I just finished reading a post at AClearEye.com that caused me to pause and reflect on what makes a blog worth reading. The post quoted Edward O. Wilson who said, "We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom."
We live in a hyper-information age. We are constantly inundated with messages, most of which are disconnected from one another. We watch the news channels as they flit from one story to another, with the only storyline connecting any of them being that it’s all bad news (All news is bad news one reporter told me). We drive down the street seeing billboard after billboard, all disconnected. We watch TV commercial after commercial, all disconnected. Same with radio; same with print media.
Enter blogs. There are over 9 million of the things out there now talking about every subject imaginable. Why would some be of more value than others? I had to ask myself the same thing about this and the other blogs I write. What makes them valuable enough for a person to spend two minutes reading, let alone bookmarking or subscribing to via RSS?
What makes a blog worth reading? Here are some reflections…
- It tells a continuous story. A blog worth reading has a thread that permeates each and every entry. That’s the beauty of blogs. Most are very niche-oriented. For example, in very practical language John Jantsch’s Blogging Business blog focuses on how small businesses in particular can make use of blogs. Read Chris Mercer’s fine blog Mercer on Value and you’ll gain incredible insights to business valuation and investment banking. Darren Rowse’s blog Problogger teaches you how to make money using blogs. And on it goes.
Takeaway: A blog worth reading has a targeted focus.
- It’s well-written. I don’t mean that its Pulitzer prize-winning material necessarily. Few of us have the capability to write with the same adroitness as speechwriter/copywriter Jane Genova. What I mean is, we speak from what we know. We write about those things that we not only care about, but on which we have at least a modicum of expertise. We speak both from the heart and mind, sharing what we have learned and are learning.
Takeaway: A blog worth reading is written by a trusted guide others can follow.
- It has something to say. No one cares what you had for breakfast. Few care that you got stuck in traffic while taking your kids to school. They may care if you can use those experiences as examples or illustrations to tell a more important to-the-point story. So many blogs are filled with banality. They are written with very little forethought and discernment.
Takeaway: A blog worth reading is thoughtfully-written.
- It is reader focused. Someone once said, "Get over yourself." It never, NEVER pays to take yourself too seriously. A blog is an easy place to show off. Selfishness is not a virtue when it comes to blogging (Is selfishness ever a virtue in any respect?) Just as the real estate agent may say the three things that give a property value are "location, location, location," I would suggest the three things that make a blog worth reading are "the reader, the reader, the reader." Mr. or Ms. Blogger, it’s not about you! It’s about them.