Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blogging like a Human in a crowded 'sphere

So you're ready to shake up the social medias. You're ready to have some authentic conversations. You dream of becoming a Technorati star, an influencer.

But how will you separate yourself as a blogger from the rest of the sphere? Why read you and not one of the other kazillion blogs out there?

In the end, it comes down to substance of course, but just as equally... s t y l e. How you write is probably what will distinguish you immediately from the pack, especially when you're discussing topics a lot of people are covering. This gets back to the Cluetrain we were just talking about: sounding like a thinking human, not like an echo.

Here are ProBlogger's 5 tips to help you stand out. Some good advice there - I especially like #5.

Building on those, here's my suggestions from a person who follows a variety of blogs spanning various topics:

  1. Have a sense of humor. I think even a formal blog could do with a little humor. To me, humor is also memorable, which will make me remember you/your post.
  2. Brevity. I'd rather write a shorter, more concise post (depending on the topic) than a dissertation. Unless I'm really interested in the topic of the post I'm more likely to skim a longer-than-your-usual post.
  3. Break it up. I love lists. When it comes to blogs, I like short paragraphs because breaking down the text makes it easier to digest. A big block of text is a turn-off - my eyes don't like it and I'm much more likely to lose interest faster.
  4. Pictures with Purpose. Pictures rule, but only if it actually has something to do with what you're talking about. Pictures are a great way to grab attention, break up the flow of text and visually demonstrate an idea. However, pictures are annoying when 1) there are too many in a post and I have to keep scrolling past them and 2) they are random stock photos that don't really add anything to my understanding of your topic. If you don't often have pictures, try popping one in when applicable, but don't feel pressured to spam your posts with unimportant pics.
  5. Bold is Beautiful. I like when bloggers do this, but like any suggestion, it can be abused and misused. I like the idea of bolding your key ideas/main idea. Think in this way: "if the reader only looks at my post for 5 seconds - what do they absolutely need to read?" But bold with caution, don't go crazy. Perhaps even try color, but that can be misleading because people might think it's a link.

What annoys you about the way bloggers write/format posts? What do you really like that you try to emulate?


Chris Norton (Wolfstar) said...

Great post and useful advice for those who are looking to get themselves noticed in the blogosphere.

Chris Norton (Wolfstar) said...

Great post and useful advice for those who are looking to get themselves noticed in the blogosphere.

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