I realized last week, much to my own surprise, that I actually read blogs all the time. I don’t actively follow any bloggers, so I’ve never considered myself to be a blog reader, per say. However, when I started paying attention to my online habits while doing some blogging research, I noticed that much of what I read on the internet comes from the blog section of a news outlet or website. Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, and so I don’t misrepresent myself as a savvy, in-the-know person who reads the news every day, I read a lot of clickbait (like almost exclusively). But even most clickbait is posted in blog format, too. These days, everyone from The New York Times to the Kardashians have a blog, so for my third and final experiment for the gateway course, I’ve decided to do a blog post about the ways in which the female body, and subsequently women’s healthcare, is policed by today’s society. Blogs are very much personalized to who is writing them and why. There are probably infinitely many ways to write a blog, but there are some simple conventions that can help your post stack up against all the other cool and distracting things on the internet. So, here are a few steps to making a blog post, which I’ve written in a blog post (so meta):
- Who Do You Know Here: Much like a frat house, the internet has a constant tide of people coming and going, saying vulgar things, and leaving their messes for other people to clean up. That’s why your mom told you not to trust everything you read online. And that has never been more true than in today’s world, where literally any human can post their opinions for the whole world to see. They don’t even have to use proper grammar or spell check! The audacity. So, when you write a blog post, the most important step is to construct and retain credibility as a writer. Otherwise, everything you say holds no bearing on the reader, as they will deem you to be just another loon preaching into the empty void that we call the internet. This first step is actually twofold, as it includes where you post your blog, and how you write your blog. So, here we go…
- Location, Location, Location: As any real estate agent would tell you, it’s all about location. Now, I’m not a real estate agent, but I can tell you that there are some locations on the internet that you would prefer not to explore. That is why your blog post should be positioned somewhere people do want to explore! This might mean being a guest blogger on an already established blog site. Or, you might consider posting on community forums. For example, the blog Feministing has a community forum where anyone can post, and exceptional posts are often featured on the main site. Forums such as this give you a chance to connect with your intended audience, while at the same time giving your post the opportunity for more exposure if it lands a spot on the main page. Where you post is very important for credibility, as it sets the tone for how your work is perceived. If you post on more credible sites, you are seen as more credible. However, if you want to start you own blog, go for it! Just be sure to build an atmosphere of responsible and thoughtful posting, and you’ll be internet famous in no time.
- Watcha Say (mmh that you only meant well, well of course you did): As the great Jason Derulo once lyricized, we all have moments where well-meaning intentions go awry. It happens to Jason Derulo, it happens in life, and it happens in writing. The second part of staying credible revolves around how you write your post, which means making a conscious effort to write in a way that will portray your opinion in a clear and concise manner, lest it be misconstrued. Now, blog posts tend to be informal and conversational, so this doesn’t mean you have to write academically in all of your blogs from here on out to build credibility. I touched on this a bit when I mentioned “responsible and thoughtful posting.” Everyone has the urge to throw away their filter sometimes, especially over heated topics, and some of the best writing can come from that type of passion. This is even easier to do on a blog, where you can type up a post in minutes and publish with the simple click of a button. However, if you want to remain credible it is SO important to write responsibly (i.e. use real facts and research when needed), and thoughtfully (i.e. think about how your words might affect various groups, don’t be hurtful or hateful). Doing so will always make for better writing, but it’s even more important when you’re posting on the internet, which has a free, and often unmonitored, flow of thoughts and ideas. Your post could end up halfway around the world in just a few clicks.
- So, I Heard You Read Mom Blogs: Okay, guys, the cat is out of the bag. Yes, I often find myself reading mom blogs on Facebook. Do they pertain to my life in any way? Most definitely not. Do I still find myself reading Scary Mommy posts on the reg, and laughing out loud? Yes, yes I do. And therein lies the essence of a great blog post. Scary Mommy doesn’t share content that is relevant to me. It doesn’t have writers who represent my current demographic at this point in my life. It doesn’t even have a name that might make me think “well that sounds like something I should read.” No matter, I find myself reading that blog because it entertains me even though I am not the primary audience. In the blogosphere, a post can go anywhere, so having a post that connects to not just your primary readers, but you audience invoked, as well, matters. After all, at the end of the day, I want everyone reading my blog post, not just the people who already agree with me.
- It’s Nothing Personal: Blogs are, in essence, just a more polished, public version of their authors. Perhaps this is true to some extent with all writing, but the casual nature of a blog exacerbates this phenomenon. There are, of course, more formal blog posts out there. However, as a whole, blog posting is characterized by discussing topics in a very human way—much like the manner in which a conversation is held. Nowadays, there is an ever-expanding network of blogs covering everything under the sun. Seriously guys, there is a blog dedicated solely to avocados (it’s called The Scoop Blog, and I would check it out for some wonderful avo recipes). But they’re all strung together in the same genre by the way they are told as a personal narrative. In many lifestyle blogs, posts are often a bit like a confessional, where the writer admits their missteps, and then shares what they have learned through their imperfections. Blogs can be comedic, honest, touching, and everything in between. But the best ones have a personal touch, and make you feel like you’re right there with the writer, having a good chat. Write whatever it is you have to say, be that a blog on fashion or female healthcare, in a way that is aggressively “you.” Whatever your personal style may be, find it and hold on to it for dear life, because writing for all the internet to see might be a bumpy ride, folks.