After only a few months at this blogging thing, I think that I have found something that I can truly say I have incredible perspective on: being a terrible blogger.
The blogging world has a set of values and ideas. I am certain that this phenomenon will make for the kind of stuff that fine academic institutions will soon create use to create literature and sociological theories. It sounds like the kind of class I would have taken, ENG 562: Blog Theory.
Here are some of the blogging communication mistakes I have made.
THE LIST (of unwritten miscues…well, I guess they ARE written now, but, nevermind)
- Don’t post regularly. If you are not posting at least a couple of times a week, then don’t be shocked when nobody is regularly commenting or digging or stumbling or whatever stroke of validation you were searching for. In blog world, as well as the world outside, consistency matters over being clever…much to my chagrin.
- Being a great writer is better than being a good reader/listener. Blogging is to offer something to the world, so it needs to be unique. You begin this process by looking at and imitating other’s blogs. Find some to whom you can relate. Write down what you like. Start doing those things. If you are even mediocre, you are ahead of the game.
- Fall victim to overt ploys at traffic-nabbing. Being Stumbled Upon can be great, but that is the ADHD of web browsing. Stumblers and traffic seekers are sometimes like Homer Simpson when he was saw a military-grade deep fryer that could flash-fry a buffalo in 40 seconds, he whined, “Forty seconds? But I want it now!” Nothing is more important than consistent, relevant content. There is no secret traffic pill/search engine optimization pill. Anybody who says differently is selling you something.
- Join everything. It is not required nor is it an advantage to rocketship your name and presence into every single social networking site out there. You need something that you are going to add to each place. Also, it is not a requirement that you add every widget in the world to the side of your blog (or Facebook page or LinkedIn profile). Visit Adam Kreitman’s blog for more on how to not get sucked into the shiny, sexy, overwhelming vortex of social networking.
- Be afraid to screw up. I only learned these rules by breaking them and not by following advice. So, I really should have taken my own advice, not posted these, which allowed you to figure these out for yourself. However, these are merely suggestions, so, if you think I am off my blogging chair, then try it for yourself. If what I said doesn’t apply to you, please let me know how you did it. I need to learn.
- Feel the need to create the deepest most Earth-shattering idea before you start writing. I do this a lot. Ask yourself some tough questions…what types of readers do I want? What would they need? What is my goal in communication? Usually, they don’t need your ability to sound incredibly clever. They need something real they can sink their teeth into and implement.
- Don’t worry about your readers. While “good content” means relevant, it doesn’t mean clinical or verbose. Be terse. Be entertaining. Be authentic.
Looking over the list, it strikes me that these mistakes apply to the world outside of blogging. Being consistent, authentic and truly seeking to serve another person is just a more effective way to live and communicate. It took screwing up at blogging for this guy to get that.
ANSWER ME THIS
Here is my question…if you had to teach the ENG 562: Blog Theory course who would you use as your examples? How would you structure the course? What is unique to blogging language?
Also, please let me know if I missed anything important. I am still new, you know, with much to learn.
The person with the best reply gets to have a FREE lunch…note, that I am not specifying where the lunch would take place.
- Jeremy Nulik, Creative Energy Officer, St. Louis Small Business Monthly
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