AskPat 344 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 344 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.
Alright, now let's get to today's question from Ann.
Ann: Hi, Pat. My name is Ann. First, I would like to thank you for all the great content you provide. It has really inspired me to push forward and start my blog. I have started a niche site blog, and I am just getting ready to go online with it. The problem is that I'm really struggling with the content. I seem to spend hours writing a post trying to get my point across without being too wordy, trying to make it sound interesting but not too “fake.” My personality is very straightforward and I tell things to the point without a lot of fluff. Obviously writing is not my strong point, but I still want to make my blog work, help my followers and eventually make a decent income from it.
My question is, what do you think of instead of writing traditional sentences and paragraphs, I just summarize what I want to say in bullet points with maybe a short intro and summary at the end? I have thought about this a lot lately, and I really think it would work on my site, since my blog is based on people asking me questions about my niche and I answer their questions. I know when I've read a blog post on other sites, I tend to just skim the content and don't really take the time to really read every word. I've taken time to look at other blogs in my niche and other niches, and I don't really see anybody else doing this. Is there a reason I don't see this happening? It just seems to me that it would save me a ton of time, and also save the readers time by presenting the information in a way they can absorb faster at a glance. I really appreciate any thoughts on this that you can give me. Thanks again, Pat.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Ann. Thank you so much for the question, and it's really interesting that you asked this because this is exactly what was going through my head when I first started writing online. When I did first start writing, a lot of what I was writing was bullet points, so I think . . . To give you a quick answer, if it helps you present the content in an easy, digestible way, then I would say go ahead and do it. But, there are things that aren't going to happen when you do that.
Now, let me go back in time. With GreenExamAcademy.com, my website where I helped people pass an exam in the architecture industry, it made complete sense to do content for that audience in this way. Literally what I would do is I would read one of the chapters in this great, gigantic book which everybody had to read and memorize, and I would pull out the most important parts and put them into bullet points. That would be the thing that people would memorize. I would often put them into different charts and infographics and things like that, which I would recommend that you do as well. I feel like this would help with your strengths, which are getting to the point and helping people have a clear understanding of what's going on. But I will say, for example, if I did that on SmartPassiveIncome.com, I would lose a lot of my followers. I would lose a lot of the relationships I have with my audience and the trust I have with them. Not because I'm not providing content. Yes, I'm still proving content, and valuable content, but I lose the personality.
Bullet points take the personality away from your particular content. There are ways to put your personality into bullet points, of course, but if you were to talk to somebody in person and you specifically talked to them in just list format, or by essentially saying bullet points the whole time, it would be a weird conversation, right? If you wanna have a real conversation and build a real relationship with your audience, Ann, then you have to write like you speak. That's been my biggest helpful hint in terms of how to write better. I was a terrible writer when I first started, but now, since I've been doing it over and over and over again, I've just gotten better and better and better each time. The thing that changed for me was I stopped trying to write essays. I stopped trying to write like my high school English teacher would tell me to write, with a hypothesis and all these super formal paragraphs and sentences. No. I just write like I talk now
So Ann, you spoke absolutely perfect in your question. Just write like that, and I think that's gonna help you. I would also include the bullet points like you mentioned, but I wouldn't just keep it to bullet points. If, for example, you had that intro paragraph like you mentioned and also a summary, I think that would be very helpful in drawing out your personality and building a relationship with the people who are on your site. But I would be very hesitant to just have only bullet points. Again, it depends on the topic that you're into. It worked for me with Green Exam Academy, but it was when I started to talk about a lot of the experiences that I had with the exam that were beyond the content, but talking about what it was like going into exam day, how nervous I was and what it was like getting my scores and going to different classes to learn more. Those things I can't mention in a bullet point format. I cannot present those stories in a bullet point format. Stories are not meant for bullet points, and stories are the best way for you to share things with your audience as well. I would be hesitant to do only bullet points because you lose, like I said, the personality but also the ability to tell a great story, and stories are what people remember. Stories are what tell people other people things . . . Or, stories are what people tell other people, and stories, they just have this amazing way of transporting people into your shoes.
So Ann, I would think about these few things. I would think about, okay, writing bullet points. I think you could do that for the different kinds of content that you have to share. But I would also have posts specifically where you can talk via your text, and tell stories through your writing. That's what I would do. There are other ways to go around this. If you are having some troubles with writing you could dictate. You could talk. You could record those conversations, transcribe them, and have them become the content that you have on your blog. There's also the idea of actually taking that content and producing it as an audio podcast, or maybe even doing video if you'd like. There's a lot of ways to do it, but I would say that the bullet points are a good idea, but don't lose out on the ability to build that strong relationship that you have with your audience, which is gonna be worth much more down the road. That trust and authority that you build, that story that you tell that is a connector, that makes you an attractive character in their eyes because of that. That's what people stick around for. They go there for the content and the stick around for the person behind that content, for sure.
So Ann, thank you so much. I appreciate it and I wish you all the best. Best of luck to you. For those of you listening, if you have something to add to this, use the hashtag askpat344 on Twitter. We can continue this conversation on that social media platform. Ann, we're gonna send you an AskPat T-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. You'll hear from my executive assistant in the next couple weeks to collect that information. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, all you have to do is head on over to AskPat and you can ask right there on that page, thanks to the widget from SpeakPipe.com.
Alright, thanks so much. And as always, I love to end with a quote. Today's quote is from Robert Kiyosaki. He says, “Nine out of 10 businesses fail, so I came up with a foolproof plan. Create 10 businesses.”
Cheers, take care, thanks so much, and as always on Friday, I love to ask you for a quick review on iTunes. Just head on over to iTunes and type in “AskPat,” and leave a quick, honest review. I would really appreciate it. It helps out the show. Thank you. Love you guys, take care, and I'll see you on the flip side. Cheers.