Friday, February 10, 2006

How to write a blog post

Good friends, fans, and flamers, I'm haunted. I often contemplate something I learned when I investigated the Pro Freedom Iran Revolutionary bloggers.

The "godfather" of Iranian Reform Bloggers said he became popular and famous fast, because he taught other Iranian democracy champions how to create their own blogs, how to blog anonymously, etc.

NOTE: It wasn't his writing skills, or his political zeal, or his keen intelligence. It was his altruism, his desire to help other people, that made him the premier Iranian Freedom Blogger. [I'll edit this post and add a link to his blog, later.]

I am haunted by that statement. He taught others how to blog.

That's the best way to spread the universal democracy and free speech revolution: teach others, perhaps better than you in many ways, teach them how to blog.

Here's a list of tips I think will help you write interesting, fun to read, and highly effective blog posts.

(1) FRIENDLY: Start off with a brief, friendly intro that grabs attention.

(2) LITERARY: Each post tells a human story. Try to craft each sentence and paragraph perfectly, in an interesting style of writing that reflects who you are. Carrie Snell does a good job writing with literary flourish, unexpected photos and self-disclosures, and remaining very accessible to her fans.

Try to develop an eccentric, unusual, trademark style. Just study some quirky, high traffic, popular, or obscure oddity blogs. See how the writing styles differ in political blogs vs. personal blogs. Read other types of blogs, not just all personal or all business blogs.

(3) ASTONISHING: The title and first few sentences, then first one or two paragraphs, have to grab and hold your audience.

Be creative. Think of some shocking or big benefit you can lead off with.

After you type your post, sit back and stare at it. Trim off anything that is not absolutely vital to the topic. If you bore, your readers will depart forever. Keep the meat, cut the fat.

(4) BRIEF: Micro content is more readable, understandable, and memorable.

Nobody likes to hear someone go on and on and on and on about something. Be short and sweet whenever possible. Cut to the chase. Review and edit out tangents and belabored descriptions, over-heated emotions.

(5) FAST: By fast I mean short choppy sentences. Chop long winding sentences into chunk. Just put a period where the comma is. Avoid long, scholarly sentences and dense unbroken blocks of text. Seth Godin is a master at blog writing. Study Laura Ries also.

(6) LINKED: Embed hypertext links in your post, as appropriate. Too many links looks like you're a link farm. Link farms drive traffic to other sites. But no links makes it look like you don't have any clue as to relevant info and resources on the web.

(7) HELPFUL: Share your insights, humor, mistakes, embarrassing moments, triumphs...in a way that others will benefit somehow. Can you illustrate a principle you believe in by telling a little anecdotal story?

(8) MULTI-LANGED: I invented the term "MultiLanged" to describe writing so that readers who have a native language different from yours will understand. Multi (many) Langed (languaged). I mean Aware of Other Language Environments. You'll notice that I will use adjectives and alternate word strings to help clarify my meaning. And I usually define technical terms in every post they appear in. Assume that many of your readers need this intra-text couching.

(9) TOUGH: Present your honest feelings and opinions, and DO NOT CARE if readers cancel their RSS feeds to your blog, or post hostile, ridiculing, or abusive comments. Did you know that many flamers are just fart-joking junior high teen boys who worship Harry Potter? Why care what they say to taunt or challenge you?

(10) PERSONALIZED: Be uniquely you. Use your pet expressions and idioms. Invent funny new words like I feel forced to do. Show your photo, but not sexy if you're a woman, because that will draw the perverts, kidnappers, rapists, and other sickos. Show your tits, and your blog will be just another exhibitionistic bore.

(11) SAFE: Don't reveal any private, financial, employer, family, or sensitive data on your blog. Beware stalkers and predators, who pretend to be your age and who learned all about you by googling your name and reading your blog.

(12) SMART: Write your best thoughts with the best words you can find. Keep a dictionary handy and use it often to check spellings and definitions. Skim through it frequently to find new words to supplement your vocabulary. Vocabulary is the foolproof evidence of intelligence and education level. Business people judge you largely by your word choices, even if your delivery is a bit shakey.

[signed] stevasp2006streight

P.S. Did you notice how many times I embedded a link in the word "I"?

Why? I'm making fun of link spam blogs, where you see links in the post text for words like "business opportunity" or "marketing tool", and the link goes to a product or ecommerce site, rather than the expected "further information".

This is a form of spamming, tricking users to go to a sales or malicious site.

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