I’ve always been of the opinion that if Carrie Bradshaw had popped onto our television screens in 2010 instead of 1998, she would have been a blogger. But alas, she didn’t, so she wrote a (gasp!) print column for the fictional New York Star newspaper.
Yes, before there were blogs, there were newspaper columns – where readers couldn’t talk back or share good content. ‘Carrie the blogger’ would have been huge.
Though the words of Carrie and her cohorts have not been etched in permalink stone, their messages linger on. And despite the fact that Carrie was allergic to the internet and only used her Apple Powerbook for word processing her articles, the lessons, ideas and, more pointedly, the actual quotes that came barreling out of Sex and the City still speak directly to us Copybloggers.
“You sleep with someone, all of a sudden you start rationalizing all of the red flags away.”
Now, hopefully, you aren’t sleeping with your clients, readers or other bloggers (on a regular basis). Typically, the copybloggers’ dangling carrot (no pun intended, I swear) isn’t sex, it’s money. The woo of money or product can, sometimes, have a debilitating affect on a blogger and their writing. Recently, an intern at TechCrunch got into heaps of trouble for exchanging a blog post for a laptop – for example.
But what about these red flags? For Carrie and the girls, the sex pulled the proverbial wool over their eyes, for bloggers, it’s the cash. These red flags could be anything from illicit blogging behavior, a client that is extremely difficult, a blog that practices black hat SEO, selling a product that might do harm or agreeing to write really bad copy. Will we rationalize these red flags away for income? Heck, will we even rationalize the rationalizing for income?
“The only thing you need to get a date…is another date.”
No truer words have been spoken. How do you get traffic to your blog? With traffic. How do you get guest posting opportunities? By guest posting. How do you get more followers on Twitter? By having a lot of followers on Twitter. How do you get a lot of inbound links to your blog? By having quality inbound links that tell more and more people about your blog.
The concept is based on two facts. One: people are followers – not everyone – but the majority of folks. They hear that Copyblogger.com is a great blog so they stop by and see that there are 100K+ subscribers and so they subscribe, because if everyone else thinks this blog is great, well then, it must be.
And two: success makes us pretty. When you feel good, when things are going well, it shows. Think about being in love – you look handsome, you feel thin, good hair days abound, you have that ‘glow’. When things are going well at the old blog, it’s contagious. Your writing flows, the comments are long and thoughtful, your sidebar fills up with stylish ads, quality inbound links stream in. And all of this makes people step up their level of engagement with you. They want to be around your success, they’re attracted to it and hoping your hotness will rub right off onto them. Like a moth to a flame, and your flame is on fire.
“Coulda, woulda, shoulda…”
Have you noticed that the blogosphere moves fast? Someone recently remarked to me that, ‘Yes, everything has already been created – but not by us.” It is the plight and rabid complaint of the blogger to say that everything has already been written about. To me, that’s the equivalent of saying that all of the letters in the alphabet have already been used, so there is nothing left to write. Are you kidding me?
You are unique. Sure, a zillion people are writing about SEO or hats or astrology. But there is only one you – with your experiences and thoughts and context – writing about it. So don’t live to see your ideas under someone else’s byline. Don’t say, coulda, woulda, shoulda. Seize the moment of inspiration. Write it down. Publish it. Share it with your community. Blogging affords us each ‘our moment’ of opportnity 24/7/365. Take it.
“Everyone thought Batman could beat the Green Hornet, but the Green Hornet won because he had Kato.”
Blogs are the ultimate platform for the underdog, the every person, the ‘nobody’. You don’t have to be batman to win – even the Green Hornet has a fighting chance. Yes, we do have our blogebrities, but new ones are ‘making it’ everyday. Remember two years ago hardly anyone had heard of Twitter. Blogs have made it possible for a broke, depressed woman to cook and share a la Julie Child and get a book deal and a movie option. And a couple of dudes made an online college yearbook that, within a few years, has grown to hold the pictures and information for a gazillion users. While we all can’t reach superstardom, many of us leverage our blogs for decent product sales, service business platforms and advertising traffic.
And don’t forget the Green Hornet’s secret weapon. Yep, Kato – the sidekick, the friend…ah, maybe even the JV partner? Blogging is simply not a solo pursuit. We need readers, we need community, we need mentors. If we’re really lucky, we have a partner or a small crew of people that support us, send readers to us, have our backs and generally serves as our ambassadors in the world. We do the same for them. I don’t know about you, but if I was going up against Batman, I’d want Kato on my side.
