Monday, November 19, 2007

what to blog about

excellina Posted by Picasa

Millions of new bloggers ask me every day, "Vaspers, what should I blog about? How do you come up with a new topic every day to blabber about?"

Well, not millions of bloggers, but I think someone asked me that question a few years ago, at about 4 AM, which is when I do my best work. At least I think somebody asked me that, perhaps I was dreaming, or just made it up as a rhetorical question needing no reply.

Whatever the case may be, and we may never know for sure, it's still a good question. Since you're all so eager to know the answer, in that manner let us proceed to a good conclusion.

Your blog should communicate your personal beliefs and your individual interests.

If you're a personal blogger, using a blog to express yourself, you can write about anything, aside from where your kids go to school, or why you hate your boss. Personal blogs can be fun.

You can post articles on your favorite music, food, and hobbies. Perhaps you'll meet others who share your tastes, and you can learn from each other, and delight in your mutual interests.

Business blogging is a rather different story.

It's good to focus on one main topic, the central mission of your company, if you're a business blogger. Or perhaps you could blog primarily about what it's like being a CEO, how you make decisions, budget your time, or delegate duties. What you see on the horizon for your company, or emerging trends.

Keep the emphasis on your expertise, your company's proficiency, the problems your customers face, and how your products, or your insights, can help them.

What's new in your field? What's your position on controversial issues in your industry? We all have to be perpetual learners to keep pace with changing trends in business and technology. In your blog, tell us what you learned today, through research or contemplation, in success or failure.

In addition, if you're the CEO or owner, or an enthusiastic sales clerk, it should be easy to have something interesting and beneficial to say every day. A blog acts as a monitor of the fervor of a company. If you have an exciting product, try to communicate that excitement in your blog.

Educated, savvy customers tend to buy more, don't they? And they tend to enjoy guiding newbies, right? You might get good word of mouth recommendations if you make your loyal customers smarter. Your power users and early adaptors are your buzz spreaders.

People like to get wiser, and they also like to laugh and have fun.

So use your blog to inform, entertain, or both. Can you make your products more interesting? Can you do a funny video that differentiates your company from competitors, like the Mac vs. PC commercials?

What do you wish customers understood about the products you sell? How could you educate, enlighten, or inspire them? What can you say to better explain the way your products solve typical consumer problems? Why is your product the best solution for a certain market sub-set? What uses can your products be put to, that most customers don't see right away?

Is there an old post that you could re-blog, or revise and update, then post again? Many of your current readers are not going to search your archives for the gems. Display a "Best Of" or "Most Popular" posts list in your sidebar, but also consider re-factoring and re-posting some older articles that you think your readers would appreciate.

As new bloggers begin receiving comments, they get guidance from fans as to what post topics are most valued, enjoyed, and beneficial. Readers aren't always "right", but their reactions can be interesting.

Sometimes the post you worked hard on, and are most proud of, is a dud. Maybe millions were helped, but nobody bothered to express their appreciation. Or they got so inspired, they flew off like birds to go do what you suggested they do.

Other times, the post you dashed off in a grumpy mood, with very little research or planning, and not your best prose, will take off and go viral, in hostility or joy. You may never understand why one post gets quoted, commented on, and linked to, while other posts languish in obscurity.

But the longer you blog, the more intuitive it becomes, and the words will just roll right out of you. You won't care what reactions or critiques you get. It won't matter if you engage in a bit of blogocombat or heated discussion.

You really enjoy how your writing is improving and your ideas are being more perfectly expressed.


1389 said...

It helps to focus on a specific theme, niche, or journalistic beat. Pick something not adequately covered by the MSM or other bloggers. Then, subscribe to relevant feeds, follow the news in your bailiwick, and work hard to make contacts with others with similar interests. E.g., Vaspers' niche is "succeeding at biz blogging without becoming a jerk." My niche is "Web 2.0 and tech savvy for the antijihadist community."

steven edward streight said...

1389: Thanks for adding your thoughts, Twitter pal.

You know I share your Anti-Jihad concerns and am adamantly against Islamo-fascist global domination.

We need to get better at using the internet to defeat our enemies.

steven jackson said...

Anyone who has the time to contemplate the difference between a blog and a post must have no friends and sit in front of a computer all day. He probably surfs kiddie porn at night while his wife is in bed.

How would you know about MySpace unless you have been there yourself?

John Michaels said...

Psychosis - A general term for a number of major psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia, in which a person incorrectly evaluates the accuracy of his or her perceptions and thoughts and makes incorrect conclusions about reality. Hallucinations and delusions are psychotic symptoms.

Sounds like vaspers to me.

steven edward streight said...

Steve Jackson - I like you for you have the gall to tangle with a shy innnocent blogger like me!

Yes, I did or do have a MySpace blog, but I used it to attack Murdoch and the MySpace platform, filled with soft porn ads.

It takes no time to notice, it's nearly instantaneous, that MySpacers call a post a "blog", which is wrong and stupid, since you don't call a diary entry a "diary", you call it an "entry" in the diary.

steven edward streight said...

John Michaels - Aw come on tyke! You can flame better than that, I just know you can.

Read some of my blogocombat on TechCrunch or Scobleizer and learn how it's done.

For I am music, and I write the rules.

Anonymous said...

"millions" of new bloggers ask you every day how you come up with new ideas? You really don't expect us to believe that one. wink wink nudge nudge