There is little doubt that journalism is facing some very serious challenges. Newspapers across the country, and even the world, are facing declining readership and, in many cases, are closing down.
Though the role of journalism is changing in the Internet age, that doesn’t mean there is no place for the techniques and tools that journalists use and have used for decades. Though blog writing differs greatly from journalism writing in many ways, there are still elements of journalism and journalism writing that still apply.
Though a blogger certainly doesn’t need to go to a j-school to do well, there are some lessons from a journalism school that could help out. Specifically, here are five things that bloggers could pick up from a journalism school, or even just a journalism class, and not lose what makes them unique and personable.
5. The Inverted Pyramid
Even in the most traditional of newspapers, the inverted pyramid is not the correct format for every story, but there are many cases where it is the ideal way to present the information.
The inverted pyramid is a system that works by having the general synopsis of the article in the first paragraph with more and more details in subsequent paragraphs, working to the least important details at the end. The idea is that, if readers are not interested in a story, they can read the first few paragraphs and get the big idea, but those who want to know more can read more can read to the bottom and get the full story.
Though it isn’t ideal for all or even most blog posts, understanding the style and how to use it can help you convey information in the fastest and most accurate way.
4. Interviewing Skills
Some people are naturals at asking questions, others aren’t. Likewise, some people are naturals at answering questions while others make it feel like pulling teeth to get a quote.
Knowing how to put people at ease, how to ask questions that get people talking and what the role of an interviewer is is critical when trying to get information out of another person. Also, being comfortable asking tough questions and knowing when to press on an issue is important to getting the whole story.
As with any skill, there are those who do this well naturally, but for others, learning the ins and outs of the interview may be very helpful.
3. Radical Clarity
Radical clarity is a writing style taught in many journalism schools, though it often goes by other names. The premise is to not write so that you can be understood, but write so that you can’t be misunderstood. It’s about writing so that people, no matter what biases they bring to reading your story, will get your exact message.
Though not so much a specific style, it’s a way of rereading your own work with different viewpoints in mind and actively deconstructing your own words. The idea is to reduce, though not always eliminate, cases where people misinterpret what you are trying to say.
2. Copy Editing
Grammar rules may be taught in English classes, but the art of editing writing, especially one’s own, is covered much more thoroughly in journalism classes as it is a critical part of any reporter’s job.
Editing one’s own work is surprisingly difficult to do. Most people have a tendency to skim through their writing as they are already familiar with it. Journalism schools teach reporters how to slow down when reading their work, often by reading their writing out loud to themselves, and objectively editing it.
Mass Media Law
Though the medium has changed, the laws have not. Those who publish on the Internet are still responsible for being aware of the laws that they will be held accountable to. Copyright, defamation, libel, trademark and privacy are just some of the areas of law that are critical for bloggers to know about and are all covered in basic law and ethics classes in most journalism schools.
The EFF has created a great Legal Guide for Bloggers that goes over many of these areas, still there is no substitute for an actual class on these issues and a robust understanding of the law.
Just because you, as a blogger, may not write like a journalist doesn’t mean you can’t be sued like one. It happens all the time.
For bloggers who have studied journalism, the key is to find ways to incorporate the important parts of their education into their blogging without hurting their voice or personality on the Web. For those who haven’t studied journalism, it is important to find ways to integrate the most important and more relevant lessons from journalists into their writing.
In the end, no matter what kind of blogging you are doing, there are ways that at least some education in journalism can help you improve it. Fortunately, these days you can likely get much of that education informally and on the Web.
After all, you don’t need a degree in journalism, just a basic understanding of some of its key components.
How to Develop Super Human Confidence in Your Blog
Baby steps, my Young Blogging Padawans.
New bloggers, baby step your way to being super human confident in your blog. Being wracked by doubt, with a little wild excitement mixed in, you cannot gain unreal confidence in your blog today. But slowly and steadily gaining clarity gives you the foundation upon which to become a highly successful blogger who feels bold, knowing your blog rocks.
I am about super human confident in my blog. I am developing the same level of confidence in my eBooks and courses, too. Why? Believing in my blog and premium offerings helps me to help more people and I also make more money too, which is neat, considering I live a worldly life.
Follow these tips.
1: Feel and Release Fears-Doubts Aligned with Your Blog
Before you become confident, you need to purge any lack of confidence. I know this feels bad but tis a necessary step to become super duper confident in your blog and in your premium offerings, too. Sit with doubts, those nasty traitors. Be with your fears about self, your writing ability and your blog presentation. Feel these unpleasant energies. Clear the energies. Proceed from a clearer, more confident, space. Confidence is borne of clearing a lack of confidence. Do messy energy work to become uber confident in your blog and in your blogging abilities.
2: Surround Yourself with Loving Bloggers
Loving, caring, compassionate bloggers see brilliance in you when you cannot seem to see it in yourself. Although all confidence issues flow inside-out, you need a network of supportive people around you who believe in you, versus being around haters or negative nellies. Never, ever, ever surround yourself with poverty conscious, failure conscious bloggers. Are you running a cyber charity? Are you a therapist? No! Negative people stuck in fear and failure throw negative cross currents into your being, shaking your already fragile confidence in your blog.
Hang with folks who believe in you and who believe in your blog. Pros share where and how you can improve but they always believe in someone who follows their dreams, and will instill that faith in you, and in your blog, too.
3: Write Your Butt Off and Publish Content Like the Dickens
Writing and publishing content is like breathing to me. I do not lose confidence in my ability to breathe because this is an automatic, auto-pilot, process. I just breathe without thinking about it. Ditto for writing and blogging. I wrote and blogged for 20,000 to 30,000 hours so now it is an automatic, easy process I have super human confidence in. I do not even think about it because I do it routinely, automatically, on a type of auto-pilot borne of making writing and blogging a habit.
