Monday, September 27, 2010


What's your blogging style?

Over the last six months, at least a dozen of my friends, coworkers and business associates have solicited advice from me regarding starting their own blog. The first question I ask them is for them to define their style...

There are a variety of reasons to blog ranging from using it to share knowledge and ideas to simply writing for marketing purposes. Regardless of the motivation, how you blog requires you to think about the style of your blog upfront. Below is my attempt at enumerating all of the approaches I have seen in my travels.

The Instruction Post
This gives the reader a set of instructions that delivers an end result. They are consistently the highest traffic generating blog posts so you should feature regularly on your blog.

The Information Post
One of the most common posts out there, just think Wikipedia. If you provide an answer to questions that others seek, your traffic will jump.

The Review Post
Whenever people are looking to purchase a product or service, they jump to google to find the opinion of others before making a purchasing decision. In this type of posting, any opinion is almost always better than no opinion at all.

The List Post
A post frequently favored by IT executives who are busy and eschew reading with the preference towards scanning a page. Typically these posts start with top ten type headlines.

The Interview Post
Sometimes consumers are less interested in hearing from the marketing department and their chock-a-block eye candy blog entry that lacks substance but do want to hear from industry peers and their perspectives. Sometimes readers want to know how they can prevent the same mistakes others have made so try to spice up your blog by adding the human element to a regular basis.

NOTE:James McGovern is available to participate in interview style postings

The Case Study Post
These types of postings tend to be very informative but are useful to readers who actually read. In the world of Twitter where everything is a sound-bite, this style of posting is on the decline. If you are going to use this style of blog post, I recommend a little humility is in order. How about emphasizing the negative instead of the positive. Instead of hyping the "cost savings" that is so overused, instead admit why and where a project/customer may have struggled and what could have been done differently in hindsight. This will aid in adding credibility/authenticity.

The Profile Post
This is similar to the case study post except that instead of focusing on a product or service, the target tends to be a person. The blog post may analyze how people have gotten to the top in their profession, how they run their business, etc. This type of posting is very popular and provides a simple way to add a bit of variety and human interest to your blog.

The Link Post
One of the most popular, if you have nothing to say, you can always link to someone who has. This style was very popular several years ago but at some level may be declining in that linking has moved more to Twitter.

The Problem Post
Have you witnessed a problem that many people are struggling with that you have resolved? Share a solution with others and gain acceptance. This type of post typically is shared and amplified by its readers over other styles.

The X versus Y Post
If you take a look at any of the technology forums you see these kind of debates played out every day but you can also address issues other than technology. By drawing some personal conclusions you instantly create a divide in the community as some will favor one approach over an other. A great divide is important for generating commentary so don't hold back! From incite comes insight.

The Rant Post
Passion is the spice of life and putting it in your blog can help you create a more human element. If you've experienced a frustrating experience due to poor data quality, don't just complain to your partner and friends, get blogging about it!

NOTE: I have written way too many posts in this category

The Inspirational Post
The opposite to a rant is to tell a story of how someone successfully implemented a strategy and explore how it changed their business or them personally.

The Research Post
These can take more effort than other posts but if you have a moderate customer base or large network already then a short survey on important topics can help gather information others may value.

The Collation Post
This post focuses on a particular topic and gathers a range of content to help the reader understand more. The reason is obvious, anything that saves people time by helping them get answers in one location is guaranteed to get them coming back for more. Listing your competitors is a great idea that should be explored.

The Prediction Post
You don't have to be a Gartner analyst in order to make a prediction. Add your thoughts and predictions to generate some debate. It may help stimulate innovation in the area discussed.

The Debate Post
One of the most popular ways of getting people engaged but if you look at a lot of the data quality blogs this blog type doesn't feature all that often. A blog is not a one-way street for pushing information at your readers. Create commentary by posting debates on contentious or popular data quality subjects.

The Hypothetical Post
Not a very common one this but think about a potential future situation or event and hypothesize on it to spark some debate and engagement from your readers.

The Award/Prize/Quiz Post
These are great posts because they typically are infectiously spread and don't require that much effort to create. Propose to give away books, tickets to an event or other prize.

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