Blogs are the ultimate selfie.
Being of a certain generation (rhymes with loomer) I disdain selfies and tats. Mind you, I like to look at your selfies (and tats – see them on my Pinterest page) but I’m of an age where I suspect the world is all the better for me not falling in line with trends so there will be no ink on me and precious few photographs.
And yet, like many colleagues around the globe I feel the need to share my thoughts (hopefully not ad nauseum) on a number of areas via the written word.
The esteemed Michael J Carty (@MJCarty) and I were chatting recently about readable blogs vs ones we tend to pass up, so what makes a blog work?
Here then four keys to the written selfie that will bring the viewer back for more.
- Purpose – what is your raison d’être? There are blogs of every type, personal, professional, lifestyle, comedic, religious and more. There is a genre for your time and tome. Figure it out and stay true to that even as you recognize your blog’s voice will grow and change over time. Are you educating, ranting, illuminating, asking? A purpose driven blog invites the reader on a journey so find that and fill it and the reader will come back.
- Honesty – posers are found out awfully quickly on a blog. Attempting to share hundreds of words with the reader on a regular basis will make even the greatest faker falter. So be honest with the reader – and yourself – about your relationship with the subject matter. Are you sharing knowledge, asking questions, or just curious? Expert, neophyte? Being clear about your knowledge level and intent will put readers at ease and make your voice authentic. Be you. Be real.
- Respect – your audience is assaulted with dumbness on a daily basis: don’t add to that load. Between #SoMe, mass media, the entertainment industry and inept politicians we are subjected to epic idiocy, the dumbing-down of big ideas to sound bites and snippets. Fight this trend. Respect your readers’ intelligence. Treat them like adults. Respecting your audience means sharing ideas, views and perspectives without necessarily tying everything up into a nice finished package: give the reader credit to do their own work on your topic. Allow them to disagree. Respect your audience.
- Steel – if you’re in HR you’ve heard me say this before: not everyone is gonna love you. Don Miguel Ángel Ruiz reminded us long ago to not take things personally so steel yourself as this holds true for you as the blogger too. I have labored over pieces thinking them good work only to have them disappear soundlessly into the Ethernet. Conversely, pieces I thought was a bit tired struck a chord somehow and people responded. Steel yourself to criticism and critique and even more so to the deafening silence – write with purpose expecting nothing in return. You are the writer, not the audience.
Blogging can serve many purposes both for writer and reader and is unquestionably a valid pursuit. One day you will start, one day you will stop, so the key is to enjoy the ride along the way.
And know that people will enjoy your selfies – visual or digital – along with your tats. We look forward to the uniqueness of you.