When it comes to being a badass, few can hold a candle to good old 007.
Calm, cool, and collected under pressure, Bond is known as much for his seductive personality as he is for his incredible ability to get himself out of any situation in one piece.
What he isn’t known for is writing a successful blog.
But everyone’s favorite fictional, womanizing secret agent has more to do with writing killer copy and running a great site than you might think.
Here a few things you can learn about great blogging from everyone’s favorite snappy dresser/sex addict/paid assassin.
Know exactly who you are
From the specific type of drink he orders (martini, shaken not stirred) to the unique presence he commands when walking into a room, James Bond always knows exactly who he is (yes, I realize I sound like an American Idol judge, but it remains true).
When you’re dealing with James Bond, you know what you’re going to get. If you’re a psychopathic villain bent on world domination, you don’t want to find out that Bond is on your case because you’re most likely going to end up dead.
Readers should know exactly who you are within minutes of coming to your site.
- When you visit Copyblogger, you know you’re going to learn how to write great content that builds both your business and your reputation.
- When you visit The Art of Nonconformity, you expect a point of view that challenges the status quo. You also learn very quickly that author Chris Guillebeau has made it his mission to visit every country in the world.
- When you visit Man Vs Debt.com, you know you’re getting a guy trying to destroy his debt.
- Spend three minutes on any of Gary Vaynerchuk’s sites and you feel like you’ve known the guy for years.
Your reader should know not only who you are but also what you’re providing within just a few lines.
It took me nine months of writing every day before I finally found the right “voice” and felt confident enough to use it. Once I finally embraced my personality and injected it into each post, my site really caught on with new readers and became much more enjoyable for me to write.
Recognize the importance of style
Other than his killer instinct and love of women, James Bond is probably known for one key attribute:
Bond always looks fantastic, no matter how recently he’s escaped the clutches of an evil villain. He knows how to dress, he knows how to drink, he knows the right watch to wear and the right car to drive. He presents impeccable manners at a dinner table and in conversation. He makes a calculated show of his best possible side in every situation.
Can you offer that kind of consistence in your presentation? Does your site’s color scheme and visual style match the tone of the content? Is your site loaded up with misplaced ads that distract rather than enhance your site? Does your About page accurately and quickly tell the reader what they’re getting?
Most importantly, does it all work together?
I hate to be superficial, and I would much rather tell you that it’s what’s on the inside that matters most. But in today’s instant-gratification, StumbleUpon, YouTube culture, you often have less than five seconds to make your first impression. Make the most of those five seconds.
Hook them with good looks, and then keep them with great content.
It’s okay to be witty
James Bond has a dry one-liner for every situation.
Bond: That looks like a woman’s gun.
Largo: Do you know a lot about guns, Mr. Bond?
Bond: No, but I know a little about women.
Domino: What sharp little eyes you’ve got.
Bond: …Wait ’til you get to my teeth.
A witty comment can help you make a point more clear, keep readers engaged, get them thinking, or provide some necessary comic relief in an otherwise somber situation. Life’s too short to be serious all the time. There’s no crime — and a lot of style — in making your readers laugh.
Stay cool under pressure
When Bond jumps between two high-rise buildings, he knows he can make the jump. He simply doesn’t allow any room for doubt.
If he goes to a gunfight with six terrorists, he knows he’s going to win. There’s always a villain trying to kill him; there are always members of his own government who question his motives and tactics.
Bond moves forward with confidence, and he gets the job done.
As your blog increases in traffic, it’s easy to start doubting yourself and your abilities. Sure, you felt comfortable when it was just your mom and friends reading. But as your readership starts to grow, you might start to question yourself.
Here’s the thing. You got where you are thanks to your talents and abilities.
You will hit roadblocks, and you will have villains of your own. Don’t let them take you down.
I’ll never forget my first negative comment left by a random stranger, on an article of which I was extremely proud. I spent the next four hours freaking out, researching his claims, and crafting a response that I agonized over before finally posting.
The commenter eventually emailed me the next day and said, “Oh, I didn’t think of it that way, I was just in a bad mood.”
It takes time to develop some perspective about the negativity. If you are confident in your abilities, if you know what you’re doing is right for you and your readers, you will learn to take constructive criticism from the right people and ignore the villains.
Shoot to kill
James Bond knows that a single bullet can kill or incapacitate an enemy. To use any more firepower than necessary could be the difference between life and death in the next shoot-out.
When he sees a room full of enemies, 007 thinks to himself: “Six bad guys, six bullets. Perfect.”
Words are like bullets — don’t waste them. If you can say it in 500 words, why spend 1000?
Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits writes an article and then continually refines it until the message is clear, quick, and concise. After writing something, go back through it, line by line, and decide what’s necessary and what’s superfluous. Embrace the art of brevity.
Aim for the kill by picking words and sentences that drive your point home immediately.
A little modesty can go a long way
Think back to any action scene from a Bond flick. He wipes out an entire army, drives a car off a cliff, saves a woman, and then brushes off his tux and moves onto the next task.
You don’t see him pulling a Ron Burgundy, claiming to be “kind of a big deal.” You’ll rarely hear Bond discuss his accomplishments or accolades — he doesn’t have to. His actions already speak louder than his words ever could. Restating the obvious would just tarnish the cool.
In today’s online world, bloggers are constantly trying to one-up each other, promising the BEST CONTENT EVER or announcing they’re the WORLD’S GREATEST AUTHORITY ON LIFESTYLE DESIGN. Hyperbole, exaggeration, and gratuitous self-promotion have unfortunately become commonplace.
Let’s imagine for a second that 007 ran his own blog.
After catching your eye with terrific design and blowing you away with incredible content, Bond’s blog would get the attention it deserved without him having to shout from the rooftops how great he is.
If you are sharing content that is worth reading, you don’t need to be your own biggest cheerleader. Leave that to the people you just wowed: your fans.
Take what you’ve learned from this secret agent and apply it to your own Web site. Build your style, be confident in your abilities, shoot to kill — and then tell them it’s all in a day’s work.