In response to my post, Speechless, I have been asked to elaborate on writing for a blog. As I began writing this post, I found it to be a larger topic than I first assumed. As such, I will break this topic up over several posts to be published over several days.
First, we have to separate the different types of blogs that exist. Please note that the names I have assigned to these differing blog types are my own design, and should not be taken as industry standards or lingo.
Corporate blogs are websites built on a blog structure in order to quickly update their publications. Web newspapers, web magazines, political web sites, and others use blog structures, allowing them to have several editors and authors making daily posts, keeping their content constantly evolving.
These blogs use a large number of authors and editors to create their content, while using the blog structure to maintain a consistent appearance for the site. Any given author may experience writers’ block, but the overall team keeps the web site’s pages flowing. You know the types of blogs I’m talking about. You probably visit one every now and then. They range from political ranting sites to useful sites like WebMD.
Some blogs are the store front for a business. Often the business is small, perhaps owned and operated by a single individual who is also managing the website. A blog is an easy way for the individual to provide information on the business and update the website as needed.
In these cases the blog represents a single idea, the lawyer, designer handbags, cheap t’s, or website design, for example. Once the lawyer has described all of his or her services and where he or she is located, or the web designer has delineated all of the services they have to offer, the author may feel the job is done.
That said, I will argue that the owner of a Business blog should treat their blog like a Corporate blog. The business needs traffic. To drive business to the blog they should engage their readers. Traffic is driven by continual change, daily posts of engaging ideas.
Some blogs express a single, specific idea or topic such as Fine Dining, or Mountain Climbing, or My Trips to Europe. These are often managed by a single individual. These types of blogs bear some similarity to Business blogs in that they are focused on a single concept. However, being topic specific, there are a limited number of opportunities for posts. A book on a given topic has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is confined.
The blog structure works nicely for the dissemination of this type of information. It is like writing a book, working on each page and chapter as you get to it. There isn’t the need to create daily additions. The author may not have published a new post for years, having said all they wish to say on the topic. Still, if someone searches for ‘Trips to Europe,’ the blog will show up. These blogs do not cater to daily readers. They target topic readers.
Then there is the personal blog, much like this one. Personal blogs are more like a personal diary or journal. The author, usually a single individual, creates pages and posts around their own experiences and thoughts. There really isn’t a topic other than the individual themselves. Having said that, I must point out that there are two subtypes of Personal blogs: Diary, and Platform.
Personal Blog – Diary:
Some personal blogs are pure diaries. The author is not interested in reaching out to a broad audience. They may even lock their blog from everyone except family. Personal Blog Diaries or Journals can contain anything, poems, song lyrics, what they did today, thoughts, musings, virtually anything. However, the author may not publish regularly, or often. They are not reaching out to a growing audience. They are informing a select audience. They are doing what diary writers have done for centuries, making notations about the events of their lives for future generations to explore. The author of a diary or journal may publish only their yearly Christmas or New Years letter, where they catch everyone up with what has been going on with the author.
In many ways the Diary blog is similar to the Topic Blog. The topic is the author. There is no need to make daily posts. The readership is those interested in the topic, the author. In a sense Facebook serves the same sort of function. If you close your Facebook page off to everyone except your friends, then you have a Diary.
Personal Blog – Platform:
Personal Platform blogs are very similar to Diary blogs. However, the author is trying to reach a wide and growing audience. They may write exactly the same sort of thing as the author of a diary, but they want the blog to be received by a larger group and would like the number of blog readers to grow.
This puts the author in a unique situation. The Personal Platform author straddles a fence between the need for rapidly changing content, like the Corporate blog, and the more relaxed approach of the Diary or Topic blog. Like the Corporate blog, the Personal Platform author needs to engage their readership. They should publish fairly often. They are not targeting a topic reader. They are catering to the daily reader, readers that are more interested in the writing itself rather than the topic of discussion.
Next post on this topic will discuss the Blog Post’s Structure.