Blogs are not traditional media, and bloggers are not journalists. Unless they are. But it’s not a requirement. A blog is software. It’s something one puts up on the web to capture information, of whatever type one wants to put on there, and thus, if anyone tells you that you’re doing it wrong, that’s just silly. There aren’t very many wrong ways to do it (legal things like stealing from others might be something you could screw up, but otherwise). And yet.
If you’re going to blog seriously, consider the following:
- Consider the goals and value of your posts. Are you adding to a body of work? Are you blogging to educate, inform, deliver some value?
- Facts do matter. If you’re stating opinions, stress that they’re opinions. If you’re claiming a fact, try to cite it. (I tend to state mostly opinions).
- Remember that defamation is still an issue, potentially legal.
- You can always ask questions BEFORE you blog (novel, I know).
- Brevity matters. I know that I blog about this often. I just see several posts where one has to wade through to try and decipher the salient points (often my own).
- Disclosure is key. If you’re doing something to make money, if you have a business relationship with an organization that you’re writing about, if there’s anything that might potential change the way something is perceived were it be to be measured against what you wrote, consider that.
- Link when you’re mentioning other sites or information that has a link. It’s good manners. It’s the way the Web works. It’s more resources. Linking only to yourself says something about you (and it’s not flattering).
- Review the body of your work every 10 or so posts. Are you improving?
- Review the body of your work every 30 or so posts against the most recent. Are you repeating?
- Review the body of your work against 5 other blogs in your space. Are you an echo?
- Ask yourself WHY you’re posting what you’re posting. Pretend you’re the reader. Is this worth their time?
- What else could you be doing with your blog to add value to your core community?
There are lots of reasons to be blogging: capture your thoughts, share moments, build relationships, establish thought leadership, sell electric toothbrushes, whatever. None of them are especially wrong. But if you’re going to blog with the perspective that you are a professional, give it your best. Your audience deserves it.
The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [chrisbrogan.com] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.