Friday, June 23, 2006

8 ways to improve your blogging skills

*8* Proven Methods
for becoming a better,
more effective blogger

(1) Use Numbers and Aggressive Promotion Technique.

Think of a item or activity (like "blogging"), then a topic within that category (like: "blog techniques"), turn it into a Benefit Statement (like: "how to be a better blogger"), make up a random number for how many points you'll make (like: "8 ways..."), change the title to be more specific (change "how to be a better blogger" to "8 ways to improve your blogging skills").

While "Improve Your...." is specific, and "How to..." is full of promise and implied benefit, "8 ways to...." is even more aggressive, specific, and enticing.

"8 ways..." also sounds more organized, less vague, and thus, your readers will feel like it may be quicker and easier to assimilate and remember this information.

(2) Carefully Craft Your Post Titles.

Think of what a person might type into a search engine to arrive at your post, then use that as a title. For example, people are probably more likely to type in "improve blogging skills" than "finesse in blog methodology".

Other good titles might be "Evaluating Blog Credibility", "How to Choose a Digital Camera", "Make Money with Downloadable Products on Your Blog", or "Why the Concept of Just War is Just Ridiculous ... and as Meaningless as Just Rape or Just Child Molesting".

(3) Study the A Listers.

Read the most popular blogs, the most respected blogs, and the best written blogs you discover (regardless of how popular they may be).

Learn from the high traffic blogs. Try to discover what it is that makes them attract huge numbers of readers. What is their tone of voice? Posting frequency? Post title style. Usage of photos, art, music, audio, video and podcasting.

(4) Be a Good Citizen within the Blogosphere.

Interact with other posting comments at their blogs. Question. Criticize. Complain. Suggest. Advise. Praise. Inspire. Encourage. Argue. Discuss. Attack. Defend. Joke. Flirt. Humiliate.

Just do SOMETHING, rather than read and retreat back into the womb of your reveries.

This is the royal road to Understanding Blog Culture. Any blogger who never posts comments at other blogs...but accumulates lots of comments at his own an myopic, selfish, grandiose, lazy loser.

(5) Literary Osmosis.

Read high quality, classic, inspiring works of literature.

Yes, you must do this. It's the only way to make your writing improve in ways you personally could not have imagined or engineered on your own. I can't stress this enough. If all you read is your own scribblings, then you lose the riches of outside influence by timelessly honored and universally respected authors and poets.

I sometimes have to force myself to crack open Proust, Kafka, Shelley, Hemingway, Rilke, Poe, Dickens, Orwell, Rimbaud, Derrida, Lacan, Freud, Blanchot...otherwise, I'll just listen to music all day long.

But once I start reading, even random passages, my eyes light up and the astonishing beauty of their prose just somehow boosts my own writing skills. I can see it happen. I read some Will Self, Marcel Proust, Kenneth Patchen, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, or Maurice Blanchot, then I write a blog post, and their style and tone has rubbed off on me. A new nuance has been introduced into my own style, by literary osmosis.

(6) Exo-blog Combat.

Engage in discussions, debates, and conversations in other venues: email discussion lists, online forums, cocktail parties, bar brawls, UN negotiations, Weapons of Mass Deception investigations, whatever.

Instead of hanging up on a telemarketer, listen, then argue with them, demand that they send all that hype in writing through the mail (they'll say they CANNOT do that!). Then tell them to take you off their call list, and hang up. This type of activity prepares you for deadly blogocombat battles.

(7) Comment Response/Reciprocal Commenting.

Try really hard to post a reply to every comment you get on a post, and be sure to engage in Reciprocal Commenting. That means: you post a comment at the blog of a blogger who posted a comment at your blog.

This is one of the best ways to form an online communitiy around specific interests (music, technology, literature, health, web usability, web design, spirituality, humor, political views, etc.)

(8) Post Format.

Use short paragraphs, lists, bold, colored text, photos, art, graphs, variety in post length. Consider making your blog look like a magazine, by inserting photos in some posts. Don't know how? Email me. I'll make you an instant expert.


Sujan said...

Hey great blog, those skills are actually quite useful

steven edward streight said...

Thanks Sujan for expressing your appreciation.

steven edward streight said...

On Sujan's blog, he has a recent post about "The Greatest Invention in the World" which he says is a bouncey ball.

Almost like The Dullest Blog in the World for sheer genius minimalism.

Good job Sujan.

Digital Art Photography for Dummies said...

Great tips. I got another. Look at your stats about which blog people are coming from (maybe one in which you posted comments to). Then keep posting comments to that blog and they'll keep coming from there.

steven edward streight said...

Dear Digital Art Photography for Dummies:

That is a good idea. Had not thought of it. Thanks very much. You are right, and I don't know how I missed this.