“The flowers were supposed to say ‘I’m sorry, I love you’ not ‘You’re dead, let’s disco!'”
When Miranda’s mom dies, Charlotte arranges to have flowers sent for the casket. Obviously, it didn’t go well. There are two issues at play here. The first is about being appropriate. Know your audience and community, know the blog that you’re writing for, know the product or service or person that you’re selling. If you don’t take the time to listen and get your context, you’re liable to send a wildly ill-suited message – the equivalent of showing up at the school dance in a tux when everyone else is wearing jeans.
The second issue is that Charlotte gave specific directions to the florist on what sort of flower arrangement she was looking for, she trusted they would listen and get it right…and they failed. As bloggers, we have to trust writers that we hire to create copy for us, guest bloggers whose content we rely on to feed our pipeline and other bloggers who promote us. These people bring their own personalities and agendas. Sometimes their arrangement is a match, sometimes it’s a disaster. When you depend on others, calculate the risk.
“Monogamy is fabulous. It gives you a deep and profound connection with another human being, and you don’t have to shave your legs as much.”
Monogamy is like the ultimate in stickiness. It happens when you find someone who is so irresistible that you want to be with them and only them all the time. We all want a blog that sticks. One that people read religiously every day, one that they love so much they tell all of their friends on Twitter and Facebook and Stumble and Digg about us. And when our content and design and value is as sticky as can be, what we really have is a deep and profound connection with our readers. We have trust, we have two-way communication – and hopefully resulting sales.
The end of this quote deserves a closer look. If you stop shaving your blog’s legs – if you let the content get stale, get lazy with your tags or compromise the UI, you’ll likely weaken these relationship bonds. Your value will go down in your readers’ eyes. Sure, no one will bat an eye if you forget to shave a few times, or even if you grow a little stubble…but, if I were you, I wouldn’t let the hair get so long you can braid it.
And those, are words to live and blog by…
Want more Sex and the City? Me too, always. Check out Jeff Sexton’s Copyblogger take on the four temperaments, the SATC ladies and what they tell us about headlines and titles. Good stuff!
Reader Comments (63)
Chanda | BizDharma.com says
Nice way od presentation Julie. The best thing to say the least out here at copyblogger is imaging weird characters as bloggers 🙂
Liked your coulda, woulda… advice
Shannon O | Confessions of a Loving Wife says
I love this post! The Sex and the City guide to blogging, to me this is like the marriage of chocolate and peanut butter-perfection. As I’m a SATC girl myself and can site the episode that each one of these quotes came from.
Thanks for writing a ‘How To’ post about blogging that speaks my language and is so very entertaining to read… This is worth a stumble, digg and a tweet.
Dan Cosgrove says
Kato the wonder dog?
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve never watched Sex and the City (while the post was helpful), but that quote was the kind of thing that makes a poor little martial artist cringe.
Kato was Bruce Lee, not a dog.
Good points, especially about not getting complacent once you’ve got readers. I’m thinking ‘spice up your love life’ articles could work for blogging now.
King Sidharth says
I wouldn’t sell my soul to a demon to get to know about writing great copy. So Briak Clark did and got 100k readers and rest of us follow. You know, happens everywhere – it’s about not reinventing the wheel.
This was great post btw. and thanks for horrifying about the idea of writing for print media. I mean wait for hours before you see your content live and edited? Scary!
You spoke to all of it, you revealed the sweaty armpits of bloggers. Cool yo!
Your Classic Teen Entrepreneur.
Julie Roads says
Oh no, Dan! I so apologize. I just figured this out – in that episode of SATC, Aidan (Carrie’s boyfriend) refers to Kato – and then says that his dog is his Kato. I thought that meant that Kato was the Green Hornet’s Dog.
Thank you for setting me straight here. My sincerest ‘sorry’ to Bruce Lee, martial arts enthusiasts and comic book folk EVERYWHERE.
(Brian – can we take out the ‘wonder dog’ bit? Thanks!)
Natalie MacNeil says
Great post Julie! Loved your line, “Success makes us pretty. When you feel good, when things are going well, it shows.” This is so true.
And maybe Carrie will be ‘Carrie the Blogger’ in the new movie instead of Carrie the columnist or Carrie the author!
