Tag Archives: Blogging / Live Blogging

05 Jan

How do you blog? Just do it

As part of my recent New Year Resolutions I mentioned blogging – and more specifically, how I’d like to blog more.

Here are a few of my thoughts about the process.

But I wonder – what stops you from blogging more often?

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What I like about blogging is the fact you don’t need to spend hours slaving over an article, creating a story arc or creating a masterpiece – you just need to get the information out there, whether that takes 3/4 paragraphs or a photograph with  comment.

However, that’s one of the hardest things to teach someone else, whether it’s a student or a client who wants to develop their own blog.

Students or clients will always produce a “print style” for their first few blog posts.

Also, I’m not saying that you should NOT write long form posts, just don’t wait weeks to post, if you have a nice thought buzzing around your head. 

The problem is, unless you are an experienced writer, with hours to spend, this long-form writing style is VERY time consuming.

I don’t know the number of blog posts I currently have in DRAFT mode, because

  • I ran out of time
  • I ran out of ideas
  • The idea was never “finished”

In fact, if I’d simply posted the bare bones of the idea I may have received some interesting feedback or ideas to move the post forward.

So why are new bloggers so reluctant to post short unstructured updates?

  • habit
  • personal satisfaction
  • professionalism
  • keeping client work under wraps
  • keeping work-in-progress under wraps
  • writing is your “thing”

Habit

tumblr-webtreatsetcBy the time young people reach university they have (more than likely) just finished 4 years of exams. If they are coming across me at Uni, there’s a good chance they’ve been studying humanities – traditionally the more essay-based subjects.

For them, producing a piece of work is about the introduction, content, summary and conclusion.

Similarly, clients I work with are still locked into the idea of long-form reports, and even hark back to the days of university or school essays.

PLUS, people are still tied to this “newspaper/magazine” article idea – even the younger generations – as they’re as exposed to long-form structured articles via sites like BBC News and newspaper sites as the rest of us. Every piece that appears online is a long form essay, or article.

Personal Satisfaction

There is something fulfilling about writing a well structured article. It’s the closest thing many of us  will get to being “published” – and it’s a rush.

We all know that a paragraph featuring some disorganized ideas or random ramblings would not end up in The Guardian, so why should it end up on your blog?

However, if you get around to writing one brilliantly-structured article, then what are you proving? Not much.

You can show off your ideas, your creativity and your writing talent just as well with short, more frequent posts.

Professionalism

blogger-logo-square-webtreatsetcIt does require a level of bravery to just “put it out there” – you’re opening your self up to criticism and potential ridicule.

What if people think I’m biased or an idiot?

You know the answer?- be honest, tell the world that you are just “putting it out there”

Start your blog post by explaining what you are about to say – ie “I’ve been thinking about XXX. I know there’s a big debate there – here are some of my early thoughts but I’d love to know what you think”

Immediately the reader is not expecting a well-formulated article, but a jumping-off point – a debate that then can get involved in.

Keeping Client Work under wraps

It makes sense that, if you are working on a confidential client project that you would not want to blog about it in small bites.

You don’t want to breach a confidence – and that’s commendable. However, you may attract more work if you show you are actually doing something.

Talk to your client – you never know they may be happy for you to write about your experiences and work in progress.

I tend to blog about my client design work on a Tumblr site but I keep it very theoretical, never revealing the final art work (until the client has) but I simply muse about the process and any hitches.

Talk to your client – you never know, they may be glad for the extra exposure.

Keeping your BIG PROJECT under wraps

Say you’re working on a big TV documentary, launching a start-up or writing a book.

Why on earth would you put all that online for everyone to see, when someone could easily steal your idea?

Writers sending pitches to large media organisations are always encouraged to mail a copy of the manuscript to themselves as well, a trick that can be useful for future copyright claims.

Think about this: if you blog about this – you’re automatically taking ownership. You’re telling the world that this is YOUR idea, and that you are already working on it.

In addition – by showing you’re working-out (like you were encouraged to in maths and science exams) you’re showing you are genuine, knowledgeable and open.

And who wouldn’t be interested in that?

 

Writing is your “thing”

I know writers. For them, putting anything out into the world that is not completed, polished and a masterpiece would be a crime. For them, writing is their thing, and everything they put online is their portfolio.

Maybe the answer here is multiple blog sites?

Despite all my musings on “short blog posts”, most of the ones on this site are structured ideas (albeit written in one sitting)

However I tend to use my several Tumblr sites for less structured brain dumping.

If writing is your craft, and you want to keep your portfolio site pure – why not branch out and use a separate site for more informal musings? Link to it, don’t link to it – that’s up to you – but it does give you an outlet to relax a little

 

So come on then – what about you? How do you blog?

10 May

Corporate blogging: your thoughts

I am currently looking into the controversial world of corporate blogging as part of my MA Online Journalism at BCU

I have found a massive anti-campaign towards “ghost” or “proxy”  blogging, i.e. writing a blog under someone else’s name.  This is often seen as deception and goes against the transparent ethic of blogging.  However it seems to be big business with more companies realizing they need to be online but don’t have the skills or the time to do it.

What about corporate blogging on behalf of a company? Is this equally deceptive?

There is another issue: editorial integrity.

If you are being paid to blog you are simply a copywriter, right? You are not being paid to criticise the company or the brand – you must toe the line.

Are any companies embracing transparency to the point where they are happy to see their own company blog attack them?

I’d love your thoughts. Thank you.

07 Feb

Blogging: what is it worth?

Bloggers are often considering to be inferior to “proper journalists”.

Whether the argument is about training, responsibility, impartiality or audience, they are often treated as second class online-citizens, despite the fact many are competing with, and in some cases, filling a gap left by a declining traditional media.

However, there is a definite gray area when it comes to money.

Journalists are paid to do their job. They work for a title, receive a salary or a freelance rate whether the are writing straight copy or opinion pieces. Bloggers, however, are often seen as hobbyists – members of the public who have an interest and like to write about it.

So can you make a living out of blogging, and if so, how?

The problem is, perception. Surely a blogger asking to be paid is like a computer games nerd being asked to play World of Warcraft. They’ll do it anyway, so why pay them? More often than not, bloggers just want to get the word out there.

However, the difference between a games nerd and a blogger is exposure.

Yes, the gamer may tell all of his friends how great World of Warcraft is, but a blogger may tell thousands.

Hence, some advertisers will pay bloggers to talk up their products. Remember the much criticised Pay Per Post site, where bloggers earned money based on how many posts, links and positive comments they made. Why? because people believe blogs. In the same way advertisers PAY for full page spreads in magazines, that look like regular copy, so a blogger with a financial motive can be a powerful marketing tool. A concern about Pay Per Post was that bloggers were not required to admit they were being paid to review that product. Deceptive? More, a loophole in ever developing web that won’t stay open for long.

Are these bloggers actually bloggers? Yes they have blogs, that may, in the past have contained their personal opinions, but now they are writing to order.

Have these the bloggers become now become journalists, or copywriters? Surely copywriters, if they are being paid to write for the company.

Which brings me to my quandry.

How do you make that jump from hobbyist to professional moneymaking blogger? And do you have to sell your soul to the man in order to do it?

And should you ask a company to pay you, if they ask you to live-blog their event or product for it to appear on your own site?

All content (c) Caroline Beavon 2020