How Do You Explain Blogging to Your Mom?By
While visiting with my Mom this morning, the topic of what I do came up and when I got to the part about blogging, I got a the RCA dog look from her. Sure, she understands that I design web sites and occasionally do print work, but blogging means nothing to her. So, I thought about it for a few minutes and realized that I could explain it to her using her world – running the nursery on the farm and going to the farmers market.
I started off by making a few basic comparisons – her primary business (now that she and my Dad are retired) is her farm nursery and selling plants, eggs, and veggies. My primary business is web design and consulting.
Then I introduced the concept of the farmer’s market and how once a week she packs up her best plants and goes to the farmer’s market in town to sell. My version of the farmer’s market is this blog – an extension of my business where I share the best of what I have to offer.
She still didn’t quite get it, so I explained in more detail.
Farmer’s Market Vendors = Bloggers
The individual vendors at the market remind me a lot like the bloggers I know. Each one of the vendors has a unique product to sell – and while there may be 5 vendors selling plants, each one is a bit different and each one has a unique story behind it. Sound familiar? Just as I am web designer, so are David Airey, Dawud Miracle, Randa Clay, Lisa Sabin-Wilson and others – but we each bring something slightly different to the marketplace – all of which is good.
There aren’t just vendors selling plants at the market, there are vendors with produce, vendors selling fresh baked goods, meat, jellies, and more. The same goes for the blogosphere – we aren’t all web designers – we each have our own niche.
Another thing I noticed about the vendors. They all have PASSION for what they bring to the market. If you stop in and ask my Mom a question about how to transplant your favorite perennial, her eyes light up and she will gladly share what she knows about it, whether you buy from her or not.
The vendors also help each other. I witnessed them helping one another set up and take down their booths. The vendor next to my Mom each week sells fruits (mainly berries) and some veggies. Yesterday when they had sold out of asparagus, one of the ladies brought the bucket of water that the asparagus had been sitting in over to my Mom. My Mom used the nutrient rich water to give her big pots of plants a drink. Much like bloggers share plug-in tips.
They even barter – just like we do. My Mom brings farm eggs for the berry ladies and in return she receives some fruit – depending on what is in season that week.
People at the Farmer’s Market = Readers in the Blogosphere
While watching my daughter sell lemonade at my Mom’s booth with amazing ease, I noted that there are three main types of people who go to the market:
People who walk by each booth and glance over briefly to see what is there then keep going. These are a lot like your RSS subscribers. They are interested in knowing what you have to offer, but will only click into your blog if you give them a compelling reason to do so.
Then there are those who stop in, look around, listen in to a conversation, but say nothing themselves. They may or may not make a purchase, but they like what they see and hear, so they will most likely be back.
And about this time, my Mom “got it”.
Then there are her regulars. The people that come to visit her booth week in and week out. They stop and talk, share information, share tidbits about their lives – they engage in conversation. They build a relationship with my Mom. Whether they make a purchase or not is of no difference to my Mom – she keeps going back to the market because of these customers have become her friends.
Often, the regulars at the market and purchase one or two items, join in the conversation, and develop the relationship, end up taking the next step.
The next step, in this case, is going to the farm to make their flower and egg purchases. According to my Mom, when her customers take that step, their purchases go from one or two flowers to complete flats, a hanging basket or two, and some good advice to go along with it.
So why aren’t more businesses blogging?
This was my Mom’s next question. My answer was something to the effect of “they don’t get it – yet”.
Part of what we need to do is to help businesses understand the benefits blogging can have on their business and their relationships with customers and employees. In order to do this, we need to listen to business owners and relate the power of blogging in a way they can understand.