This post is an excerpt from the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook
OK – I can hear what you’re probably thinking:
“What? This ProBlogger dude has lost his mind – what does shopping have to do with blogging?”
Stick with me for a second and let me explain….
The reason I want to encourage you to go shopping is twofold:
A. It’ll get you away from your blog for a bit - I was chatting with another blogger yesterday and we both admitted to each other that we’d been in our PJ’s all day blogging (it was 4pm for me) and needed to get out more – sad but true.
B. It’ll give you a chance to do some observation exercises that could help your - this is the main reason for today’s task and is based upon an experience that I had today at a local shopping center (or ‘mall’ as many of you non Aussies would call it).
1. Step away from the Computer (come on, you can do it)
2. Grab a notebook and pen (do you remember them? They are the things you used to use before your primary form of communication involved typing)
3. Head to your local shopping center/mall/CBD shopping area (easier for some than others I realize – apologies to those in rural areas, this may or may not work in your local general store)
4. Once at the ‘mall’ take 30 minutes or so to go ‘wandering’ with no agenda (don’t do your groceries) except to ‘watch’ and ‘observe’ in some of the following ways:
- Who is there? Who are they with?
- What are they doing?
- What are they buying? What products are particularly in demand at the moment?
- How do they make their buying decisions?
- What are the retailers doing to get people’s attention and stand out?
- What messages are they using in their marketing?
- What colors/design techniques are in at the moment?
- What other things are ‘hot’ or in fashion?
- What sales techniques are sales staff using?
- What are retail outlets doing well? What are they doing poorly?
5. As you watch, make some notes. Don’t attempt to find any ‘lessons’ or try to tie it back to your blog yet.
6. Once you’ve spent half an hour or so on ‘observation mode’ find a spot to sit down (a food court perhaps) with a coffee and go over the things that you’ve noticed and see if there’s any lessons there that you might be able to apply to your blogging?
This process might seem a little random and pointless – but it’s something that I’ve done on numerous occassions over the last few years and each time that I’ve done it I’ve come away with at least one new idea that I want to apply in my blogging.
Some of the ideas have come directly from things I’ve seen retailers doing in their marketing (for example, today I saw a store using an attention grabbing technique that I want to try to apply to one of my blogs to draw readers eyes) – while others are more lessons about ‘people’ and how they operate and once or twice I’ve even seen illustrations to use for posts or even ideas for new blog post topics. Once I even spotted a trend that gave me an idea for a new blog.
If nothing else it’ll get you out of the house for a bit!
I’d love to hear your experiences of this exercise in comments below!
Update: Here’s what I learned on MY shopping expedition when I first posted this exercise in the last 31 Day Challenge – I hope it gives some ideas on how this might work out.
Update #2: They’re talking about this over at the 31DBBB forum: Day 13 – Visit a ‘Mall’ (really… a Mall) You should join them!
This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.
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