What is transparent blogging all about?
It’s about showing all the aces in posts, sharing any data with your audience, expressing your personal opinion, being emotional, and not hiding anything.
How do you become a transparent blogger and develop your authentic writing voice? Let’s find out.
What is transparent blogging?
Transparency – the quality of being done in an open way without secrets.
Do you see how many bloggers turn to more emotional and open style of writing? They do it for a reason – emotions are a great way to fight ad blindness. But the thing is not only about regular ads. Due to the devaluation of content, people are also blind to messages that brands deliver with content marketing.
We witness content devaluation because content is insincere. See it yourself: a marketer knows that people are blind to ads. That’s why he hides these ads behind a mask of content marketing. For example, a company writes a post titled “How to Get Rid of 99% of Dust in Your Room” instead of a regular vacuum cleaner ad. It gives a bunch of useful tips and a scientific explanation of benefits and effectiveness of that very vacuum cleaner.
It’s not content marketing. It’s native advertising – an ad disguised as a valuable post. People know how to tell if it’s a commercial review or helpful information. But they don’t want to waste their time on it. Thanks to the information overload, consumers just skip all content that you create trough blood, sweat and tears.
This is how James Altucher, one of the transparent blogging apologists, describes his way of writing, “For some reason, I've turned myself inside out and all my guts have spilled onto my blog”. James’ posts fit into the concept of radical honesty by Brad Blanton.
As a transparent blogger, James shares his personal opinion on everything. His honesty makes a reader empathize, criticize and refute. It makes people read his posts.
Here are some examples of transparent blogging:
- Jon Morrow talks about dying, mothers, and fighting for your ideas.
- Jeff Deutsch confesses to be an ex-SEO spammer.
- Brian Lenney explains why being a marketer is a risky business.
Do you stay honest to get thousands of shares and comments to every post? First, find out…
…How not to fall into a trap of honesty
This trap is obvious – people want you to be honest only if they know, love and praise you. If you are a newbie, then you better hope nobody notices your confessions. Who wants to read a diary of yet another misunderstood genius? And if somebody notices them, they may peck you to death.
So, only famous people, established authorities and thought leaders have a right to be transparent, right?
Mere mortals can be honest and must do so. The only difference is that they should start with information transparency. It’s almost the same to what James Altucher does, but with insights, experience, ideas and algorithms on the first place. That is to say, with useful information.
There is no blogging or content marketing without transparency. Your posts won’t catch people’s attention if you manipulate facts and keep the truth secret. It’s not even about hypocrisy. You can seamlessly hide it. The thing is that if your posts are not emotionally or information transparent they give no extra value – the extra value that makes content remarkable.
What you should keep to yourself
What may happen to a business that…
- …discloses all secrets?
- …describes all business algorithms in public?
- …shares all ideas and inventions with customers and competitors?
That’s right, it may fail overnight. Hence, is it a good idea to keep some information secret?
Don’t publish anything that may hurt you, your partners and customers. Don’t be afraid to share the rest. Here are 5 reasons to do so:
- Your ideas cost nothing. The skill to make them go live is the only thing that values. One must be disciplined, work hard and have enough resources to make an idea go live. Are you afraid that somebody steals your idea? That’s all right. You’ll come up with something else later.
- In most cases, everybody already knows your secrets. Have you really invented something? Then go get a patent for it and let the world know about your invention.
- You self-develop when sharing information. Do you know who masters lessons the best when studying? It’s a teacher who runs these lessons.
- Information transparency makes your knowledge more in-depth. Readers check information, criticize and complement posts with something new.
- Sharing great content establishes your authority. If an audience considers you to be a source of reliable information, people will be interested in your personality and emotions.
Content marketing works only if it’s information transparent. Why?
Keep reading to find out.
How transparency marketing works
Transparency in business catches attention, drives engagement and makes audience more loyal. The most obvious example is case studies with exposed technologies, data and results.
Case studies make people read your content
Such form of content gives a significant boost in visits and user data. It means that your prospects pay more attention to case studies compared to other posts.
How to write a killer case study? Here are some good ideas for you:
- Show numbers. You won’t lose anything.
- Answer the question ‘How’. Readers know what they should do to achieve a goal. They want to understand how to do it.
- Share bad or questionable results. It will save time for your audience. Read our fail case study to understand what we are talking about.
People will love your case studies if they can apply described techniques and tools to their business tasks. Is it possible to write such a case study without being transparent? Decide for yourself.
Readers want value
Exposed secrets, tools and technologies magnify people. A good how-to guide gives them all of these. How to write a great guide? Use our recommendations:
- Test it first. Install a CMS, check a soft, setup and launch a PPC campaign. This is how you create extra value: you find pitfalls, correct mistakes and give your readers valuable lifehacks.
- Research a topic. You don’t want users to search for additional information after they’ve read your guide. Don’t believe those who claim that people don’t read anything that is longer than (put any number of characters here). Long copies work.
- Make it visual. Use photos, screenshots, videos, graphs. They will help your audience and save you from answering dozens of tech questions.
- Tell about the resources you used. Don’t be afraid to share everything: valuable links, tools, templates, presets and so on. The one who keeps secrets doesn’t wing in inbound marketing. The one who discloses them first does.
If people visit your website to learn then you’re on the right track.
Write frank posts, share your personal opinion on problems, pick a fight with your audience. Your task is to get an emotional response. Any emotion is better than indifference. It’s easier to work with people who hate you than with people who don’t notice you.
What can you do to fight indifference? Here are recipes:
- Make sure you have enough authority, emotional intelligence, experience and social proofs. Don’t anger people if they don’t know you.
- Troll readers. Emotions work like a flywheel. They’ll give you a big boost and lots of ideas for future.
- Expose yourself. A reader must memorize your ideology, opinion, hobbies. It’s easier to deliver your message if people recognize you.
- Surprise them. Find your own way to do it: go against a popular trend, question authorities, give gifts, achieve outstanding results.
- Admit your mistakes and weaknesses. This is how strong people do. Moreover, there will always be people who want to teach you a thing or two.
If partners and customers love or hate you, then you are a winner. If people are indifferent to your personality, product, business or blog, then you should work more.
Classics are never out of fashion
Transparency and sincerity are not even classis. They are basics that content marketing can’t work without. If you’re not absolutely frank with your audience, then your posts won’t get much attention in a best case scenario. If you intentionally hide some part of information, your posts turn into disguised ads, a tool to manipulate users. By the way, people are good at telling if you’re trying to manipulate their choices. That’s why they stop paying attention to your content.
What do you think, should an author, who writes for a living, be frank with readers? May transparency hurt a business? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.