Superman is attributed with saying, “You asked for my help. That’s all that matters.” Now, I’m not claiming to be the Superman (or woman) of blogging, and you may not have asked for my help. However, the point is you landed on this page, reading a blog about what comics teach us about successful blogging, so for the time being I am going to be the Captain America to your Bucky, the Batman to your Robin, the, dare I say it, Holden McNeil to your Banky Edwards (obtuse comic reference, ten points for you if you get it) and school you on what comics teach us about blogging. If you haven’t checked out the part one to this post, click here.
I laid out five specific points previously regarding this topic, and that was probably enough to establish some general guidelines for you. Read on to complete your knowledge and successfully apply some useful comic teachings to your blogging:
- Strategic cross-selling isn’t just for corporate sales guys: You are sadly mistaken if you believe that the cross-selling principle was founded, and only works, in some Fortune 500 setting. Truth be told, it’s not some sleek corporate drone who first came up with the idea to reel a customer in by hooking them on several products. Comics are great at this concept. You will notice that when you pick a book up, rarely can you satisfy yourself with only buying one series. Usually, there is tons of backstory that you have to get caught up on. Then you have to figure out the inside jokes, and what about the plot twists and the fact that even as one story is unfolding, an entirely separate subplot is happening in a sister comic? This type of cross-selling means that a reader is hooked, and there is enough pull for the individual to invest in multiple areas. How this applies to your blog? If there is some other piece of content, information or a product available to a reader, you need to mention it. Understand demand and how your information or product fits in. Analyze what people will want after they are done reading your blog, and then deliver it. You are the captain of this environment and, as such, you have the power to direct traffic.
- The customer has control: Considering the customer-focused strategy employed by the majority of comics, there is little wonder why many comic series have such loyal followers. Sure, there have been times when a comic creator decided to do something risky—in turn, he might have received praise from fans, or a severe outcry. Ultimately, it is the personal approach that many comic creators are provided with through conventions, workshops and fan fairs that allow them to connect with their customers. This interaction helps them to realize what is going over well and what is falling flat. While your blog might operate on a smaller scale than the fandom found at Comic-Con, the fact is, there are plenty of ways for you to get to know your readers and understand what they are thinking. Ask for feedback, employ a review widget on your blog, listen to what your reader base is saying on social media and implement all of this into your blog or editorial strategy.
- Expert approach to brand management: It might be argued that the term “brand” is vastly overused in today’s marketing and technology-driven world. While it might take some time to sort through the noise in order to truly understand and develop a brand strategy, the case remains that brand management is integral to companies large and small today. Even individual bloggers, social media experts, content creators and the like are focused on this concept, because it is integral to how they attract customers. All in all, brand management is not a new concept and it’s something that comics have been doing well for decades. Think of it: Spiderman, he’s a brand, so is the comic house Marvel, DC Comics, Superman, Wolverine, The Avengers, the list goes on. Stan Lee, for goodness sake, a comic creator, is a brand name. Moreover, all of these brands are loved and doted on; they are an obsession for fans. While the marketers behind these brands might occasionally push the line on boundaries and ideas, they stay true to the overall message that has been passed down through the years. And they are consistent. The lesson here is this: know your brand, understand what it means to your customers, readers or followers and stay on point and on message in all things you do. This includes the products you are in charge of, the content you create and the message you send over social media or in guest blogging opportunities.
- The power of a multi-faceted approach: It’s true that the average comic has ample opportunity for promotion on a multitude of platforms; cinema, toys, graphic novels, traditional comic books, cartoons, clothes. Your brand or blog might not have so many outlets, but it is here where you have to get creative. Where exactly are your customers or readers? What do they want? If your message is one that could be turned to video, get proficient on YouTube. You don’t need a studio to produce this material, just a good camera phone. What social media platforms appeal to your readers? Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest? Understand how your customers want to connect with you. Or, maybe there is opportunity for that cross-selling opportunity. Does the material you write about interest other bloggers? Is there a chance that a subject you are an expert in could be expanded and put into an eBook? The lesson? Don’t be one-dimensional. While Spiderman might have started off as an image on the paper pages of a comic book, today he is so much more. Find your platform and expand your brand.
- Artful repurposing: Content creation is hard work, especially when you are trying to stay relevant and interesting. Keeping that in mind, as content creators, many of us are guilty of presenting material and then letting it rot in the ether, never expanding upon it, revising it or introducing it again. This is a crime, especially when we stress ourselves out trying to find topics to write about, when the material we have already created and the information we have presented is usually evergreen. Comics, on the other hand, are typically serialized weekly, on the fortnight or monthly. However, it is then that storylines are recycled into other series, issues are repeated, there are special issues, bonus issues featuring a supporting character, graphic novels, re-issues and other ways of recycling past material. This is a huge opportunity! Always be on the lookout for a chance to repurpose something. Maybe you have the opportunity to republish an article on a guest blog or in an actual print magazine, maybe you can take snippets from an article and create a series of tweets from them or maybe you can bundle several posts together and create an eBook. The opportunities are endless!
So, in closing, as you blog, remember: you do have the power to direct your readers and plot your course. Following these rules, putting in the time and being strategic will get results. Just remember what V from V for Vendetta said, as the words are truly wise. “I, like God, do not play with dice and do not believe in coincidence.” When it comes to blogging and being successful online, these words are especially sage.
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