As a blogger, you don’t need to adhere to the highest standards of journalism, but there are a few pointers I can share that will help your blog come across as being more readable to your audience. Ultimately it’s up to you as a blogger to decide how you will go about your blog contributions, but remember that blogging is part of your career path even if you don’t earn your living from it. As a visible and accessible aspect of your shared thoughts and outlook on life, your blog becomes an extension of yourself and can affect how others view you. I’m not saying this should determine your every blogging move, but from my own personal experience I can share some things I’ve learned along the way.
It’s Not Buzzworthy to Mention the Buzz
You’re a blogger, which means you’re contributing to the blogosphre at large. If your blog article is covering a topic that is already prevalent across the blogosphere, you don’t really need to mention this. Avoid statements such as “the blogging world is abuzz about…” unless this fact is directly related to the main points of your article.
Such statements are redundant and unnecessarily introspective on the industry you become a part of as a blogger. They also take away from the flow of your article, detracting from the facts of your story and the subsequent implications therein. Don’t burden your readers with too much fluff.
Drop the Name-Dropping
While it’s important to note references in your blog article, you don’t always have to name drop. It gets old. If you received information for your article from a person that doesn’t mind being quoted, then attribute them accordingly. Otherwise, don’t mention it. Literally.
Given the particular segment you blog about, it can be fairly easy to come across notable people here and there at various conferences and events. But that doesn’t make them your new best friend, and it doesn’t always mean they want to be quoted or mentioned in your blog post.
It’s easy to hide behind a false sense of importance when you blog, because your content is coming from your own narrative. You can project whatever image of yourself that you’d like. I’ve witnessed a lot of bloggers move down a slippery slope as a result of giving into these temptations, but it is my recommendation that you remain genuine in your portrayal of yourself and your relationships when it comes to your blog. This will be appreciated by those you do have the advantage of meeting, and will effectively make you a better networker. All of this contributes to your ability to blog well in the long term.
Private Information Should Be Just That
Private information is another thing I wouldn’t mention in a blog post. If you get a “scoop” that involves a company’s or an individual’s private information, it is generally in bad taste to make this information public. While it may be a juicy tidbit that ultimately drives a lot of traffic to your site, in posting private information that isn’t yours diminishes your trustworthiness in the end.
This is a particularly difficult position for many bloggers, depending on their area of coverage and expertise. When it’s all said and done, it’s a personal decision that each blogger must make for themselves. But keep in mind the bridges that may burn if you betray someone’s trust, and how others will perceive you in your future endeavors.
Don’t Throw Yourself Under the Bus
Anything self-implicating that you mention in a blog could cause a lot of damage. This seems like a no-brainer, but there are times where it may not immediately occur to you that the information you’re providing in your blog could hurt you in a direct or indirect manner.
One example I’ve witnessed was the coverage of a WordPress hack that gave people access to your administrator’s blog dashboard. The editor for this particular blog didn’t think twice about running the story as important news for their audience, though the blog was on WordPress’ platform itself. Not checking on whether or not the hack had been resolved on WordPress ended up putting this rather popular blog in jeopardy of becoming hacked itself.
There’s no need to end your blog with a question. Sure, posing questions to your readers is a good way to engage them in an ongoing discussion about the topic at hand. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to pose questions or stimulating statements throughout your blog post instead of tacking a question at the end of your article. Simply concluding an article with a question is a dated technique that can come across as predictable and it can make your article look like it was created from a template.
There are other ways to engage readers as well, including the use of images and videos throughout your blog post. Redirect users from multimedia sharing sites back to your blog so they can further the conversation about your topic, and utilize widgets and other forms of content importing/exporting to pull context into these discussions. The more the conversation is stirred up, the more encouraged readers will be to add their two cents.