Becoming a Successful Blogger
Dan Drezner has published the penultimate draft of “SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BLOG,” a commissioned book chapter for the American Political Science Association, on how to be a successful political science blogger. For an academic paper, it’s short and quite jargon free.
Much of it deals with the benefits and pitfalls of blogging for scholars but there is plenty of useful advice for fledgling or would-be bloggers of all stripes. This is especially critical:
The distribution of links and traffic in the blogosphere is remarkable skewed, with a few blogs commanding the overwhelming share of links and hits. Over time the “elite” blogs have become more and more entrenched, creating a barrier to building up a significant reader base. Latecomers may therefore find it difficult to attract significant numbers of readers.
These ten points, which are explained in greater detail in the paper, are relevant regardless of your profession:
1) Imagine your audience.
2) Think small at first..
3) Write clearly and concisely.
4) Link, link, link.
5) Remember — you are the editor.
6) Develop a thick skin.
7) Respect the boundaries.
8) Expect and correct misinterpretations.
9) Dilute the risk if necessary.
10) If it’s not fun, then don’t do it!
Simply remembering that what you write on the blog may be read by others–and thinking through the implications of that–will save you a lot of heartburn and make the experience much more worthwhile.
UPDATE: Lorelle VanFossen has a much longer list, although there’s some overlap.
Again, just the high level points follow; click the link for the explanations.
- 1. Don’t Just Show, Show and Tell
2. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords
3. Write Clickable Titles
4. Make Your Point in the First 200 Words
5. Blog Writing Is About Editing
6. Make Your Words Timeless
7. Don’t Waste Words
8. Explain Jargon
9. Use Descriptions in Images and Links
10. Use Descriptions for Flash, Podcasts, Videocasts, and Screencasts
11. Present a Problem, The Solution, and The Results
12. Just the Facts, Ma’am
13. If You Have 100 Top Priorities, You Have No Priorities At All
14. Originality Will Always Win:
15. Move The Reader Through the Story
16. Blog Paragraphs Are Short
17. Use Command Verbs to Teach
18. No Wishy-Washy Passive Voice
19. Use Nouns and Synonyms
20. Comments Are Content
21. Visualize Who You Are Writing To
22. Clean Up Old Posts
23. Write Kinda Like You Talk
24. Mind Reading Writing
25. Avoid Screaming
26. Punctuate Properly
27. Blog Writing Isn’t About Smiley Faces
28. Teach Your Readers.
29. Make Me Think
30. Write With Conviction and Passion