Last time around, I floated that blogs are best for writing about small things (you know: toaster smudges rather than world peace), and today I’ve got another deep-down true tip for those of you wanting your blogs to be great.*
* And by great, here’s what I mean: really great, readable blogs are the sorts of places where you settle in and want to know more. When you’re finished reading one thing, you sort of want to dig around and click for another. You lean in when you read. This sort of great blog is to be distinguished from really popular blogs that have gorgeous pictures and oftentimes solid writers but leave us feeling a little like we want to go eat pasta after or drink a little gin–the sorts of blogs that make us wonder whether we should be making what we’re making or whether or not our children will in fact stay out of jail since their rooms look so UnDecorated and their birthday parties so LessThan. I’m running out ahead here and waving my arms and saying to you (even though we haven’t met yet): Write a blog that makes people lean in. Write a blog that people want to come back to because they feel glad when they read it. Write a blog that stays real.
So here’s the tip: only ask a question if you actually want to hear the answer.
Somewhere about five years or so ago a lot of really nice people started attending blogging conferences that promised to help them drive up traffic. One of those suggestions must have been to ask a question at the end of a post, because all of a sudden all blog posts ended with a question. It was set up as a sort of “hook.” The tricky part, of course, though is that we can all tell when somebody asks a question that they don’t really care if we answer. It’s sort of like
when you’re standing at a party and somebody asks you how you are and then you see them glancing over your shoulder to see who else is coming in.
So I say, save your questions. Treat them like something precious. Because they’re one of the bridges from you over to your readers. And if your readers believe that you want to hear from them, they’re likely to answer you in ways that will make you lean in (and not go eat pasta out of your own fridge.)
Next Time Around: Write About When You Screw Up*
*Here goes, friends: is there something different that you’d like to hear about within the football field of writing blogs? Anything that you’ve got questions about? (You can bet I really want to know.)