It’s a question I ask myself often as I strive to find and expand the niche for my business blog…
What’s more important, style or substance?
at least as far as my definition goes, “the sum total of the knowledge, acumen, thoughts, wisdom, insight, capabilities and logic which are contained in the mind of the businessperson/blogger which he or she diseminates”
the outer coating. It’s “the icing on the cake.” It’s the flashy paint-job on a sports car. It’s that new hairdo, new shoes or great-smelling perfume or cologne that you’re sporting on the way out the door to your big business meeting or social event. And with television shows, as of late, such as “Pimp My Ride” and “Pimp My House,” the term “Pimp” seems to have taken on a new life of its own. No longer is it just thought of as a cruel, violent, urban “businessman” who hustles his prostitutes and scams all of the money (I’m not trying to minimize the heinous aspect of this). As such, “pimping” has now, for better or for worse, entered the modern lexicon as the act of adding style to something.
So which is more important in business blogging? The style or the substance? Which is more likely to be read, a well-though-out post based on knowledge and acumen or one which entertains, excites and “wows” the reader?
Unfortunately, a business-blog without substance is not really a business-blog at all. Filled with just humor, slices of life, evaluation, rants, chit-chat and personal insight of movies, current events and sitcoms, etc. …
it can easily become a piece more fitting for the skit of a late-nite comedian or a work worthy of a short-story literary magazine.
Equally unfortunate is a business-blog filled only with knowledge, a posting which is devoid of any life, humor, insight, personalization or wit. Oftentimes, it is pieces like this that I read…
on nights when I am overtaken with insomnia. They are usually a sure-fire remedy to bore me into deep sleep!
So what is the answer? You’re probably expecting me to say style and substance are equally important. It’s a 50:50 ratio that’s needed. In that case I will let you down!
I’m going to put it at 65:35, with 65 being style and 35 being substance. Why?
People want to be entertained. They want and need a laugh. They want personal insight about you as a businessperson. If they consider giving you their business, they want insight of you as a person. They want to know how you think. They want to see a creative side. They enjoy wit and a bit of off-the-cuff humor. If people only desired business knowledge they wouldn’t read blogs. They would simply pick up textbooks and read dry, rote, stiff principles and theories. There is a reason why a recent survey stated that 62% of people who buy newspapers turn first to the comics page. And there is a reason why people who buy cupcakes love the top part with the icing and think very little of the dry bottom.
That being said, that 35% of a business-blog which is based on substance better deliver great knowledge, insight, principles, tips and advice. They must be sound and solid. It is the part of the blog in which a writer exerts his or her authority! It is where the writer proves that he or she is someone who is worth turning to as a purveyor of wisdom.
That leaves 65% to “Pimp Your Blog!” This is where you have the opportunity to let your creative juices flow.
Mix oftentimes bland and dull principles with a bit of humor. Be witty. Present insight from your childhood. Tell fishing stories. Base your business knowledge around stories of Charlie Brown, volcanic clouds, Porsches and Lamborghinis, your dog “Spot,” Chewbacca and Indiana Jones, sunsets and spiders.
I realize that all blog readers are not the same. Some would argue that the formula should be 50:50…I respect that. Others might argue that there is no place for the icing; all they want is the cake…I respect that too. Me personally? I want to be entertained. I hate blandness and all things dull. I like my cake with plenty of creamy, rich icing! Use color. Insert great pictures. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Give me insight and extras along with all of your GREAT knowledge.
Provide great content…and “Pimp” your blog, and in me, you’ll find a regular reader!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the views of one man and one man only.
Image Credits: Pimped Muppets: loranablog.files; Question Mark: seminarjunkie.com.au; Einstein: jerod.com; Cake: KingArthurFlour; Johnny Carson: honestinfomercialreviews; Insomnia: clocklordblog: pimpmobile: kevlarcowboy; cupcake:thekitchn.com; Hed with Cogs: a-shift-in-action.com