So many blog entries - so little time. It's the blessing and the curse of the internet: You get to hear a lot of voices.

Personally, my head hurts. I'm guessing I'm not alone.

So what can make a blog entry stand out from the masses? I ask not only because I'm curious - but also because I'm interested in hearing your thoughts of my interpretation of creating a "Purple Cow" of a blog entry - using TV News rules.

I used to work as a reporter in television news. I'm one of a growing group of ex-"traditional journalists" who have transitioned to new media. I can't help but wonder what tools of the trade translate from TV to the Web.

As an amateur blogger through the years, and now since 'going pro' with the company I now work for, I can't help but think some of the same principles may apply:
1. Commitment
2. Show Me Something
3. Why Should You Care?

A quick primer:

Like in any good TV News story, you should be able to explain the point of the story in 3 words. If you need more than that - you're wandering - and your viewers will be able to tell. If you stick to the focus with every line of copy and soundbite, you'll have a good story. This also helps with keeping your story concise. Over a minute and 2o seconds - in most cases - you'll lose people. (applying that to blogs - I'm sure I've lost people on this post already).

Show Me Something:
It's why you see the tv reporter out in the snow, live, off to the side of the backed-up freeway, during every winter storm:

It's TV: Show me something.

The theory my old News Director gave me was "newspaper provides depth, radio provides immediacy, and TV provides live sound and pictures". In that light, here's the beauty of a blog: you can provide all of that - with the consumer deciding what part of the 'something' they want. If you have hot news about a position, you can provide the immediacy through Twitter: Boom, it shows up on the blackberry - 140 characters or less - message sent. You can provide the visual by posting a description of the job on your blog. And finally, you can provide depth by linking to the actual job. With a blog, you are "showing me something" on multiple levels. (obviously there are countless examples of this)

Why Should You Care?
This is by far the most difficult part in both television and on blogs: how do you appeal to someone to stay tuned (or simply click on your link)? What's in it for the viewer? Why should they care?
Obviously you have to know your audience. That goes without saying. I used to envision a 40-something housewife who finally put the kids to bed. That was the main audience - so you tried to explain your story in a way that made sense to that demographic.
Then there was the 'tease'. That's the part where they tell you to stay tuned because "A monkey broke into a liquor store - details at 11"... They grab you. So there is an art to teasing your blog through the blog title or Twitter post. But I'll admit, it's an art that is till developing - and one I'm far from mastering.

The rub, of course, is crying wolf too often. You better back-up your "Read-Me" titles and tweets - or that "unfollow" button is all too easy to find.

It seems to me these 3 principles apply to blogging - but since the blogosphere is such a completely different animal - I'm wondering what I'm missing.

*What do you look for when you look at your RSS Feed?
*What pulls you in?
*What percentage of the time are you disappointed and ultimately decide to 'unfollow' a twitter account?
*How do you consume a blog - and how does it differ from how you might consume a newscast?

Your responses are greatly appreciated!

Views: 79

Comment by Sean Ryan on March 2, 2010 at 3:11am
Agreed: Who you are writing for is key... which also rolls into 'why' you are writing.

Just a quick clarification: I didn't mean to suggest that a person reading a blog would only give the read a minute and 20 seconds - rather that was the rule for thumb in TV (local news, in particular) where a viewer has a remote in their hand. The beauty of the blog is the person who 'mouse'-clicks over to your post actually wants to read it... or at least was attracted enough to the link to give it a read.

But it seems to me the art/skill lies in both the attraction to the blog as well as the ability to hold the reader's attention. So many blogs leave you wondering "why the hell did I click on this again?" or simply bore you to tears. Can these blogs lure you in with 'tricky' titles? Absolutely. But do you think there is a fine line between the ability to attract people to the store for a good deal vs. attracting people to the store for a substandard product?

Thank you for your insight - it's very much appreciated! And thanks for the 'Welcome'!

(p.s. I only used "purple cow" to illustrate that the issue is how to create a blog that attracts attention - not necessarily a strict adherence to the theory... Who Moved My Cheese is brilliant, btw).
Comment by Chuck Summerland on March 2, 2010 at 9:52am
Thanks Sean for the great advice. I am new to the blogging world and always looking for tips on how attract people to my blogs to expand my network. I agree with your point on ‘the tease’ I believe a catchy title can really drive people to the blog. Several weeks ago my colleague posted a blog and labeled it “Fixing the Recruitment Industry One Slap at a Time”. I thought it was funny and cleaver and apparently others did as well because the title helped drive the popularity on the blog.

If you have anymore tips please let me know.
Comment by Sean Ryan on March 2, 2010 at 11:47am
Thanks, Maren, for the input.

As someone who blogs at least twice a day, I'm constantly struggling with titles. The last thing I want to do is get a reader's hopes up for a tremendous post - only to disappoint and ultimately drive them away.

That said, I would certainly want to error on the side of 'under-promising' in the headline/tease. But as you said: to each their own. If someone has the golden formula, please let us know! :-)


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