Improve your blogging - Learn from 300 years of blogging experience

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  • 1. Improve your blogging – Learn from 300 years of blogging experience!
    Navin Kabra
    @ngkabra and @punetech on twitter
  • 2. Those who blog for readers
    NOT: those who blog for self-expression
    Target of this talk
  • 3. A blog
    is a
    mini-newspaper /magazine
  • 4. Gather info
    Publish, rinse, repeat
    What does a newspaper do?
  • 5. Gather: Constantly thinking about what to blog
    Select: Deciding if something is appropriate for blog or not
    Expand/Improve: Collecting further information
    Opine: Add own opinions
    Rinse, Repeat
    A blogger does the same
  • 6. Traditional media has perfected some aspects of this
    Learn from them
    Traditional Media =300 years of blogging!
  • 7. Media spends much more time/effort (as a percentage of their total effort) on this aspect.
    Most bloggers don't focus so much on this aspect
    Blogger: I'll blog about whatever I think about.
    Not good enough!
    Gather: Media vs. Blogs
  • 8. Newspaper reporters can't say we'll write about whatever news we run into as we go about our lives.
    They have to seek out all news that their readers interested in.
    Same with your blog.
    meetu/wogma can't review whatever movies she happens to see.
    Must watch all Hindi movies and review them
    Gather: Blogs should do more
  • 9. Google Alerts (subscribe for keywords related to your area)
    Twitter (use “search columns” on tweetdeck or seismic desktop)
    Mailing lists (join as many relevant lists as you can)
    Events (attend all relevant offline events)
    Syndicate content (seek out content by other bloggers and ask permission to republish on your blog)
    Gather – How?
  • 10. Don't blog everything that comes to your mind
    Think about what your readers are interested in
    Reader more important than Writer
  • 11. Newspapers have a space crunch
    Blogs have an imaginary space crunch
    Can’t waste readers’ time with too much content
    Can only fit limited stuff on first page
    Select – Space Crunch
  • 12. Don’t blog everything – drop less relevant content
    Reduce size of each blog post
    Have subsections
    Relegate some stuff to subsections
    Front page has just links to subsection articles
    Get an editor for your blog (friend, spouse)
    Someone who brutally tells you which posts are boring
    Select – Space Crunch – Ideas from newspapers
  • 13. Newspapers/magazines don’t
    just excerpt another publication’s
    article with an excerpt & link
    Neither should you!
    Don’t just echo
    Add value
    Check for accuracy – confirm info independently
    Add alternative points of view
    Add more info (wikipedia, etc)
    Improve / Expand
  • 14. You’re already doing most of this!
    But consider:
    Opinions by guest bloggers
    Posts containing your opinion & and
    one opposing opinion
    Imitate Newspaper Columnists
    Develop a distinctive style
    Have a consistent opinion
    Opinion Pages
  • 15. Other things to learn from traditional media
  • 16. No-one has time to read all your blog posts
    Even those reading your post, don’t read each sentence in detail
    Everybody skims!
    Write so as to hook the skimmers
    Write for skimmers
  • 17. Newspapers spend lots of time on headlines
    Sometimes headline writers are different from the reporters
    Headlines grab attention
    Good for SEO
    Spend lot of time thinking of an interesting (clickable) headline
    Which should also contain appropriate keywords (for SEO)
    Write for skimmers - Headlines
  • 18. Newspapers give a quick overview in first paragraph
    And then fill in details in rest of article
    So those who read just one para still get the whole story
    Try doing the same
    Your content reaches more minds
    Write for skimmers – First paragraph
  • 19. Photos most “looked at” parts of newspapes/magazines
    Skimmers can’t “avoid” photos
    Then high probability of reading captions
    Tell your story in photos and captions
    Write for skimmers – Add photos and captions
  • 20. Break up long articles into sub-sections
    Give useful sub-headlines to subsections
    Use “excerpt boxes”
    This hooks reader “just glancing” over article
    Study how magazines do this
    Write for skimmers – Sub-headings
  • 21. Which is correct?
    Write to show your command over language
    Write to be easily understood
    Write to NOT be misunderstood!!
    Small sentences
    Simple words
    Avoid ambiguous constructions
    Get an editor!
    Radical Clarity
  • 22. Links
    Further reading
    Cite Sources
  • 23. Much more effort into gathering data
    Be selective about what you post
    Expand/Improve: Dig into the story
    Write for skimmers (headlines, pics, sections)
    Radical Clarity
  • 24.
    • NavinKabra
    • 25. Background: Computer Science - B.Tech, IIT-Bombay, Ph.D., U-Wisconsin, USA
    • 26. Currently: Co-founder at
    • 27. But: Better known for my websites!
    • 28.,
    • 29. Twitter: @ngkabra, @punetech
    • 30. More info:
    • 31. Email:
    • 32. Linked-in:
    About the author(aka blatant self-promotion)