6 Blogging Lessons from The Hunger Games’ Haymitch Abernathy
Your boss or team leader (perhaps an Effie Trinket lookalike) has just finished a speech on how important it is for your company to have a blog. She talked about how a blog will help drive traffic to the company website, provide information for prospective clients, and help establish credibility. You sat there, nodding in agreement. Then as she wrapped up her speech she looked right at you and said you had been selected to be in charge of this project. Congratulations, tribute! You’ve just been reaped.
Don’t panic. Haymitch Abernathy has some advice and blogging tips for you too.
Lions Gate/via imgflip.com
1. “Loosen your corsets, have a drink.”
Haymitch tells Effie this when she is alarmed about potential repercussions from Katniss’ actions. Since you are probably at work, it might not be a good idea to have a drink, but you can certainly sit back and take a deep breath. First, remember that you are NOT expected to write a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (and if you are, you should demand more money). Nor will you be writing for your high school English teacher who bled red ink over every single paper you turned in. While you want to do your best work certainly, it doesn’t have to be perfect. The beauty of publishing on the web is that if you (or one of your vigilant readers) find a spelling error or typo, you can go back and correct it. The main thing is to get started, learn as you go, and always work on improving. Remember if your corset is too tight you probably won’t be able to think well.
2. “Where’s the ice?”
Just like Haymitch’s efforts to make a satisfying drink, you too, need information. You might start by clarifying the goals of the blog with your supervisor. You might ask yourself what your competitors are doing and check out their blogs. Don’t limit yourself to competitors though. Be sure to check out lots of blogs. What are some of your favorites and what is it about them that appeals to you? VisitCopyblogger or ProBlogger for ideas and tips from some of the most experienced pros in the field. There is a ton of information out there, not to mention examples, ranging from good to bad and everything in between. So go start your survival training with the other tributes!
3. “Nice showing, sweetheart!”
Haymitch says this to Katniss after she shoots an arrow into the stands of the sponsors. He tells her that it was a brilliant move because it makes her stand out. That’s what you want to do with your blog. Find ways to make it different. So what can you do to make your blog stand out? Don’t be afraid to add a little personality to your blog posts. They don’t have to read like corporate white papers that drone on and on. Look for interesting images to add to the visual portion of your content. Add a little humor when you can. Here are a couple of my recent favorites:
- Marketing Lessons by Dr. Seuss (great title)
- Three Ways to Have Fun With Your Marketing (having fun)
- Nine Company Blogs That Are Fun for Anyone to Read (good examples)
Lions Gate/via giphy.com
4. “Make sure they remember you.”
Okay, so you have your first draft post written. Good job! Did you ask the reader a question or invite their feedback? Did you include a call to action (CTA)? Questions, invitations for feedback, and/or calls to action are ways to help your readers engage (as well as remember your company) and remain as part of your community. Let’s focus on the call-to-action. Your CTA depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Maybe you are trying to build up your social media presence. If so, be sure to include buttons or links so they can easily follow your social media channels. Maybe you want them to download your ebook for additional information and to move them along your sales funnel. You will want to include a sign up form for the download that is easy and convenient for them to fill out.
5. “This trip doesn’t end when you get back home.”
After Peeta and Katniss had win the Hunger Games, Haymitch tells them that it isn’t over. The same goes for you once you have published your first few posts. It’s a great beginning, but you need to also think long term. Have you gotten an editorial calendar set up? Are you coordinating with your social media guru to ensure your posts are being shared? Are you collaborating with marketing and communications to ensure that all of your efforts are working together? You will want to consider all of these items in your long term strategy for the blog.
Here are a couple of editorial calendar templates to get you started:
6. “You really wanna know how to stay alive? You get people to like you.”
Haymitch gives this piece of advice to Katniss in reference to sponsors who could provide assistance in the game through gifts such as the medicine and soup she receives. Like her, you will need sponsors not only to keep your organization’s blog going, but to polish it. Sponsors could be other people in the company who can write guest posts or even people in the industry. A coworker with a keen eye for editing could be a tremendous source of support as well. Just don’t forget to say thank you and return the favor when you can!