Avil Beckford says
I loved this blog post, the analogy was perfect. I have only watched one episode of Sex and the City, but your comparisons brought your writing to life. You touched on issues that are important such as operating with integrity. And I do agree that blogs give a platform to the underdog. By the way, I am always rooting for the underdog.
You are absolutely correct when you say the only way to get followers is to have followers and that ties into retweets. People like to feel like they are a part of the in crowd. I look at a blog post and I see over 100 retweets and I wonder why, because there was nothing special about the post. But the reality is that the blogger has many followers and that gives him authority.
Thanks again! Avil Beckford @avilbeckford
Brian Clark says
If you consider working your ass off the same as selling your soul to a demon, then yeah, that’s exactly how it happened.
Mike Grant says
Almost like Dan, the guy who posted before me, I haven’t watched SATC. Well, not much. Seems nearly every time I watch Murphy’s Law comes into play and the same episode is showing!
However, you are spot on regarding copy being stale (unshaven legs), knowing your product (flowers), writing great content (coulda!), and looking the other way (sex and red flags) that I need to start ‘netflixing’ (is that a verb?) SATC and see what all the hubbub is about.
Thanks for taking what we do (copy writing, blogging, etc…) and placing a pop-culture twist to it!
King Sidharth says
Yea, that’s just my style of writing copy … you know learned from you.. otherwise you’d not have replied. LOL
C’mon now I have right to say the classic thing ‘He was lucky’ I know he wasn’t coz I know he paid a price and that I called selling your soul to demon. (in non-traditional way)
Let’s be Awesome
Farrah J Phoenix says
Great post! What a fun way to talk about blogging! That’s how it should be! So, thank you.
I love your point about knowing your audience:
“If you don’t take the time to listen and get your context, you’re liable to send a wildly ill-suited message – the equivalent of showing up at the school dance in a tux when everyone else is wearing jeans.”
This may be the point I struggle with the most. It’s not that I don’t know what I want to write about, but it’s packaging it in an appropriate manner to attract the readers I want that I sometimes struggle with (hope that makes sense).
Either way, thank you for the post. I look forward to reading more!
Archan Mehta says
You have mentioned one of my favorite TV shows.
I enjoy reading your posts. You always have an interesting angle, which is why I have become a regular reader. Please keep on writing and sharing your ideas.
In general, people are attracted to fame and fortune. Translation: your popularity does matter and people will flock to you just because. Look at the celebrity cult, and you know what I mean? Is Paris Hilton really deserving of all the media buzz? Did Paris win the Nobel Prize? No.
But if you are smart–and know how to use PR to your advantage–you can be suddenly rich and handsome and the chicks will flock to your nest like bees to honey. And that’s the way the cookie crumbles, folks. Cheerio.
Shane Arthur says
Ho, Hum. Leave it up to a “teenager” labeling himself a “king” who ever so intelligently is “leading the edge of thought” to prove to 100,000 people what an uninformed court jester he really is.
Get to know your host before you spit in his face. Don’t they teach that in 5th grade anymore?
Paige Jeffrey says
Okay, so I don’t watch enough TV to have ever been a SATC fan, but I am a woman, and this is totally framed in a way that I could pick up on. 😉
A lot of really great points – especially about the ‘shaved legs’. The funny part is that everyone woman who reads it will not only take in the advice and understand it completely, but will likely be aware of their legs for the rest of the day. “…right, where did I put my razor again?”
J.D. Meier says
People are followers and success makes us pretty — beautiful, pithy and precise.
Brian Clark says
Shane, it’s okay… I think King was just making a joke.
It’s so funny I was just thinking about this same thing last night. I was thinking my blog needed a subject and a way to write like that of sex and the city. How strange is that?
ooh, how awesome SATC and blogging … my two favourite things! Loved this…
Julie Roads says
Oh, Lynda – I don’t think that’s strange at all. Seriously – throw any life situation or quandary at me – I will find you the answer thru SATC.
It’s why this show was so successful – so much of it rang true for so many of us. Not just the content, but also the way it was done. And for us writers, it was just a series of ‘AH HA!’ moments…one after the other.
King Sidharth says
I was. Never meant to offend anyone. Sorry if I did.
Shane Arthur says
@Brian. Sorry, I was watching an episode of the Gong Show and got carried away!
