Anybody with access to the web can start a blog and there are millions of them with (at the time of writing) over 40 million new posts every month. If you ever need data on blogs try WordPress’s own stats page. It is scary how much content there is just on their platform according to their tracking. The actual figures are much higher.
As writers we should be striving to be better bloggers as our blogs are visible to anyone and will be used to judge the quality of our writing. I’d like to share some advice I heard once on a training course and discuss a hierarchy of blog posts from the most trivial to the most useful. And no, I don’t think I’m at the top of this scale by any means!
You need opinion plus rationale
Anybody can write a post that says something they believe. This is all fine and dandy and I would call these what posts. Sometimes what is all you need – a news post should be exactly that, news about what is happening. Better value can be had by turning a what into a why. I once heard the following on a training course:
Advice without rationale is just opinion
The reader needs to know not only what you are telling them but also why it is true. Take the first sentence of my second paragraph above:
- As writers we should be striving to be better bloggers… is the what of this article. It is the thing I am trying to convince you of
- … as our blogs are visible to anyone and will be used to judge the quality of our writing is the why. It is where I demonstrate the logic behind the what part of the premise. It should be enough to convince you to keep reading. If you are reading this it worked!
Curiously it is worth discussing the who element. Some bloggers have reputation and are so well known that just be knowing who they are their words gain extra value. These are people whose very opinions are of merit in their own right.
News items also need the when element to be newsworthy, the where is the blog itself. Adding how is even better – I convince you of something with rationale and then show you how to do it yourself.
What have you learned from reading this?
You should have learned the following three things:
- There is a place for posts that are just what but you can add more value
- A post with a why in its premise takes an article from opinion to advice or even a review (I liked the latest book from so-and-so because…)
- Add how to make sure your readers take away something more than just insight. Give them a skill!