What Will Make You A Better Blogger?

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You won’t find the answer in the field or in the sky.

What Will Make You A Better Blogger is the kind of headline I hate using because it caters to the lowest common denominator of how to get more readers.

All you need to do is blog about blogging and you’ll find more readers come flocking your way but unless you provide more substance than the 918,432 other people blogging about how to blog you’ll see your bounce rate soar.

I was thinking about it today because several people stumbled onto a post called

How To Write Powerful Headlines that isn’t the vanilla sort of post people think it is. I’ll share an excerpt with you, but I warn you in advance I am often unfiltered.

“This post may not be what you think and it is probably not safe for work. I just stumbled across another 198 posts about how to generate more traffic and they are all some version of a weak “how to” post that tells you that the writer doesn’t really understand what they are writing about but hope to get a little link juice from the headline.

It is reminiscent of the woman who says that she loves oral sex but what she really means is that sometimes she likes to lick it around the edges. Or to use a tired a sports analogy when you take the rock to the hole you better go up strong because otherwise we will knock you on your ass and laugh at you while you lie their flopping around like a dying fish.”

What will make you and I a better blogger isn’t going to be found in the same tired platitudes and silly advice that is passed around the blogosphere like a bong at a Grateful Dead concert.

We need to find a way to use our words to paint a picture that captures our reader’s attention and compels them to continue to read all the way through.

It needs to be something that helps them relate to us as people and encourages community.

That is part of why I installed Postmatic and part of what got me excited about It Is What Every Blogger Wants.

Because I saw flashes of the old time blogging community we used to see here and all over the blogosphere. I saw people talking not just with me, but to each other.

When you build a community the community helps to sustain each other and you.

I tell my children all the time that when you find a way to give back good things happen.

A Skill I Want To Learn

I am a big Johnny Cash fan.

One of my favorite songs is the cover he did of Nine Inch Nails song Hurt.

Why do I like Hurt?

Maybe it is because I love songs that tell a story and because I can relate to it. Maybe it is because when Johnny took it on he adapted it so that it told part of his story too.

Maybe it is all of those things and more.

But what caught my eye today was how someone took Johnny’s cover and integrated clips from Walk The Line into it.

I watched it three times and wished I had the skills to do something like this because to me it takes storytelling to a place beyond where I have normally been able to reach.

It adds another layer and that is something as a storyteller I always want to be able to do.

What Will Make Us Better Bloggers?

What will make us better bloggers?

The ability to add layers and complexity to our stories as needed.

Don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. You don’t always need an extra layer. Sometimes the best thing you can do is provide a very simple tale that involves a beginning, middle and an end.

But there are moments where you want and or need something more. It is like when you are on the highway and you push on the pedal and think that it would be cool if you had another gear to shift into.

Or if you are a geek like me you wish you were piloting the Millenium Falcon and were able to kick it into hyperspeed.

Never hurts when you are out running an Imperial Star Cruiser.

Anyway, you can add how to work with video and music to my list of things I want to learn.

How about you? What do you have to add?

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Comments

  1. I *have* to get more organized. And I resent the whole idea. Where’s the creativity, the excitement, the oomph and passion in that?!

    Arrrrgh.

    The difference btwn ‘hobby’ and ‘career’, I suppose.

    Being a grown up sucks.

    • I laughed when I read your comment because I just said “Being a grownup sucks” about an hour ago. Sometimes it really does.

  2. Renee McKinley says

    I’m a terrible blogger. I have two. One I use strictly for creative writing, mostly fiction, some memoir. And upon occasion, a whining board. The other hasn’t seen a word in a year. It’s the one where I used to share bits of my life. When I had one. My hope is to get back to both of them soon. But I’m waiting for some work changes to allow that.

    And then I want to study aromatherapy. Because…I’m “that” kind of geek.

    • Aromatherapy sounds like it might be interesting. I have too many blogs but I keep pounding out the content because it is my sanity and because I can’t tell people to just write if I don’t do it too. 🙂

      Hope things turn soon and you can get back to your writing.

  3. Jens-Petter Berget says

    Hurt is one of my favorite Johnny Cash songs as well.
    Stories are an important part of blogging, and I especially like personal stories I can relate to. That’s probably why I like Hurt too.
    Reading a lot makes us better. Writing a lot makes us better. And, crafting different stories based on personal experience. That’s the three elements I’ve been focusing on.

    • If those three elements aren’t the core of putting together a better post/product they are damn close.