@Julie Another fantastic write. Love your style.
It takes a date to get a date, and traffic to get traffic…why do I even bother to blog anymore?
Leon Noone says
Years ago, I spent almost all my spare time running a basketball cub in an extremely remote Australian outback town.
When people would volunteer to coach our kids’ teams,I’d insist on two things: teach the fundamentals well and make sure they have fun.
Thanks for reminding me that we learn best and easiest when our teacher makes us smile.
I never watched SATC either. What have i missed!
Julie Roads says
Leon! I love that…thank you – excellent lesson! And – you’ve missed a lot – but it’s all on DVD!
Dan Cosgrove | Martial Media says
Julie – Heh, no worries. I can see why anyone would be more familiar with a current show that’s crazy popular than a show about a super hero that aired like 50 years ago ;).
While I’ve gone out of my way to find anything and everything Bruce Lee, I can forgive anyone that lives like one of those ‘normal people’.
Digging your website by the way, I really like the typewriter keys as nav buttons. Uber cool.
Julie Roads says
Phew…I’ve been worried! Thankfully, Brian fixed the gaff – thanks, B!
And thanks on the site! Actually thinking about revamping it…
Jewelry Secrets says
Great. Now everytime I see an advertisement for Sex and the City I’m going to be thinking about a Dog, Copyblogger and Disco. I like the relation though. I think we have a video here… Makes me wave my own red flags! 🙂
Great post Julie. I like how you said that anybody can be a blogger and just because there are a million different ideas out there that have been used, there is only one you. Nice! And also good job with putting in a Sex and the City spin into this article (as well as using references the Batman and the Green Hornet). 🙂
Randy Duermyer says
Awesome post – the best I’ve read today, and maybe all time (???). Definitely a favorite. Thanks so much!
Morten Juul says
To comment on your last point, Copyblogger could stop shaving it’s legs today and people would still come running for the next many months, because of it’s popularity.
Just right now, I thought I’d read one great blog post before heading to bed, so I came here… and was immensely satisfied with your effort. However, if I came here and all I found was “unshaven legs”, I might go somewhere else tomorrow. Bloggers must always remember that they may have a “another date”, but if they show up unshaven, they might not get a third… and that’s whether you have a “Kato” or not.
Peeps, if you read this, do yourself a favor and check out Julie’s blog too. She has something to say worth listening to.
The “Coulda, woulda, shoulda…” excuse is simply that – an excuse. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just make a better wheel.
Or, you know, actually write a blog that helps people solve a problem or learn something.
EUREKA! I’m on to something – I gotta go . . . Great post.
Love this post. So many people spend their time explaining why their blog is gonna be great once they (fill in the blank), when all they really need is content, content, content from their own brains on a regular basis.
Everyone has their take, their voice, their thing. Make the most of it!
This was such a fun read. And perfect for someone like me who is still a newbie in the blogosphere. I think I need to rent some SATC once the Olympics are over.
You have such a fresh & creative writing style. I loved this post — especially the part about all the letters in the alphabet have been used!
Very clever tying Carrie and folks to blogging community. I do miss the reruns of SATC (I killed my TV a year ago..gives me more time for blogging).
Σχολή Χορού says
I hate Sex and the City, watched it three four times from curiosity and i simply think its pure, character corrupting, rubbish.
This is the greatest post ever. I love the analogy, you are 100% correct with you comparison. And yes I agree Carrie Bradshaw would have been a blogger. I love the ladies on Sex in the City, and Copyblogger is just as classy.
Oh no you di-in’t! You didn’t just manage to write a blog post about Sex and the City AND link it to blogging and copywriting!!
Oh wait you did…
Love the post!
Michal Matovcik says
How do you get traffic to your blog? With traffic. How do you get guest posting opportunities? By guest posting. How do you get more followers on Twitter? By having a lot of followers on Twitter. How do you get a lot of inbound links to your blog? By having quality inbound links that tell more and more people about your blog.
HOw simple and how unachievable for most of us 🙂 great article. I can tell you that I m also judging blogs when I see the amount of followers…if its more than 100k then I take time to digest into it. Its lot easier to find them also than smaller ones
“You are unique. Sure, a zillion people are writing about SEO or hats or astrology. But there is only one you – with your experiences and thoughts and context – writing about it.”
