Due to a convoluted series of events, I ended up attending a “course” on how to write a good blog post. Let me make it clear, I did not attend by choice neither did this have anything to do with this present blog. It’s just that when people found out I already had a blog, they figured I “needed” to go.
Anywho, I showed up ready to be lectured on SEO (which I was) and show off my boundless knowledge (which it turns out I do not have), just to realize I have been writing a blog daily for over 2 years and I have been doing it wrong all this time. Like almost entirely wrong. It’s incredible I didn’t crack the internet yet. I just disappointed it…
I’ve really made way too many mistakes to list them all here so for now, these are the top 5 things I have been doing wrong all this time and will likely continue doing wrong!
5) No tangents
We were warned about this at least 3 times. People don’t want to go on wild tangents with you. At best, your readers will lose interest, at worst they’ll get annoyed. If by some miracle you happen to have the world’s most patient readership (which thankfully I do!), it still makes it very difficult to keep you post focused and to clearly bring your point across if you’re throwing in all kinds of irrelevant information!
Well I’m in trouble. My posts are like 60 to 80% tangents. That’s kind of my thing. I also just enjoy reading that way. One of the things I like so much about Neil Gaiman’s writing is that he weaves in so many different mythologies, historical events and random anecdotes. I often end up spending just as much time reading Wikipedia to look up references or random tales, he drops in his his narratives, as I do reading his books.
I’m not implying I’m Neil Gaiman. I wouldn’t dare. Then again, I have never seen us in the same room together. Hmmmmm… Maybe I am just writing this blog so poorly to throw you off the scent.
4) Fluff pieces is where it’s at
I’m not saying you can’t write a deep, insightful piece and have it get both recognized and celebrated. Generating an actual wroth while conversation is a great way to make your mark on the community and secure your place. But it’s tough and unreliable. And if what you’re after is views and likes, then nice, easily digestible fluff pieces is where it’s at! 300 words on anime girls with red hair is likely to get more hits and draw way more views than 1200 words on how to progression of women in the workplace in Japan has shaped the presentation of female characters in anime. Maybe not…but often yes.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying I write deep insightful posts. I know most of my musings fall somewhere between fluff and complete fluff. But I never actually set out to write them. I actually go out of my way to try and find subjects I haven’t read too much about because that’s usually what I find interesting. However, that’s apparently not that smart. Offering something unique is great but only if it’s familiar enough. And although I have nothing against trying out this rule in principal, I’m just not skilled at it.
3) Less is more
Did you know that people apparently have short attention spans? Have you already tabbed out? It’s o.k., I did too!
Yeah, people don’t like to spend too long on one thing apparently. And burying your audience in content is actually more likely to drive them away than keep them coming back. Shorter more frequent posts are better than longer ones (according to this dude – I don’t even know what his credentials are to be honest). Break up text with headers and pictures (wait I do that! – YAY!) but don’t put too many of those either (oooohhh nevermind… booooh).
Basically, keep you posts digestible. Both on word count and media inclusion. I think he said a perfect blog post should be between 1 and 3 minutes to read at most. I think this guy is underestimating how difficult I can be to understand. So I win?
2) Be yourself but not too much
The problem with being yourself is that most people aren’t you…
I really can’t argue this point but I wanted to. So yeah, you should be personable and posts, even professional ones, should sound like they are from your own voice. If you have a hobby or entertainment blog (like we tend to do in these here parts), very personal editorial type content is usually quite popular.
But, in order to not alienate your audience, you’re suppose to keep it at once personal and neutral. If you got passionate in your post, even it out by giving very lowkey comments that accept and acknowledge all points of view. Try to avoid hard stances. Talk about your feelings rather than your beliefs. Yada, yada.. this went on for a while. I sort of spaced out at some point.
I mean I get the general notion here and it’s not bad advice. I try to make sure my thoughts don’t sound like impositions and I am quite aware that I do not have the only acceptable impressions and thinking on everything, if such a thing even exists. But I still have thoughts. A lot of them are kinda weird and probably alienate some people. I think we can still have conversations about it. Could even be interesting…
1) Write about what people want to read about
So what’s the point of writing a post if no one’s gonna read it?
At this point I actually shot my hand up in the air, like Hermoine at her most annoying and said: To practice – For your own enjoyment – To experiment with writing techniques, editing styles or layout – to perfect certain elements you may find lacking in your own writing – to make sure your don’t loose your touch – to…
I was cut off. Apparently, the correct answer is: there is no point.
I have to give it to the guy, he soldiered on like a trooper. Laughing my little interruption off as if it was charming and not a pain in the behind that just threw his whole presentation off. Kudos guy whose name I won’t publish, you were good at your job!
I have in fact read this exact advice frequently and from many sources. Research your audience. Make sure you know what they want to read about and write about that. Not as in compromise your artistic integrity or anything. Although you can do that too if you like. They didn’t tell us not too. Still pick a subject you’re passionate about but within that subject, find a specific topic that your readers will want to know more about.
And this makes all the sense in the world. I should do this and keep telling myself to do this and then, I don’t do this. I think this entire post proves my point.
First, I just don’t have the time to figure out exactly what the greater anime community is focused on at any given moment. I sort of just talk to you guys… Sometimes on Twitter. But I also often miss out on the latest craze cause I’m deeply obsessed with a series that aired in 2014 but I’m watching for the first time…
Second, I’m a child. I find some little idea I get excited about or discover some new series and I have to tell you all about it right away! Even though no one asked. Cause it’s cool you see and I think maybe you’ll like it…
Yeah – I’ve been doing everything wrong for years. But that’s o.k.! Is there anything you’ve been doing wrong and are going to keep doing wrong?