From I don’t know when I’ve been a keen reader of blogs. Probably they were still called Web-logs and there were blogrings and everything. The Internet was a different place.
Anyhow, from the humble beginnings of a web-log, back then, often described as an ‘online journal’ we are now surrounded by blogs in so many forms that it is dizzying to quantify.
There’s a couple of things I’d love to discuss though and they’re things that I have had the most exposure to as a broadcaster who worked mostly with bloggers, a blog reader who follows user generated content for news, a reader of news blogs and an advisor for companies that have blogs on their corporate sites.
There’s a problem that I love to whine about, but there’s no point in whining unless you plan to offer a solution. There’s a real difference between the types of content that fall under the term blog and I think they should all be pursued ardently, but I don’t think they should be conflated.
The main thing that sticks in my craw is when content marketing gets a bit mangled with a personal blog. In these cases, though the intentions may be honest, it’s like listening to a close friend pour out their heart and then try to hard sell you a set of encyclopedias. Please stop this.
There is a great deal that can be done with content marketing. It can be lively, well researched, have a great conversational tone and spread like wildfire online (I refuse to say ‘go viral’, bugger, just did…). Done well, marketing can be really fun, especially for people who love your brand.
However, if you think that a conscious reader would not notice that you have linked to your advertising, three times, in every paragraph and still think a post is a heart-felt, edifying discussion point, then you’re patronising them and you’re going to lose them.
I still love blogs. I marvel at how they have evolved, I revel in every colour, format, shape and length, style, font and animated presentation that I find to be new. But the words (wurrrrdzzzz), if you are using them, need to reflect the purpose rather than thinly masking a lie.
The blogs I often like best are much like a column or op ed. They’re a single point, made really well, sometimes amusingly. They have enough QI info to pique my interest and a thrusting opinion that I can agree with whole-heartedly or maybe disagree with enough to grumble and curse my screen. Either way, they elicit an emotional reaction as well as providing a means for me to learn something, even something about myself in reflection.
More often than not, the most popular blogs I read are personal and unashamedly ego-centric. They are written in the first person, they describe a personal experience – anything between birth and dying is good – and they put me in your shoes for a few gripping paragraphs.
But the ones I dislike the most and rarely read to the end of, are the ones that are kind of deceitful. They pretend to be a friendly communication and then they try to shoe-in a sale. Not cool, not sharing this, browser window closed, bounce rate increased.
I also don’t think personal blogging is for everyone. If your CEO or company leader has a great turn of phrase when it comes to corporate writing, then let rip with the words and fill your boots. Put it on an opinion page or maybe even corporate news section. Rock that column and enjoy it.
Just don’t make the mistake of trying to mix the two unless you’re very clever indeed. Readers are smarter than you think and we can smell it a mile away.
Yes, I realise that blogging about my taste in blogging opens me up for a free for all on my own bad habits. But I’ve been writing for a very long time and well, this has been up front in my mind for a while, so I thought I’d share the point of view.
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