Read to Write: The Social Approach to Blogging
This is a guest post by Enzo F. Cesario. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Many people who think they should get into blogging make a very fundamental mistake when they assume their blog must be about themselves. Some people are very interesting to read about, and it probably isn’t hard to name a blog or two we follow in order to catch up on a particular person’s doings and goings.
But really, and I’m trying to say this with love, how many people are actually all that interesting on their own?
However, ideas are always worth blogging about. People get riled up about ideas, be they the idea of how to properly handle the economic crisis, which of an author’s books was his very best offering or even something as simple as the wet-ribs/dry-ribs rivalry in the BBQ community. (I’m serious about that last one: Ask any BBQ enthusiast about the way to do it, and be prepared for an answer as adamant as an article of faith.)
When it comes to blog promotion, harnessing this tendency is a great way to promote your blog.
Now, first of all, your blog must have a theme and regular content of its own. Simply starting a blog account just so you can have arguments with people isn’t good blogging – it’s antisocial behavior and, frankly, a possible sign of a personality disorder. Might want to get that checked out.
No, what you need to do is a pick a theme that interests you, preferably one you’re fairly knowledgeable about already. Then work on providing good content in line with the suggestions provided by any reputable blogging advice site. Update regularly, frequently and with good material.
To get this good material, read. Read other blogs, preferably within your chosen theme, of course. Choose people whose work you agree with, some whose work you disagree with and, for flavor, a few people who are back and forth on your radar – neither just right nor entirely wrong all the time.
Reading will give you insight into what’s going on with your chosen topic. Being well read will give you more to say to your own readers, because you’ll be well-informed and up-to-date on all the hot topics. Also, participate in the commenter communities of these blogs, establishing a reputation for yourself as someone who provides insightful commentary and polite participation. This will also provide you that credibility boost you’re seeking. But moreover, it will give you something fun you can argue about.
When you find a post you absolutely do not agree with, and simply cannot let it stand unchallenged, link to it from your blog. Write up a rebuttal, whether as a single blog or a point-by-point evaluation of the other blogger’s post, and let your readers know where you stand. Abide by the rules of civilized behavior, but don’t hold back on just how you feel about the matter.
In the best of cases, this can lead to a spirited back and forth between your blog and your “rival’s” as the two of you write to rebut each other’s points. This is often entertaining for the audiences of both blogs, as it allows them to see the real intellectual chops of the writers in question. The average reader of any blog is probably in the “moderate” category I mentioned earlier, so these sorts of arguments also serve as a way for the bloggers to gain new readers.
This doesn’t always happen, of course. Sometimes the challenge goes unanswered, or only lasts a few posts and then dissipates. Even in these cases, this is still a worthwhile habit to get into. If you don’t stir up the next great Internet debate, constantly reading and referencing blogs outside your own will connect you to the greater blogging community and help keep you grounded in the goings-on that you’re set to talk about.
More than anything, reading extensively and being familiar with the things other people are saying in your field is the best way to combat writer’s block. It’s hard to say that you have nothing you can write about when there’s bound to be someone out there saying something so incredibly dunderheaded that it simply demands the best chastisement you can dash out in half an hour of work.
So, if you’re having any sort of writer’s block or hesitation over a topic, don’t open up your blog first thing. Instead, start making the rounds of your favorite blogs, enemy and friend alike, and see what’s being said and where. Get a feel for the verbal landscape. If that isn’t quite doing it, check out their links sections, and see about finding a new blog to visit. Maybe a new source of reading material will provide the inspiration.
Stephen King, one of the most prolific writers in America, said that any writer needs to read four hours for every four hours they write. Take his advice, study up on the world of words, and find yourself an argument worth having.
About the Author: Enzo F. Cesario is an expert on blogs and social media for business, and co-founder of Brandsplat.com, a digital content agency. Brandsplat creates blogs, videos and social media in the “voice” of our client’s brand.
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10 Responses to “Read to Write: The Social Approach to Blogging”
Great points! I have a note taped to my wall that says “Feed the machine” to remind me that I have to take in information before I can spit any out.
I’m hoping this comment establishes my reputation as someone who provides insightful commentary and polite participation. : )
I completely agree. Unless you’re a celebrity, nobody wants to hear your “ramblings” about life, your cat, or whatever.
I spend 50% of my time researching, staying up to date with all the news in the industry. So, yeah I agree with you on this.
Please check the link in the author box. It doesnâ€™t seem to work.
I’m always amazed when I hear folks say they want to write about their lives with the view to presenting their manuscripts to publishers for publication. It takes a heck of a life to make an interesting book and an even more impressive story for a publisher to risk investing in it. Unless you’re famous or infamous, memoirs are better printed on your printer for your family and friends. Thanks for the tips!
Totally agree, people will only spend time with something that’s really interesting and usefull.
People will only look for info that will benefits themselves.
Certainly let your personality shine through but maybe not your personal life so much. The exception is of course if your personal story is very relevant to the topic at hand.
My life bores me to tears sometimes, so I can’t imagine that it would be very interesting to someone else. Information is want everyone is after.
Great post, thanks
Justin | Mazzastick
My blog is not personal at all and is more about sharing ideas and theories.
I prefer to go to the bookstore and read some fresh content that I find interesting and put it into my own words in the form of a new post.
Enzo, thanks for that.
Loved S King’s comment- I’m a keen reader and find it’s all grist to the mill.
I’ve often wondered about the bloggers who document every breath they take.
Do they seriously consider that the world is that interested?
I think that readers might get the impression that the writer is a tad needy if they rabbit on about themselves.
Try eavesdropping on conversations. They are brilliant blog fodder.
A timely reminder post, thanks.
Lot of people blog according their reader would like to see , like blog what they wish to read .
But usually you have the right to blog your topic you want. But just because they want to get their reader back .
So it depend. But a good content always able to bring lot of traffic and quality followers.
Yes indeed. I really like this idea of pouring over other bloggers’ words and ideas as a means of igniting your own fire and starting your blogging engine.
A must! Excellent post, Enzo.
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