Monday, August 01, 2005

writerly blogs

writerly blogs

An obvious fact that bears repeating:

the writer has a distinct advantage in a blog.

What is blogging exactly?

Effective blogging includes:

(1) specialized writing skills

(2) web design and HTML/CSS skills

(3) unique personality

(4) original ideas

(5) conversational voice

(6) controversial topics

(7) beneficial information

(8) relevant content

(9) focus

(10) purpose

(11) dedication

(12) continual improvement

Specialized Writing Skills
and Writerly Blogs

Blogs are judged primarily by the writing quality.

All the other factors play huge roles in the perception and value of a blog, but in content blogs (i.e., not link logs that primarily list URLs with slight descriptions) it all boils down, in the final analysis, to the writing.

If the blogger is a poor writer, chances are, the blog will not be enjoyable to read. There are many well-written blogs in existence. No one needs to waste any time with poorly written blogs.

One of the problems with many business blogs is that they sound too stiff, impersonal, and fluffy. People are seeking user-friendly, personalized, interactive services. A business blog is a service mechanism, specializing in customer satisfaction: providing the intended audience with relevant material and desired functionalities.

One of the problems with many personal blogs is that they sound too emotional, private, and mundane. People are seeking focused entertainment, information, and community. A personal blog is a service mechanism, specializing in intimacy and unique personality: providing the fan base with private thoughts and personal observations.

A personalized business blog would stand out from the pack.

An intimate, candid, two-way conversational blog for business purposes would be ideal.

Customers have sickened of listening to and obeying robot recordings and selecting from pre-set menus.

They want to connect with a real human person at your company.

The writing style, therefore, has to be the opposite of corporate brochure-speak: non-corporate, casual, un-business-like.

What do corporate brochures
rarely contain?

* humor

* questions to the reader

* admission of faults and weak spots

* complete contact information

* natural speaking style

* intimate atmosphere

* friendly tone of voice

* understatement

* self-effacement

* self-parody

* cynical attitude

* humble posture

* hesitant approach

* references to external sources

* praise for competitors, rivals, opponents

* side-by-side comparisons

* philosophical depth

* strong expression of contrarian opinion

* abstract art as window-dressing


I'm sure you can think of many more qualities of natural human communication that are NOT to be found in corporate fluff writing. Not all the anti-corporate qualities are worthy of using in a blog. But most are.

Deliberately writing in a clearly non-corporate style will signal to readers that it's not "business as usual", not altogether boring and hyped-up.

Blog Priority: writing style

The most important aspect of any blog is the writing style, an appropriate style for the intended audience.

The best text content blogs (i.e., not photo/audio blogs or link logs) are writerly, whether the blogger is conscious of it or not.

Keep improving your writing skills, read classic literature, visit popular, well-written, unique blogs.

If your writing is improving, it doesn't matter how many visitors, comments, or RSS subscribers you get.

Be true to your own vision. As long as you're satisfied with your blog, that's really all that matters. It's not the readership of your blog, it's the writing of it that's vital.

While we must not neglect the blog design, and other aspects of blogging, the post writing's the main thing.

Master the art of blog post writing.

FREE lessons available in the Vaspers the Grate family of fine quality blogs and premium post archives.



Zafufilia said...

"One of the problems with many personal blogs is that they sound too emotional, private, and mundane. People are seeking focused entertainment, information, and community."

I found in my personal blog that if I wanted to make it public I no longer could be completely candid, which was how I wanted to "blog." Or that I was (precisely) "too emotional, private, and mundane" -- my language too quirky and my voice not even enough to appeal consistently...

Now, that happens to be the way I write these days because I am interested in experimenting with writing. But do my experiments belong online? It's only because I am curious about what (if any) appeal the things I write might have that I approached blogging as an outlet.

So... where am I, exactly? I like the way carrie's blog feels private yet open at the same time. I don't know. Let me go think about it.

Zafufilia said...


"...which was how I wanted to "blog."

should be

"which wasn't how I wanted to blog."

Zafufilia said...

That wasn't what I wanted to write.

This is.

steven edward streight said...

When I visited your profile, zaufufilia, I saw no blog title listed.

If you have a blog, with experimental writing, I'd like to see it.

Zafufilia said...

It is

There are various bits and pieces up there. Some may be worthwhile. Others less so. I have not really been keeping up with it. I've been busy.

I am interested in what makes something "readable" and something else "not readable" (popular vs. not popular, etc.) ...

So far I can say my blog has mostly been "unpopular." And I found myself wondering how I COULD make it popular. Which was not the original question at all... if you follow. So i found myself getting carried away and pining for readers and such (only for about a second, though)... I guess anyone who writes wants to be read... But that's a dialogue that could take a lifetime...

Anyway. I enjoy reading your views. Thanks for being interesting. I hope you enjoy my "blog."

steven edward streight said...

I am about to go visit a few friends right now, but let me dash this off:

Once a blogger has a well written blog, a defined writing style, good design, etc., then the really hard part comes in:

visiting other blogs and posting comments on them that make people curious about visiting your blog.

This is a very key ingredient in blog popularity and promotion.

I don't believe, personally, in traffic exchanges or blog directories.

But posting very good, funny, smart, relevant comments is an effective approach.