t strike me as excessively country. In particular, I like his version of “Always On My Mind,” also recorded by Brenda Lee, Elvis and many others over the years, including the Pet Shop Boys.
If you’re a blogger, you can’t go wrong studying the lyrics to this song. It’s as if the singer is lamenting not so much a lost love, but his poor, lonely blog—how he should have done more to keep his readers satisfied.
Actually, the song’s lyrics apply to just about anyone who is in the business of satisfying customers, members, constituents or shareholders. So here’s some good relationship advice, courtesy of Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson, the song’s composers:
“You were always on my mind.” If the song’s refrain isn’t your refrain, too, you are going to be in a heap of trouble fast. Your readers (and customers) must always come first.
Keeping your readers top-of-mind means constantly thinking of new topics they may be interested in. Get in the habit of writing down ideas or experiences from your life that you can share. A blog shouldn’t be an afterthought or an addendum; it’s the real deal—an extension of your personality or business culture. When you put yourself into your blog, it shines through and people respond.
I’ve written previously about the importance of giving yourself plenty of “white space” for creative brainstorming. (See “4 fears you need to eliminate to become more creative.”) I use the Notes feature on my iPhone to write down ideas when I’m on the go. I also use a free program called Pocket to save articles and blogs I see that I might want to refer to later. Pocket also comes as an app that you can view on your smartphone. I recommend giving it a try.
“Little things I should have said and done, I just never took the time.” There are innumerable little things that make for a good blog. The first one is to treat your readers (and customers) right. Don’t bore them with reposted technical bulletins or press releases; don’t patronize them with sales come-ons; and don’t lecture them. Treat them as equals, and engage them in a lively conversation. And for gosh sakes, turn on the comment feature so people can leave comments. Then remember to reply to each one (in a timely fashion).
Do sweat the details when it comes to style, usage and grammar. If someone takes the time to read your blog, at least give them a good read! Ditto when it comes to design. You don’t have to have a professionally designed blog, but at least make it presentable and easy to navigate.
Do consider search engine optimization. Remember to use categories and tags so folks will land on your blog when searching for your key words.
“Maybe I didn’t love you quite as often as I could have.” Here is where I often fall short. The surest way to increase readership and develop a following is to consistently post good content and to keep a schedule.
“Girl, I’m sorry I was blind.” If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to apologize. We’re all human.
“I guess I never told you that I’m so happy that you’re mine.” Good bloggers make you feel welcome and always reply to comments. They appreciate your stopping by. This is why blogs fall under the category of social media. So don’t forget the social part, and always keep your readers on your mind.