Bloggers who write and approach their blog posts the way they write anything else, are sure to be disappointed. Why? Because they aren't using their blog the way it's meant to be used-- as a platform for something greater. For thought leadership, great offererings, the delicate art of persuasion, or an exercise in innovative graphics. Gingerly approaching blogging as simply "writing online" may be fine if you just want to get your feet wet, or get a feel for writing and publishing regularly, or learn the toolkit for common blogging platforms like Wordpress. But the real bloggers out there who have a following and online authority--bloggers like Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, James Altucher, and Copyblogger, for example, all have distinct qualities in their blogging that set them apart:
1. They know the value of a strong headline
2. They innovate interesting graphics
3. They tell a good story
4. They break up their copy with formatting and subheads so it's easily scannable online
5. They address a problem
6. They offer transparency about their lives
7. They make persuasive and interesting offers
8. They ask enough of the right questions to get us thinking and commenting
9. They are early responders in their fields
10. They have emotional intelligence
11. They understand and optimize their blog's connection to their business and their social marketing
12. They have additional publishing platforms, such as enewsletters, and realize their blog is one of the main ways to get subscribers to their all important e-list
13. They're not afraid to look forward in time, or back--with purpose
14. They tell their story well, and more than once
15. They embrace multimedia, either to express their own ideas or share those of others
16. They edit and/or rewrite often, without it being about ego
17. They appreciate the value of details and strategy
18. They understand deadlines are rather urgent about things. They aren't going to take 2 weeks to write a post that needs to be done today
19. They understand and care about their audience
20. They acknowledge their peers, colleagues, heroes, and the world around them
As someone who has blogged for years and plans to continue, I have challenged myself to embrace these blogging "truisms" going forward, and not fall into writing, but take full advantage of what this medium has to offer. I challenge you to do the same.
What say you? How do you think blogging differs from writing? Have you optimized your blog all you can for your strategy and purpose?
And One More Thing...Spock Remembered
I write this on a weekend when the world mourns the loss of Mr. Spock--Leonard Nimoy. Among all the thousands of tributes published between Friday and Sunday, The New Yorker "Postscript" by Joshua Rothman speaks to me the most, combining all the nuances of Nimoy's life acutely observed, with a personal touch that made it that much more resonant. Rothman cleverly captures the "silly seriousness" that Spock's character personified, as part of what made him so memorable. Rothman writes:
"Actors are sometimes imagined as shapeshifters, but, with a few exceptions, Nimoy didn’t really shift. He was given one way of seeming—measured, cerebral, serious, dignified, wry, and slightly naughty—and he showed, over a long career, how rewarding that combination could be. He proved the value of accepting, cultivating, and enjoying one’s own nature. May we all do the same with the selves that we have."
So that brings me to one more tip for my list--something I'm going to think about myself quite a bit going forward: blogging is about being yourself, but being larger then that, and taking the risk of "silly seriousness" almost every day.
Thank goodness for LLAP (Live Long and Prosper.) Let's also embrace BLAP-Blog Long and Prosper.