When a reader tunes into a piece they have a certain goal they want to accomplish. They want to be engaged and taken on a journey.
For a writer, the most interesting discovery you can make in both journalism (and fiction) is a transformation someone made in how they view, delivered, and experienced something.
And here lies the difference between a blog and a publication.
- A blog offers a solution for readers that butts-heads with a problem daily. This is actionable reading.
- A publication, on the other hand, makes for informed reading. This is nice reading.
The core difference between a publication and a blog, is that with a blog there is always a key takeaway or action step. The problem with a publication isn’t that it doesn’t make good reading, is that it’s missing the “how to”.
If you’re a publication writing about something important — whether that’s political or sports — you can inspire readers and take them on a journey, but often they can feel left behind because they want to help. They’re informed but they don’t know how to take action.
This is one of the core problems companies with business blogs who get invested in with millions of dollars: The senior teams and board members quickly bring in editors and publication managers, and this changes the message of the blog entirely. There’s a focus on short, sharp, informed reading but it lacks the action step their current customers need.
Giving your readers the action step holds you accountable for providing great information that helps the reader level up. A reader will remember this and they’ll thank you by becoming a customer.