For TechHeads and Bloggers: Who Are You Talking To?

by Trish

Hello SXSW peeps!

Thanks for a great trip last week! I’m thrilled by my trip to Austin (and exhausted). I had such a great time. Austin is just a lovely small city and I truly enjoyed our time there. Your hospitality is pretty terrific!

I talked to a lot of people during my week at SXSW. And I was always just a bit tickled by how my message focused in on the needs of each person I spoke with. I changed it up as I went. I hung out with an ad guy from D.C. and we talked print kid’s books. Next up, I was in a game design panel and talked with a game designer about using the iPad’s abilities to push manga, which is a piece of kid’s books, but slightly different. And then I went to a dinner where no one had any experience with kid’s book and it was all about the next great book on social media for brick and mortar businesses.

A diverse crowd, yes? Yes.

1. I tried to remember who I was talking to in each conversation, which is the first universal rule of good, persuasive writing, isn’t it? Or does someone else have a better first rule? Please tell me. I’d hate to be mistaken. But for my purposes here, I’ll just say, LOUDLY, that it’s helpful to know who you are talking to when you are blogging, building a community, preparing to sell a book, preparing to self-pub or indy pub, whatever. Copyblogger calls it “creating an avatar.” But that brings to mind the blue people from James Cameron’s AVATAR, and I’m always confused. Anyway!

2. Find their pain. I remember asking specific questions trying to find out what kept them awake at night or what their passion was (I use the word passion all the time; no matter what Jonathan Fields says) and it was so interesting to me what people care about and how that changed how I kept the conversation going. I am really easygoing in one-on-one conversation. You can pretty much steer me where you want me to go. I’m so not pushy. Somehow my writing translates as more pushy, and I’m trying to quit it. Really! So don’t follow my example! Be willing to be steered to follow the pointers your audience gives you about what matters to them!

3. Give more than you ask for. First mantra of my life has always been: give more. And I don’t mean giving what I think is important, but what my audience really wants from me. If they are lost about publishing, I don’t launch off into a long-winded spiel about how you should be prepare to write a lot of crap before you try publishing anything. I just say: “What are you writing about now? I think you should keep doing it.” And I offer pointers about how they can keep going. Because sometimes that’s all that people need to hear. “Keep at it!” Plus it’s pretty hard to create a strategy for a project that is never finished and it is totally discouraging to hear the self-proclaimed publishing gurus saying the same gripe over and over about how you should get the crap out of your system before you try and sell a book project. Ha! Whatever. This simply translates into “You’re not ready yet.” Nevermind some of the CRAP those publishing gurus produce on their own blogs and in their books. Sure, the project you’re working on may not get a print book deal, but don’t we all learn something from simply finishing a project? But perhaps I’m the only one.

All in all, a techhead/blogger can have the most fun with all this community-building stuff. I mean, everyone breaks their blogs or can’t figure out how to use video, or loses a password and has to figure out how to reset something. And that’s why we need people who can teach us, help us, and encourage us. Plus, how else will I know about the hottest blogging template until a blogger tells me about it? I’m just in the dark, I guess.

So, go forth and talk to your peeps now!

PS — was I too bossy in this post? Hit me with it!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jerri Stephenson March 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Hi Tricia, I met you at SXSW at your panel. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me about my website, Do It While You’re Young ( Wishing you the best of luck with your new endeavors!


Trish March 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Hi, Jerri, great to meet you as well! Thanks for sharing with me about your project. Keep at it and let me know if I can help you with anything!

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