3 Tips to Help Make You a Better Blogger
“Oh, I read it on some blog” does not have the same authority as “I read it in the Washington Post.” How do some forms of media get taken as truth while others have little to no credibility at all? In its beginning, many journalists considered blogging a joke (until they started doing it themselves). But no matter how much they despised it, they had to admit one thing, it changed journalism forever. Suddenly your fact checkers went from a handful to literally the world’s population; and not only could they figure out if you got it wrong, they had a platform to tell the world exactly how you messed up. Annoying right? You bloggers are just playing newspaper.
Writing is an art of consolidation and precision and one of my favorite things in the world, but it is not above credibility and accountability. The written word is powerful. It can start wars, heal atrocities and open eyes. My favorite anecdote that displays this is about Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Allegedly (in case some blogger proves to me that this isn’t historically accurate) upon meeting her, the president said, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great big war.”
But I digress; so what does this have to do with you as a blogger? The fact is that as a blogger you have the power of words at your fingertips, you have access to all the words that the New York Times does, what you don’t have is an audience that takes you seriously. Bloggers have to take ownership of that and excuse me, but stop writing inferior material. Just because you aren’t publishing under a masthead doesn’t give you the right to profusely create typos, misconstrue facts and take 3 paragraphs to actually get to the point….
The Point: If bloggers of all types: personal, corporate, B2B, B2C want to be taken seriously as writers, start taking yourselves seriously. Start checking out facts and stop orating. Write as if someone is going to read it; if you do then they actually might. Blogs are not for propaganda, Emos or ranters. As you blog keep these 3 things in mind.
1. Get out of your head. Your mother is not your audience for your blog. You want to appeal to your mass audience. So get out of your head and into the heads of your readers. Make arguments that make sense to someone besides you. I struggle with this consistently. I think I am Herman Melville and that I can talk about waves for 8 pages and that everyone is still going to consider me a classic writer, one to be emulated. As much as I love setting the scene, people’s attentions spans are unfortunately short and they require a lot of stimuli. Be who you are and develop a voice, but don’t do it at the cost of your readership.
2. Get another pair of eyes. Whenever I see a typo in my favorite paper, The New York Times, it makes me so happy. Evil, I know but I just love when my heroes have flaws, it makes them so much more relatable. A world renowned paper like the Times has layers and layers of edits that their articles have the privilege of going through and some errors still slip by. Bloggers have an editor too, it’s called Spelling & Grammar check. We are mostly on our own, but the most powerful thing that you can do as a blogger is to get another pair of eyes and opinion on your article before you send it out into the world.
3. Get some facts in there. Everyone has an opinion and they are entitled to it. Thomas Jefferson said, “Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.” (I am sure he meant every woman too, he just was trying to be terse.) So fly your freak flag high and have an unapologetic opinion, you have a right to be read. But in order to be taken seriously, your opinion must originate from some type of fact or very relatable experience. Be the expert on whatever you are writing about, and show your audience that they can and should believe you.
A quote by Daniel B. Beaulieu reads, “The casual conversational tone of a blog is what makes it particularly dangerous.” As bloggers, we must always remember that we are dangerous and you know what comes with great power.
Bloggers aren’t playing newspaper. We aren’t a newspaper and that means that we don’t owe anything to anyone, not an advertiser and not a network. We are the rogue writers. So let us take ownership of that and do our readers justice and capture all the news that is fit to blog.
Quinn Dawson is a content writer for Solutions 8, Arizona’s fastest growing internet marketing and web designer Phoenix firm offering effective social media, content creation and much, much more..