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12.12.18

How to keep your blog posts fresh and fascinating

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This is the second of my Blog Series: How to brainstorm a year’s worth of blog topics in four hours. If you missed the first one, Why Every Author must Blog (even if they don’t want to), click here.

What is a blog? Not everyone agrees what constitutes a blog, so we are going to start with a definition. So I have an essential reason for exploring the meaning of blogging: the answer to keeping your fresh and fascinating, week after week, lies in how you define the gig.

Let us start with the Dictionary.com definition of the noun, blog.

  1. a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.
  2. a single entry or post on such a website: She regularly contributes a blog to the magazine’s website.

In short, most people define blogging as opinion writing. My definition of blogging is much more extensive and includes a lot more story styles. Here is the range of story types that I can or would write on my blogs at www.kathwalters.com.au and www.dreamplanet.com.au:

  • News: What is new in the world of your clients and their sector? For example, changes to laws, visiting overseas experts, new ideas or business.
  • Listicles: A list on a theme of importance to your readers. For examples, I regularly publish a list of the world’s best bloggers and the world’s best websites for authors.
  • Profiles: A written portrait of a person of interest to your readers that may include quotes from the subject and people who know them.
  • Interviews: An article on a theme with a single source. For example, a Q and A with an author about their latest book.
  • Features: A long-form article on a theme.
  • How-to stories: An article that explains to readers how to be more successful at a relevant task, such as blogging.
  • Quiz or diagnostic: A series of questions that test a reader’s knowledge or provide them with insight into their understanding of a topic.

Why I keep my definition of blogging broad

I have two reasons. One is that my definition makes blogging more fun. Writing opinion pieces every week gets boring both for my readers and me. From time to time, I feel strongly enough on a topic to provide my opinion. Drawing on a wide array of possible content types (as listed above) means I can have more fun, and that is how we keep our blog fresh and fascinating.

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The second is that writing excellent opinion blogs is challenging. In the world of journalism from which I come, we have levels from J1 to J10. J1 defines a journalist who has just finished their cadetship. J10 is a journalist who can write an opinion. It is a top-tier skill. Why? Because you must draw on a lot of knowledge and expertise to be persuasive.

What a blog is not

While we are at it, let’s define what a blog is NOT. Any of the following will let you and your brand down and turn away readers faster than you can say “blog fail”.

  • Static – like the About me or Services copy on your website
  • Sales – an ad for what you do. Put ads for your services next to your blog in a box that is clearly understood to be an ad.
  • Advertorial – thinly disguised promotion for your services. Again, just put an ad next to your blog
  • Defamatory – putting other companies or products down, or criticising them without offering them the right of reply
  • A story in which you are the hero. I attribute this brilliantly succinct idea to Matt Church, the founder of the Thought Leader Business School. When we tell a story in which we are the hero, we turn our readers off. Think about it. Do you want to read about how smart and successful I think I am without the opportunity to make your own assessment?

This blog in a paragraph

If you want to keep your blog fresh and fascinating, you must have fun doing it. Choose from a wide array of possible story types. Please don’t limit yourself to an opinion: it is both challenging to write and can get boring for your readers, too. Set yourself a little challenge: How many different types of stories can I write in the next year?

Next week, join me for an insider’s tip on the most mind-blowing tool to help you dream up topics for your blog. You will love this blog-changing moment in your writing journey.

Missed last week’s blog, the first in this series? Why Every Author must Blog (even if they don’t want to), click here to read it now.

Want to get started on your book today?
Download the Ultimate Cheatsheet to Get Your Book Started.

 

 

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