Wednesday 25 Jul 2007
Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!
Did you notice, reader, that I just saluted you? Have you noticed that I do it every time I write a post here on the SEOigloo Blog? Maybe you only half-notice it, skipping over my habitual cheery greeting to get to the meat of my post. Yet, in that split second when your eye scans the first line of all of my posts, I am exposing you to the name of my blog – to my brand. I am making the most of an opportunity to say “this is me; what follows is my work” and you, the reader, have absorbed this fact without really having to think about it. The truth is, most blog posts simply plunge forward, without the courtesy of addressing the reader, and thereby miss this simple opportunity to increase brand exposure. I believe that blogs would be improved by the addition of what is formally known as a sign-on.
What is a sign-on or sign-off?
Much as artists sign their paintings to mark their work as their own, radio broadcasters in the golden age of radio recognized the value in having some type of verbal signature that marked their programs as belonging to them. The technical definition of a sign-on is that it acts as a salutation at the beginning of a program (Good Morning! Hey there, this is Bob! etc.) and in the radio business, often included the station ID. A sign-off works the same way, but comes at the end. A famous example that springs immediately to my mind is from the classic radio comedy show, Bob & Ray, whose program always ended:
This is Ray Goulding reminding you to write if you get work, and Bob Elliot reminding you to hang by your thumbs.
Bob & Ray were on the air from 1951 – 1987, and 20 years later, people still remember that sign-off. It burned itself into people’s brains after hearing it so many times.
Marketers claim that it takes seeing or hearing a business name between 5-7 times before a person remembers it. The obvious conclusion is that you should be giving your visitors maximum exposure to your name so that they will remember you and come back for more of what you provide.
In addition to a sign-on or sign-off reiterating your brand name, it allows you to customize the way in which you address your readers. Blogs have scrambled up from humble beginnings into the position of a major media format…and yet, their actual form is often informal to the point of sounding as though you’ve caught the author in mid-sentence. You wouldn’t write a letter without an opening salutation (Dear Grandma) but have you ever considered the courtesy of taking a brief second to acknowledge the presence of your blog readers prior to jumping into your topic of the day? Few bloggers seem to have thought about this, and I would suggest that devising a memorable, short sign-on or sign-off would increase the professionalism, style and intimacy of the blog. Blogs are, after all, meant to create conversation, and no one expects to be called to join in verbal chat without at least a polite ‘hey you’ happening first.
I would imagine that the inclusion of a signature sign-on or sign-off would be especially useful on blogs with multiple authors. Yes, there are avatars to help us identify the blogger, but the written word could add much to the tone of the content. I am certain that brainy and funny bloggers could come up with snappier signature lines than our Greetings from inside the SEOigloo and I think it would be fun to see what they would create for their own blogs by way of addressing their readership.
It’s just a small idea, and may be a novel one, but it could be that when we first delved into the new medium of the blog, we overlooked a good thing that our media predecessors understood so well.