You are right, when I started blogging, I was not sure that it will gain an handsome traffic, but now I believe that writing and writing, don’t be shy about topic, will give a boost to your blog.
thanks for this inspiring post.
Spot on with every point.
You really struck a chord for me in the section on “rationalizing red flags.” I like to think I don’t compromise ethics: Hey, I did turn down that well-paying pesticide client, yay for environmentally responsible me.
But then you delineate a more insidious red flag, “agreeing to write really bad copy.” I’m guilty of writing corporate-centric copy when clients insist–and attempts to educate them proved futile.
When the relationship is bad, you can’t continue sleeping with someone and rationalizing it. It’s time to end the dangerous liaison and make room for happier, more compatible relationships.
Julie Roads says
Hani!!! That was a dead-on impersonation of Carrie! (Episode reference: when the girls go to L.A. and Samantha gets a fake Fendi out of some dude’s trunk….).
Thanks everyone for your fantastical comments…so much SATC love!
Joshua Black -Underdog Millionaire says
Not only was this a good post, but there is a bigger lesson here when you pull back the curtain.
Just look at Julie’s use of juxtaposing something from pop culture with a useful blogging lesson.
If she were to just come out and tell us NOT to take our customers for granted, not to produce stale content, and not to be deceitful then it could have come across as a publice service message. However, when you create a post (or copy) in the eyes of something that the customer is already familiar with, then a much bigger picture is painted.
Now we are all going to think about shaving legs as a placeholder and vidi reminder of creating fresh content instead of just hearing “do the right thing.” Great work.
The Underdog Millionaire
You amazing me with this article, Sex and the City was not in the tv series, but to penetrate the blog. Really creative!
Ana from YourNetBiz Training says
I love, love, love your idea for the post -so original and fresh. I also loved how you carried the theme through the entire post as opposed to explaining your great title in the beginning of the post and then writing about something unrelated!
Blogging Tips says
Really ! Blogs are best when compared to news columns.I like your advices.
AV Mechanic says
Print media is definitely on the way out. Interesting article, thanks for writing it.
Gianpaolo Pietri | The Optimalists says
fresh … i like the analogy of Carrie. Really puts the very good points you make into perspective.
Samantha Milner says
I love the way carrie writes, the voice over is so fresh and to the point.
I would have loved her to have been a blogger and if we have a good look around the fashion blogs i am sure we can find our own real life carrie!!!
Bamboo Forest - PunIntended says
Really impressed by this blog post. Really good stuff.
It pays to look at pop culture!
Cosmopolitan is one of the most successful magazines in the world.
Smart marketers read Cosmopolitan to learn how to write compelling copy.
Most people read Cosmopolitan because they think they’re actually going to get what the copy on Cosmo promises.
Julie that show is quit a hoot but I was think more sex in the country. It is much different but funny all the same. I have quit a few stories as I have been single most of my adult life.
Finally getting married after 40 years and seems to me I have had some sex in the city episodes of my very own. How fun who it be to write that all down.
Wonder if that would sell make up?
Marc Winitz says
You had me at “Lover of butter”…however a delicious post Julie.
Ari Lukes says
I was a huge SATC fan when it was airing. The movie didn’t grab me as much as I wanted it too, but it did give me a nice dose of what I had been missing.
You are spot on when you say Carrie would have been a blogger, and I would add that she would be tweeting nearly 24 hours a day from her crackberry.
All of those quotes still ring true today even those SATC is over 10 years old. Technology may have moved on, but life lessons of women in a big city remain the same.
Samantha Harlow says
This is a great post- entertaining and informative. Thanks for incorporating a show I love into the information I was looking for.
Sena Fontane says
I was always a massive SATC fan, there was never any harm in unrealistic expectations 😉 You’ve made some sound points
Dear Ms. Roads,
Hello, my name is Akiho Miyoshi. I am a student at Kobe college in Japan,
and I have recently started a blog about SEX AND THE CITY. For my next
blog, I’m writing about the witty remarks of drama SEX AND THE CITY . I
can see from your website that you are an expert about my question. I
know you must be busy but if you give me your opinion or comment, I
would be grateful for your assistance.
In your opinion, what is the best witty remarks of SEX AND THE CITY?
Thank you very much for your time and attention to my question. I hope
to hear from you at your convenience.
Love your post and your writing style! Thanks for a good read 😉
Smart, cleverly-written post. Nice work.
This article's comments are closed.