How unicorns and rainbows can sabotage your blog

by Carl Natale on December 10, 2010

Sharing expertise

Sometimes when someone is sharing their expertise, you learn you're wrong about something.

I learned a few things in Thursday’s The Science of Blogging webinar led by social media scientist Dan Zarrella.

I like Zarrella. He uses the word “takeaway” a lot. Works for me. What doesn’t work for me so well is a Unicorns and Rainbows Myth (URM) that is now busted.

An URM is something that people say – maybe it’s conventional wisdom – that sounds nice but doesn’t have any support.

For example, “Don’t call yourself a guru” is an URM.

Hey! That’s not a myth. It’s one of the things I say. How can he say that?

Well his studies show that people who describe themselves with words that evoke authority and expertise get more followers on Twitter. Expert is probably one of those words.

Not that the number of followers is proof you’re an expert or guru. But it’s probably a good indicator that x amount of people believe the claim of authority you made. This is about what actions your words trigger.

Learn something new every day. That’s good because we can’t improve otherwise. And if a few unicorns and rainbows get hurt in the process. So be it.

Good thing I never called myself an expert.

More Things I Don’t Know

Zarrella’s research fills in a few more holes in my knowledge:

  • I know sex sells. But apparently positivity is sexy on blogs.
  • Blog readers cite quality when describing what they want to read. That means proper grammar, spelling and readable prose.
  • Bloggers need to show they have unique insight (like “grammar is not a sign of quality”?) and make the readers feel like they’re part of something unique.
  • The Like and ReTweet icons are the most important social media elements you can have on your blog.
  • Your analytics are more important than your blogging platform.

More Things I Can Share

There is more. But it’s going to support more takeaways on better blogging.

By the way, the webinar was free. And I owe Dan Zarrella and HubSpot a huge thank you for sharing valuable data and insights.

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