      Add practice to it and there you go.

      • Jens-Petter Berget says

        One thing I’ve been thinking about is whether I should add blogging to my calendar or not. I only use my calendar for meetings, and if I need to be somewhere at a specific time and date. But, it might be a good thing to schedule time to write.

        Is this something you do?

        • I have not, but I have considered it.

          • Renee McKinley says

            I have seriously thought about “scheduling” writing time. If I have a specific time for it, that makes it priority for that period…right? Nothing could interfere, like grocery shopping, dinner, laundry, and stuff.

            • Jens-Petter Berget says

              That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about. I always look at my calendar in the morning, and if I have the time for writing scheduled in my calendar, I’ve been thinking that it’s a lot easier to make it happen.
                From: Renee McKinley (hello@email.gopostmatic.com) Sent: Saturday, April 25, 2015 08:10 PM To: jens@slymarketing.com Subject: Renee McKinley replied to Jack on What Will Make You A Better Blogger?
              The JackB Renee McKinley left a reply to a comment by Jack on What Will Make You A Better Blogger?:

              Renee McKinley I have seriously thought about “scheduling” writing time. If I have a specific time for it, that makes it priority for that period…right? Nothing could interfere, like grocery shopping, dinner, laundry, and stuff.

              Reply to this email to reply to Renee McKinley. Here’s a recap of this post and conversation: What Will Make You A Better Blogger? was published on April 23, 2015 by Jack.

              You won’t find the answer in the field or in the sky. What Will Make You A Better Blogger is the kind of headline I hate using because it caters to the lowest common denominator of how to get more readers. All you need to do is blog about blogging and you’ll find more readers[…]

              There were 16 comments previous to this. Here is this reply in context: Jens-Petter Berget Hurt is one of my favorite Johnny Cash songs as well. Stories are an important part of blogging, and I especially like personal stories I can relate to. That’s probably why I like Hurt too. Reading a lot makes us better. Writing a lot makes us better. And, crafting different stories based on personal experience. That’s the three elements I’ve been focusing on.

              Jack If those three elements aren’t the core of putting together a better post/product they are damn close.

              Add practice to it and there you go.

              Jens-Petter Berget One thing I’ve been thinking about is whether I should add blogging to my calendar or not. I only use my calendar for meetings, and if I need to be somewhere at a specific time and date. But, it might be a good thing to schedule time to write.

              Is this something you do?

              Jack I have not, but I have considered it.

              Renee McKinley I have seriously thought about “scheduling” writing time. If I have a specific time for it, that makes it priority for that period…right? Nothing could interfere, like grocery shopping, dinner, laundry, and stuff.

              Reply to this email to reply to Renee McKinley. Leave this conversation To no longer receive other comments or replies in this discussion reply with the word ‘unsubscribe’.

                  Enjoy this post? Share your thoughts below   Sent from The JackB. Delivered by Postmatic.

               

  4. I really want to learn more about video and music for my blog. It’s one of my goals for this year.

  5. I love the line about the Dead Concert – made me smile.
    Marketing/social media. If you want eyeballs, that is what it’s about. Being a solid writer who tells good stories is not enough – it’s expected.

  6. Hey Jack, I wish I knew. Somehow I¹m thinking that no matter what I do today I¹m not going to get the engagement I used to get when I blog-hopped all week. I can¹t help but wonder if that was what I really wanted anyway, a sort of reciprocal comment-leaving? It was fun and I met a lot of great people back then (and I miss that part) but were these people my ³market² or my support team. It¹s not reasonable to expect they will support me now when I don¹t support them now.
    It seems to me that the people who were the most frequent visitors on my porch are now busy with other projects, Read: successfully engaged. But then I¹ve only been around here since 2010. You¹ve seen a lot more changes than I have.
    At present I blog only once a month. I am not nearly as prolific a writer as you. But I¹m also working on my second book so most of my writing energy goes there.
    I¹m curious about two things: 1) are there still bloggers out there just getting started who enjoy the engagement we once and 2) what comes next in the evolution of blogging.
    🙂 Lori

    • Hi Lori,

      I think there are still bloggers who receive high levels of engagement. Can’t say exactly how or why because some of it is like asking why are some people popular and others aren’t.

      There is just some ‘magic’ that some people get a lot of and others not as much.

      For the rest of us I think increasing engagement is still effective, just time consuming and if you spend a lot of time on other platforms it is hard to do so on blogs too.

      That is where I see the biggest challenge, managing multiple platforms.

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