Making Blogs Great Again

Posted by on May 16th, 2016

Everyone has a different reason or reasons to start and maintain a blog. Similarly, nearly everyone who doesn’t have a blog shares the same reasons for not having one – lack of time and/or a consistent set of ideas to discuss. Simply put, these people (possibly you) don’t understand blogs or their readership. The best blogs are brief and concise.

I’m not breaking any new ground here, nor do I need to cite the scientific data which indicates attention spans are shorter than they were a generation or even ten years ago. The ability to acquire information in 140 characters has rendered the extended texts which cover much of the same ground as superfluous. A blog disguised as a white paper is not only unnecessary, but also unreadable to the majority of modern readers. If you can’t communicate the main point of the blog in the first paragraph (like I did for this blog), your readers will lose interest and seek out sources which do get to their points faster.

Don’t get me wrong, stories with a payoff at the end – be they mysteries, 10-episode shows on Netflix, or told by Paul Harvey – are fun and worthwhile. But most blog readers have neither the time nor the patience for your big reveal. I subscribe to the theory that every press release, byline, or blog post loses 50 percent of its audience every sentence that follows the second sentence. It helps your chances of retaining readers if your writing is very compelling, but more often than not, even the most elegant writer is competing against a constantly refreshing Twitter feed, new emails, instant messages, and phone calls. The sooner and the shorter you can tell the readers everything you want them to know, the better the blog.

Blogs are great. They’re an easy outlet for saying anything, from the most profound policy point to the most random observation about the public’s subsiding hate for Justin Bieber  – I can’t help it, that his ‘you should go and love yourself’ song is so listenable – or the Cubs’ fast start.   They allow you or your brand to engage with your audience, introduce you to potential clients, and, if you mention the appropriate topics, build your SEO. But, like everything else in 2016, they need to be snack-size and leave the reader hungry for more.