Topping the rarely watched but highly acclaimed list of television shows, The Wire is the titan of teleplay. The now defunct HBO series about Baltimore’s drug underworld showcases the best aspects of copywriting. Today we’ll focus on a series character whose intelligence and style hold lessons for any blogger trying to elevate their few weekly posts to a full-fledged writing business.
Of all the well-developed and intimately fascinating Wire characters – and there are many – only one comes with a Presidential seal of magnetism – Omar Little. (President Obama said Omar was his favorite Wire character.) So what can a fictional stick-up man teach bloggers about building your business?
1. Develop Your Unique Brand and Style
Omar Little stuck-up drug dealers in Baltimore. He always wore a black trench coat, carried a shot gun and had a large scar on his face. And he always whistled “The Farmer in the Dell,” just before he ripped off some low-life gangster. In other words, Omar had a brand.
Being so well-recognized isn’t great for a stick-up man, but it’s wonderful for a blogger trying to stick out from the crowd. A consistent word-picture you can portray helps potential, past and present clients remember you and what you do. Think Nike swoosh or McDonald’s arches. If you’re blogging as a business you need a brand, which the American Marketing Association defines as a, “name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies to one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”
Your website’s color scheme, your blog’s tone, whether you use wacky music or a serious tagline isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. It’s about creating an impression in the minds of people long after they’ve moved on to the next blinking light. You may have been writing your blog for a while without any thought to branding. But if you want your blogging business to grow you need to create an impression in the marketplace. What makes you different? What makes you unique? Why should advertisers pick your blog? Answer these questions and start building your brand.
2. Challenge Yourself
There’s a point in the series when Omar gets a bit disgusted and how easy it is to rip off one particular drug crew. So he decides to rob the new kingpin. His colleagues advise against it to wit he remarks, “How do you expect to run with the wolves come night when you spend all day sporting with the puppies?” How do expect to grow as a blogger if you write at the same level you did when you first started? Are you the only one writing? Why not have guest posts and take your turn at editing? Do you write only once a week? Why not commit to writing for 30 consecutive days? Whatever level you have reached as a blogger why not push the envelope a bit and see where that takes you.
3. Be Aggressive in Your Market Research
Ripping off drug dealers isn’t exactly a long-haul profession. You’re basically messing with the meal ticket for ruthless killers. Yet Omar managed to evade his inevitable death longer than most of the guys he ripped off? How? The same way you can make your blog more popular with your clients – knowing your target market. Omar not only knew who the money men were in the drug crew, he knew their girlfriends, their mommas, where they stayed at night, and who they stayed with. So, who is your blogging audience and how meticulous is your research on them? It’s not just enough to say, “My audience is a typical 47-year-old, white female with a post-secondary school degree.” Who the heck describes themselves that way? People think of themselves as titles more than labels. Mother, single, triathlete, runner, activist, pawn shop owner. What are the titles of your audience and how are you appealing to them?
There are many lessons you can learn from Omar and his creators. But one of the most enduring is this one: “The game’s out there and it’s play or get played.”