The rise of blogging has been a very personal one. It's filled a very voyeuristic void and provided a sense of community where there was none. However gratifying that is for bloggers who pursue their sites as a labor of love, today the blogosphere has become highly competitive. Those who want to make it to the top have to learn how to develop compelling content.
The good news is, blogger's don't have to reinvent the wheel. We can borrow practices from the traditional media and apply them to the web. Of course the mediums are not a one-to-one copy of each other, it's best to pull from where you need to in order to create something meaningful to your readers.
Know the difference between a story and a perspective
A story is a recounted sequence of events. A perspective is the way that story appears to the writer.
Bloggers have been advised to write from their perspective. In general this is good advice, as it helps to develop a voice. On the flipside, perspectives are like opinions, everyone has one. That's why it's always important to focus on the story. Everyone writes from their point of view, so the presence of your perspective is inevitable, but it's important to realize that the story isn't about your perspective. Even if it is something that happened to you.
Would a complete stranger care?
Your readers love you. That's why they come to your site. However, don't take this love for granted. As you would for a complete stranger, to give them a reason to come back, you need to deliver content they care about.
Look at the stories you really care about. Not just like, or not just what everyone else likes… but what you really care about. What do these stories have in common? What is the structure of the story like? Take that information and incorporate that into your posting style. Do you get a lot out of list posts? Write them. Are you really intrigued by hard facts in the articles you read? Make sure you have them in your posts. Do you like personal stories that share a lesson? Write your own. The possibilities are endless!
What do you want people to walk away with?
If you don't know what people will take away from your story, they won't either. People get confused easily, so the clearer you are, the better. Often times I like to put my point in a Tweet (and don't publish) and work from there, building the post around my point.
Figuring out what you want your readers to take from your site is an important part of developing the purpose of your site. At IFB, my goal is to help people blog, therefore the takeaway from (most) of my posts should be about how it will help people blog. Every time I post, I put forth my point, and ask the question, “How does this help people blog?” This can be done on any topic, and work throughout your branding as well.
Give real examples, and give as many examples as possible.
If you're going to make a case, you need examples. This year, many people said bangs were going to be a trend again. Which is fair enough… but it wasn't until Beyonce and Michelle Obama got bangs, we had pretty compelling evidence of a trend. I love intuition and speculation, but in order to get people on your side, you have to give them a reason. Providing as many real examples as possible will help support your argument. If they don't exist quite yet, go out and search for them… you'll make an even more compelling story!
What are some tips you have to making your posts compelling?
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