Without question, business blogs play a critical role of information distribution in many industries. Although many industries are still lagging way behind — they will catch up (providing once-in-a-lifetime oppurtunities to a select few.)

Right now I am subscribed to about 300 blog RSS feeds. Some get deleted. Some get added. I have been writing this blog for over a year now. In that time, I have figured a few things out. Rules are meant to be broken, but that doesn’t mean they are bad starting points.

1. Minimize your personal life — but don’t ignore it. If every blog post is about which concert the writer went to last night I am going to start losing interest fast.

On the other hand, readers like to know you are a real person and not a journalism major earning $20,000 a year. If you are doing something exciting or adventurous post about it. I’d like to be known as the blogger who summited Everest, but for now I’ll just be the insomniac-by-choice who has carpel tunnel

2. People want to hear about success. The big earners generate big buzz. The Markus Frind interview was hands down the best linkbait I ever produced.

3. I have a confession to make, my blog was originally meant as a cover to hear from interesting people, not a website to attract a lot of traffic. Perhaps thats a good rule. If you love what you are writing about you’ll dig deeper. That means your posts will be more interesting, more unique, and soon you’ll be scooping your news sources.

4. People want to hear what they have to do to be successful. Whether they follow the instructions or not is up to them. It makes people feel better when they know that they know what to do to be successful. Thats why one self-help book is never enough.

5. Linking to other bloggers is a very good idea. Besides the obvious SEO implications, your biggest audience are those who are already reading blogs. As trackbacks on popular blogs become more saturated, you also must e-mail the writers and regularly post comments.

Think of yourself as a D-class celebrity. The paparazzi aren’t stalking you — if you want to be seen you better show up anywhere and everywhere. That means if you think you wrote a good post, tell people about it. Need a reason? Figure out a way to mention them in it.

6. If everyone else reported it, put a really good spin on it, or ignore it.

7. Use images. I break this rule because I am too busy. If your blog audience is slanted toward a more mainstream audience this is a must. If you can use video, even better.

8. Back away from over-used & tired out blogging trends — you don’t want to blend in. A few examples: numbered or bulleted lists, digg-baiting irrelevent content, and interviewing important people in your industry. Just kidding. If your blog has no readers it probably is because you have not done one of these things.

9. Create controversy. If you want to be unprofessional this is really easy to do. A common technique is to completely bash someone one day and then high five them the next.

This is a very tricky technique for several reasons. First, it can make you look like an idiot. If you have no claim to fame, people are going to have a hard time taking you seriously anymore. Building mind share is a critical part of success,. Destroying your brand value means losing your relevence and being placed on a fast track to failure.

10. That being said, second guessing everything you say doesn’t make for a good read. Blogging is the exact opposite of a scientific journal. You write what you feel, when you feel it. If the information is wrong, so be it. Despite a handful of grammer polyps most of your readers aren’t interested in reading an English masterpiece. Can’t figure out what they really want? Re-read this post.

6 thoughts on “What makes a good blog post?

  1. Pingback: inaminuteago - the blog » Tips on writing a good blog post

  2. Howdy Andrew

    I find the be controversial point was limiting to me a few years back. I didn’t want to be controversial for a whole range of reasons – if I had my time again I’d shoot my big mouth off a lot earlier!

    Much easier to build a stronger brand that way.

    But like you say, it can be very tricky to manage your brand using controversy to get attention (Shoemoney.com has been the best at it recently).

    Cheers

    Brendon

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  6. I find I agree with point #9 – for example, I am an aboriginal land use planner. For many (many) people in mainstream culture, this is a contradiciton in terms. For them, to be aboriginal implies no way no how could any aboriginal ever be a useful land use planner. The controversial nature is implicit in just existing, being alive. There are people here in Canada who cannot believe I will ever amount to anything, let alone tell them anything interesting or useful about land use planning.

    I’m just beginning this whole blogging thing. It’s gonna be fun.

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