One-Minute Book Reviews

January 19, 2008

Are You Undercommunicating the Vision of Your Blog ‘by a Factor of Ten’?

Filed under: How to,Nonfiction — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:17 pm
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Explaining your goals more often or clearly may help you build your site


By Janice Harayda

Not long ago, I wrote about a paperback on how organizations change, which I recommended as a holiday gift for managers. But the more I’ve thought about the book, the more it’s seemed that the Harvard Business Review on Change (HBSP, $19.95) makes a point that could also help bloggers who want to build their sites by attracting more visitors, gaining more links, or generally becoming more competitive. The point appears in an article by John Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business School and an expert on corporate turnarounds. Kotter lists eight reasons why organizations fail to make changes that would help them stay competitive, including “Not Establishing a Great Enough Sense of Urgency” (Error #1) and “Declaring Victory Too Soon” (Error #7).

But the point that caught my eye was “Undercommunicating the Vision by a Factor of Ten” (Error #4). Kotter argues that the leaders in any field don’t spell out their vision once or twice and hope that people will buy into it (or worse, fail to articulate a vision at all and hope people will figure it out.). Leaders “incorporate messages into their hour-by-hour activities.”

Kotter’s advice might sound comically absurd to many bloggers. How can you weave your vision into your “hour-by-hour” activities if you post once or twice a day, as I do, or less? And yet, Kotter has a point. Most bloggers seem to convey their vision pretty much the way I did when I created One-Minute Book Reviews I described my aims on my “FAQ” and “About” pages and hoped that visitors would click on the links to them.

But these pages got much less traffic than others on my site, far less than 10 percent of the most popular posts. Based on that figure, Kotter was right: If I wanted people to understand my vision, I was undercommunicating it by a factor of 10. Worse, I can’t compensate for this adding information to the header on my blog, because I can’t customize the template.

So after reading the Kotter’s article, I made a few changes with the aim of conveying my vision better. These three seemed especially helpful and might work for you, too (though if could customize my header, that might be best of all):

1) Add a regular tag line to the bottom of posts, explaining what your site is “about.” Mine consists of just one sentence, “One-Minute Book Reviews is for people who like to read but dislike hype and review inflation.”

2) Update your FAQ and post the changes both on the FAQ page and as a regular post, so visitors to your site will see the questions without having to click.

3) Keep visitors up-to-date on changes in your mission. If your thinking about your vision has evolved since you put up your FAQ or “About” pages, explain the changes in a regular post.

Have you taken any steps to communicate the vision of your blog that you think would help other bloggers? If so, why not share your views by leaving a comment?

Janice Harayda recently was named one of 25 “Women Bloggers to Watch in 2008” by the site Virtual Woman’s Day One-Minute Book Reviews is the sixth-ranked book-review site in the world on the Google Directory of top book-review blogs

© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. Janice,

    Thank you for some great ideas and for bringing this book to my attention! I’ve linked to your article from one of my posts – I hope that’s ok with you.

    Sabine Pyrchalla

    Comment by Sabine — January 19, 2008 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  2. […] out “Are you undercommunicating the vision of your blog by a factor of ten?” by Janice Harayda for some tips and ideas. I think we all can learn from her ideas and […]

    Pingback by Great Blogging Advice « Colorado Highlands Group — January 19, 2008 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  3. My pleasure, Sabine. Glad to have the link, because I’m sure many bloggers have great ideas that wouldn’t occur to most of us. I’d love to hear about them.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — January 19, 2008 @ 3:36 pm | Reply

  4. Good points. I suppose I hadn’t thought much about them until I read your post because–for who knows what reason–I also thought anyone who wanted to know what the vision was would look at the “about me” link.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Malcolm Campbell

    Comment by knightofswords — January 22, 2008 @ 9:08 pm | Reply

  5. My pleasure, Malcolm. I don’t know how much my efforts to explain my vision have helped. But I do see a lot of good blogs that take a while to figure out, and this could be a way to accelerate the process … the Web equivalent of speed dating? Jan

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — January 22, 2008 @ 9:50 pm | Reply

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