Don’t Just Blog: Craft Useful Blogs with Substance
Regularly businesses, organizations, and individuals are told, “You have to blog,” “Every ________ should have a blog,” and “Blogging will increase your profile and drive people to your site!” However, not all blogs are equal. Blogs that stand out as the best in their field are
1. substantial—Blogs that stand out offer their targeted readers something worth saying and worth reading. Instead of publishing repurposed fluff or secondhand news, blogs that stand out present fresh, authoritative, meaty content. They have credibility and—like a good meal—you can sink your teeth into them. This doesn’t mean that they are long; they are, however, worthy of whatever time it takes to read them.
2. useful—Blogs that stand out target a specific user/reader and what that person needs or wants. Each blog is crafted for that reader and to engage that person in a specific way. Thus, the blog is user-friendly and easy to use.
3. crafted—Blogs that stand out are crafted with care, with communications expertise, and for the context of online reading, which means they are clear and concise.
– Blogs are public, published, and scrutinized: every carefully crafted blog that is polished and letter-perfect will improve your public image, but every rushed, sloppy, or aimless blog will lower your blogging worth.
– While some online communicators think that the online context and no printing costs give them license to ramble, in fact, there’s even more reason than usual to cut to the chase in a blog. Online readers skim and reading tends to be harder. Wasting readers’ time with untrimmed prose, fuzzy thinking or fuzzy expression, or poor organization will only annoy them. Earn and use well every second of your blog readers’ time.
For more about blogs and great online content, here are some good resources:
- from A List Apart, A Checklist for Content Work
- from A List Apart, How to Write a Better Weblog (from 2002 but still very fresh)
- the Contented.com blog