The answer to an old question whether it’s more important to focus on style or content (also sometimes refered to as “form or function”) when it comes to content publishing on the internet will have most listeners responding “You need both quality content and an interesting way to generate traffic and monetize it.”
Easier said than done though.
From my research, most podcasters and video bloggers who generate “interesting” (ie not boring) content tend to be clever/witty, use cool background music, broadcast/guerilla-style video effects and transitions, to the point of being Seinfeld-ish (ie being about nothing) in nature.
If anything, the message is a mood or feeling (emotional) in nature, versus featuring hard, intellectual, fact-based content.
While being cute, cool and kooky might capture an audiences attention for 15 seconds, prolonging that audience engagement beyond that period, can be a challenge.
More importantly, building a brand or cult of personality can be similar to a celebrity endorsement, like a Britney Spears endoring Pepsi type of campaign. However, how far can this go?
On the other hand, strongly fact-based content, like marketing white papers, tend to be dry, and keeping the audience’s attention can be a challenge too. Appealing to the head, but not the heart, can be a mistake, because most buying decisions, whether buying a new iPod, or signing up for a Acai or Reservatrol trial is often made on the basis of hope…or dispair.
With blogging providing a channel for any marketer to publish information, it’s largely a self-regulated medium – barring cease and desist letter, you’re free to publish any content, free of editorial control.
If anything, it’s a democratic medium, because the audience “votes” with their feet, whether to come back for a return visit, or write you off as irrelevant.
So back to the original question – is it possible to be both informative and engaging/entertaining? While this will come naturally for a rare few bloggers, for others it can still be achieved, however, it’d take more effort to each this goal.
Studying role models and more importantly, analyzing how their content is developed and presented will move you further along the learning curve.
Some of the characteristics of successful bloggers:
- Writing in a 1st person style, creating a “you are there” experience
- Engaging the reader fully on a “heart and mind” level
- Creating a reader community and interacting with them
For more tips on using blogging as a branding and monetization channel, check out Secret Blog Weapon.