I have discussed this and read about this for quite a while now, and why not…blogs are everywhere. While there are numerous resources and opinions on how to write that perfect blog post, all you have to do is use your favorite search engine and type in “how to write a blog post” you will find over 140m hits via Google and over 41m hits via Bing (interesting exercise in search engine technology). For the most part, I will admit I have read a handful of articles from the search, the themes are the same:
- Be passionate
- Keep it under 250 words
- Use keywords
- Make sure they are easy to scan
- Proof read
- Use humor
- and so forth
Okay so do I have some radical new way of thinking about posts? I should since some would recommend to be controversial, well doesn’t that always attract an audience? Look at TMZ….of course bloggers usually write a blog so it gets read. News flash! However I think that blogs need to be viewed more than just attention grabbing pieces of cyber space. If you feel comfortable being controversial, than by all means do so…as long as you are also prepared to handle the potential consequences. In the end, you should blog because the topic you are writing about is something that is of interest to you and that will keep your attention (meaning writing) for more than 6 posts! With that in mind here are my guidelines for being a good blogger and by extension writing good posts:
- Write with Passion. I think this is a universal characteristic linked with good blog posts – don’t forget a blog is personal it is about you and your interests. Let that show. Even if you are writing a corporate blog, you need to allow your interest for the topic show. If you do not feel even a drop of passion about the topic, maybe you should not blog about it.
- Be yourself. How is this different than writing with passion? It is more to do with style of the writing and the blog. If you are not naturally gifted in stand up comedy, don’t try to be funny in your posts. If you are naturally analytical and like talking numbers…do so! Do not feel like you have to try and be funny or only write posts that are 250 words or less. I read a blog on the business of footy (soccer) that clearly does not adhere to the less than 250 words rule! Also, do not try to pretend you are persona you are not, it will be quickly sniffed out in cyberspace.
- Keep at it. No one said writing a blog was easy! Fun yes, easy no. But keep at it, a large number of blogs go dark shortly after being created. No surprise. Why? With the array of free platforms (Blogger, WordPress, MovableType etc) it is incredibly easy to start a blog, play with all the cool widgets, add some custom pictures (like this blog), write a post or two (usually blogs are started because someone has a great idea for a post or two but does not realize it takes more than that to sustain) and then reality hits. You hope that your first few posts are so intelligent and thought provoking that you get listed in Technorati’s top 100 and you become rich and famous (well maybe just the latter). However you realize that no one other than your parents and your best friend bother to read your posts…no one other than spammers put any comments on your blog. Ugh this stinks. And you stop writing. Well don’t. If you followed step 1 and 2 the rest will come. Keep writing. Write longer posts, write short posts, comment on other blogs, link to other 3rd party material that relates to your topic, tell more friends about the blog, tweet about it, post it to facebook, linkedin, naymz, plaxo, myspace…as you get a rhythm, a style and a comfort with putting out posts you will also get an audience.
- Be professional. Even if you are writing about an irreverent topic make sure you are respectful of your readers, always try to reply to comments on a timely basis, respond in a respectful way and just be nice. You might want to post about controversial topics, by all means, but always debate commentators with respect. While it is frustrating at times to get “anonymous” comments that might flame you, stay above the fray. Respond. But do not get drawn into an online flaming contest. It is your blog after all, treat it properly. Finally always proof read your posts…I realize I do not always practice what I preach, but it is important to make a strong effort to write properly!
- Have fun. You are writing a blog to express yourself, so make sure you have fun with it. Even if it is a corporate blog you should look at it as a channel of expression and a means to communicate with an audience in a more casual way…so enjoy it. If and when it gets to not be fun, think about having a guest(s) writers, take some time off from writing. This is especially true when it comes to corporate blogging. For your personal blog, ask a friend to write a post, for a corporate blog look outside – ask a client to write a post, see if a business partner would be interested or just ask someone from a completely different part of the business to write something. You don’t know unless you ask. You will see if you have someone else write a few posts it will revitalize you and make it fun again…at least I hope.
I think other posts that have been written about good blogging all have things we can learn from, most have the same pieces of advice. Take those and combine them with what I wrote above and I think you will have a long and fruitful career as a blogger!