If someone criticizes my blog, it is like someone criticizing my breathing; sounds weird, or funny, but it stirs me not, because I have equal confidence in each.
4: Do Energy Work
I do not play around; 3-4 hours of energy work daily allowed me to face, feel and release blog doubts, to become the clear, confident blogger I am today. Consider meditating, or doing yin yoga, or doing Kriya yoga, and power walking. Or do it all. I spend 3-4 hours doing each – collectively – daily, to expand my awareness so I can feel and clear doubts and so I can blog mainly from an abundant, generous, relaxed, detached vibe.
Be confident guys. Believe in your blog. Follow these 4 tips to succeed and to become super human confident in your blog.
Should You Search for New Blogging Niche Ideas?
Ask yourself that question and you will get an answer that best suits you.
I went with the blogging tips niche for people who want to circle the globe. But I did not go for this niche to be new, edgy or different. I had lived that life for many years. This made sense for me. I was being genuine, honest and as authentic as one can be. Perfect match. But if I chose a new niche from an energy solely of financial gain, being popular or some other fear-based driver, I would have fallen flat on my blogging face.
Why would you ask someone for new niche ideas? What is the energy or intent there? Do you want the fast track to success? Or are you in a creative space, wishing to do something different? I see searching for new blogging niches as being a waste of time considering the endless, established niches we already have at our disposal. Why waste time and energy searching for some niche if you have all the niches you need right before your cyber eyes? Toss in the fact that you need to research the niche inside-out if you have no prior knowledge and you invest a significant amount of time just to get the blog off of the ground. Makes no sense to me.
What do you love talking about? What is your biggest passion? Start there. Select that niche. You already have an ample supply of information in your noggin and the confidence to discuss the niche in clear, cogent fashion. Who cares if the niche is new or old? The blogging tips niche – my main niche – has been around for a few decades. Who cares? There is nothing new under the sun blogging-wise but thousands of new bloggers join our ranks daily. I also find that I seem to be converting people to blogging the more I persist in creating and connecting, keeping at this gig, being present, helping spread awareness about a pretty cool blogging niche, and, about a pretty cool way to help people and to free yourself.
Go with What You Know
When it comes to picking a blogging niche, go with what you know. Pick a niche inside of your blogging and knowledge wheelhouse because being armed with knowledge, experience, and a pulsating passion for discussing the niche makes you stand out from the blogging crowd in a major league way. I created this blogging course in under a day. Imagine that? 6 hours of recordings and oodles of blogging knowledge, packaged into a course that I created in under 24 hours. Imagine how much I needed to know about blogging and how confident and clear I had to be in myself, to ship in 24 hours? I go with what I know; sure doesn’t hurt me.
But when you pick a new blogging niche you have no knowledge of, it takes you 2 months to create and ship the course. Not good. There is the quick, and the dead, in the blogging world. We need be patient, persistent and generous to succeed online but in the same regard, adding years to your learning curve by deviating from what you know is a foolish blogging idea. Why? Go with what you know to prosper mightily over the long haul and to hit the ground running.
But Is It Worth the Time?
One of my favorite check up blogging activities involves asking if some blogging action is worth the time. Someone may ask me to do something to benefit them. Sometimes, I do it. But often, it is not worth the time I would put into the action. Why? My time is precious. All time is precious. Thinking how a specific action leverages your presence in a specific amount of time gives you clarity in making a decision.
Someone may ask me to guest post on a blog completely out of my niche. Is it worth the time? Almost always, nope. But even if I do it once I likely never do it again because I only have so much time daily to work with, and I cannot spend 1 second trying to connect with an audience who has zero interest in what I have to offer. Just my gig. I have too much to do daily, to do anything otherwise. The secret for any new blogger is to learn this time posture tip and to put it into action before your schedule gets filled with clients and speaking to customers and creating and connecting. New bloggers believe they possess all the time in the world but this ain’t true. New bloggers need be as ruthless with their time or else other people will trample all over their time.
Imagine if someone asks you to self-publish an eBook on an unknown platform because the person enjoys reading eBooks on the platform. Would it be worth the 3 hours it took to write and proofread and ship the eBook to put it on a platform for one person? Nope. Waste of time. But you would be surprised at how many new bloggers or struggling bloggers make this foolish decision, choosing to waste their time for one person with weird, exotic tastes. What WOULD be worth your time? Write the eBook, self-publish on Amazon and gain access to an audience of hundreds of millions of people. This is smart use of your time because 3 hours of work gives you access to millions of people. Do you see why I promote my Amazon eBooks all day long?
Speaking of, buy my eBook:
because this read melds perfectly with the topic of this blog post. We need turn down or release certain online partnerships that do not resonate with our blog, brand, schedule and overall energy. I released a few of these over the years because I was not resonant with the gig. Accepting out of a sense of guilt, or, loss of opportunity-money, would have completely wasted my time. I would have needed to own that one, big time, because if you say “yes” to an opportunity you do not vibe with, you waste time every split second you engage with the business partner, or, in the business opportunity itself.
Check your value filter. What do you most value? Before you do anything with your blog, ensure this activity aligns with your values. I value writing to help people, I value promoting my eBooks and I value promoting my course, too. Which is why you see me guest posting here and on a gazillion other blogs while publishing 5 or more posts to Blogging From Paradise these days. I spend time on what I value to help more folks, to succeed and to have fun enjoying the ride.
Do the same before you decide to engage in any blogging activity.
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