Blogging is just a tactic. Without a strategy, most tactics end up impotent, costly, and disappointing.
Without a solid strategy to focus your blogging efforts, you’ll end up creating something that is – at best – narcissistic, irrelevant, or boring. At worst, you may end up with something offensive, irritating or just plain pointless. Sound harsh? Well, how many blogs have you seen? Now, how many of them do you actually read?
It’s much easier (and feels really good) to be actively doing something (a tactic). Strategy can be deceptively difficult with no black or white guarantees. It doesn’t always feel as good to wrestle with difficult strategy questions as it does to get something done. Skipping right to the tactic is just another form of instant gratification.
But, I know that in reality, you don’t just want to get something out there. You want it to work. Ultimately you have a purpose and you are hoping for some kind of result. So, how do you give your blog the power to get results? How can you be sure you give it wings to soar, inspire, make a difference, make money, make change?
Why. Why are you writing a blog?
Who. Who is the blog for?
What. What are you trying to accomplish?
In other words, by having a strategy.
Once you apply strategy to a blog, you end up with a focus and a distinct character.
Here are seven blog ‘types’ that all have both focus and character and illustrate some common, effective strategies.
- The “Chronicle” Blog. This blog is all about the journey or the story. The story may be all you, or it may be about a school being built in Africa, but because it is a story you will be focused on building characters that the readers care about, transporting them into the story with vivid visual and emotional writing and moving the plot forward.
- The “Current” Blog. What do technology and super models have in common? As Heidi Klum would say, “one day you’re in, then next day you’re out.” The author of this ‘update’ style of blog aims to keep the reader ‘in the know’ by following and reporting on an endless supply of new events, developments, changes, etc, in a particular industry , community or on a specific topic.
- The “Classroom” Blog. This is the blog that features tutorials, explanations, guides. There may be diagrams, video demonstrations, or step-by-step instructions, or perhaps just a narrative put out by an expert in a field who has chosen a blog as a medium for dispensing their hard won expertise in small digestible parts for their fans, students, or followers.
- The “Celebrity” Blog. This is pretty self explanatory (and probably fairly self adulatory). The purpose is clear…feed the voracious fans (and perhaps the media) event dates, photos, biographical info, the results of your hard work and perhaps a glimpse into your personal life.
- The “Curio” Blog. One of my favorites. Think Gil Grissom – the ‘bug guy’ – on the long running popular TV crime show CSI. If he had a blog, it would probably be a virtual representation of the growing bug collection adorning the walls of his (tv) office and home. Like a Curio cabinet, this blog gives the author a forum for displaying collected items, collected information, or sharing any ongoing series of thematically related items or ideas. You don’t have to tell a story. There needn’t be characters. It is probably not related to current events. It may be informative, but there doesn’t have to be any profound lesson learned or skill acquired. What you do need, probably, is an obsession and some free time.
- The “Conversation” Blog. This blog is about conversation, community and connection. The interaction, not the author’s opinion, is the point. Heavy on the comments, and often sporting multiple authors or moderators, this blog is about shared experience, connection, networking, a shared interest, and occasionally debate.
- The “Commercial” Blog. The most overused and least valuable (to the reader) is this type of ‘teaser’ blog – which has as its purpose to give the reader just enough information to build curiosity and trust so that there can be a financial transaction in the near future. Not all strategies are good strategies.
These are just examples of what happens when people with a strategy chose a blog as one of their content tactics. You don’t have to choose one of these formats (although you could if it fits your strategy). The point is to have a strategy so that your blog has a focus, direction, and character that makes sense to your readers and gives structure and purpose to your posts.
What all these blog ‘styles’ have in common is that they know Why they are blogging. They know Who they are talking to and they know what they are trying to be and do.
What are you trying to do? Why?