The Metrics of Being Human

One of the single least understood concepts in business blogging is emotion. There are of course the emotions of your visitors to consider. But all too often as the principals in an effort (owner or stakeholder) we neglect to consider our own emotions.

Going even broader, for business owners there is a tendency to entirely neglect our emotions and instead to get so wrapped up in the technical aspects of blogging to the point that we are no longer considering our own happiness – entirely neglecting the actual personality of our business.

Recently I read a great article by Glenn Allsopp of ViperChill on The Future of Blgging – it is a great post and I highly recommend you read it. One sentence in that article jumped out at me:

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”” quotestyle=”style02″]One of my best litmus tests for knowing whether an article is going to be well received is if you’re really excited to hit publish.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]
source: By Glen Allsopp of ViperChill

This sentence in particular resonated with me as it to a large extent embodied the approach that I have been moving toward with my own business blogging strategy.   Some of my own evolution has been as a result of my business maturing, but I’d say more of my blogging evolution has been as a result of my own human needs.  More on this later…

Publishing Priorities

We all strive for efficiency. Some of us of course are “better” at it than others, but when it comes to business blogging there are many pressure points all competing in a massive sea of information. As a result of needing to prioritize and to process the instinct is to focus on semi-tangible concepts and ideas and to in some way try to implement a turn key process. Nothing ground breaking – we all do this.

Of course this being the “digital age” naturally we are all slowly drifting toward digital solutions. The “cloud” certainly leaps to mind right now. Another area specific to business blogging solutions is a heavy focus on metrics.

Dashboard Metrics

Metrics matter. For a business blog they are critical.  Do not for one moment lull yourself into believer otherwise.  Metrics can have a big impact on the bottom line.  Ignoring metrics can have a potentially even bigger impact on your bottom line, or lack thereof.

Traffic. Conversion. Time on site. Bounce rate. These, and many other measurements are critical to the success of your business.  SEO’s are saying I told you so!  They have, and they should continue to do so – this stuff is VERY important.

These metrics are also becoming increasingly “dashboard-centric” meaning that we can easily head into a program such as Google Analytics and able to access and measure our metrics in all kinds of wonderful ways.

What is so great about Dashboard Metrics is that we are all becoming ever more comfortable with them.  Perhaps it has to do with a better user experience, or maybe it is just that as end users we are evolving (and yes, end users evolve – think about how different TV shows were 50 years ago… have you ever heard of a concept called density of story?  there is some high level TV talk for you!)  Maybe it just has to do with dashboard makers making better dashboards.

Of course just because you have a dashboard does not mean that you are allowed to stop there.

Human Metrics

In addition to needing to measure I am of the belief that there is an entirely complementary set of metrics that you as a business owner are obligated to consider and those would be what we’ll call Human Metrics.  These are the types of “metrics” that rely on things like emotion and hunches.  There is nothing “metric” about them but I decided if we applied a arithmetic sounding verbiage to this line of thinking perhaps it will resonate that much more strongly…

The truth is as a business owner in many ways you know your audience better than they know themselves.  Granted you are not able to provide your audience with intimate insights into their lives (unless that is actually what you do for a living), but when it comes to your domain, the services that your business provides, you are probably much more aware of your customer needs than they are.  How they buy.  Why they buy.  When they buy.  Why one product is more compelling than another….

How do you measure that?  To some extent you can rely on dashboard metrics, but there is quite possibly something that happens well in advance of dashboarding that is applicable – and that something is purely human.

Human Metrics That You Should Care About…

So lets assume for a minute that we are not going to solely rely on our dashboard to tell us what matters.  Some things to consider might be what you as a business owner believe is going to be of interest to your audience.  You know them better than they know themselves so have confidence in believing they might be extremely interested in your point of view.

Does what you are about to say move the needle?  Not everything needs to move the needle, but everything you do should.  It is extremely competitive out there, and just in case you didn’t read Glen’s post I mentioned earlier please do so now.  I’ll say it a little differently then he did – putting in a mediocre effort will no longer get you a return.  If you think mediocre is enough don’t bother – there is already an abundance of mediocre and you’ll have a very hard time breaking through.  On the other hand, if you can manage to move the needle through your expertise, hard work and passion you are much more likely to see a return on your human effort.

Will your audience enjoy what you wrote?  Their happiness is important.  The internet can be a lonely place – ignore the happiness of your audience and be prepared for the roar of silence.

Most Importantly

Are you excited to hit publish?  Unlike the other human metrics I’d like to think this metric is devoted primarily to you as the principal behind an upcoming piece of content.  You should be excited about what you do, and you should certainly be excited about what you write for your business.  Even if the business is not “yours” you should still be excited about hitting publish.

Life is short.  Life is hard.  You owe yourself this small satisfaction.  It will be immensely rewarding.

A Few Notes In Closing… 

I’m not sure why, but I’m going to run with the stick figure drawings for a bit.  I like them and I think they add a bit more – I know they stink (I drew them….) but somehow I think they work.

I also have been playing around with orange titles which I am liking a great deal.

While I would not ordinarily point these sorts of things out about how I approach the mechanics of how I blog, in the spirit of this post I wanted to share with you that both of these small items have personally added a great deal to my own excitement about hitting publish.

The bigger point being that not everything has to be massive in order to get you there – small things matter too, especially when we are talking about “being excited to hit publish”.  That is not to say that coming out with a truly epic post is the same as experimenting with orange headlines – you should definitely be more excited about “epic”, but it is also okay to be excited about the details.

So now, before you hit publish on your next blog post take a moment to consider – are you excited to hit publish?