"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Six Things Bloggers Owe Readers!



You know how when you have company coming around the holidays, how you tidy up the house, take inventory to make sure you have enough tissue, break out the good china, and do general prep to insure that they have a pleasant visit and positive experience? How you threaten, (I mean “encourage”:) the family to be on their best behavior to prevent embarrassment and avoid the risk of scaring folks away?

Well, a similar ritual and regard should take place when it comes to “inviting” folks to our online “space” in the way of readership. We should put forth our best “virtual” efforts.
No matter what our niche, it's important to provide certain “niceties”.

I'm not talking about pretending, or putting on airs, or even being perfect here. Quite to the contrary.
In fact, some of my best “stays” online and in the real world have existed as a result of the host not going overboard, but simply being accommodating, savvy and intuitive of my needs.

With this in mind, here's what we owe blog readers for their support, time, interest, and “following” when they spend time with us:

1. Quality content—This goes beyond good informational material, it also applies to proofing your work for spelling, grammatical and context errors.
2. Originality---Though it has been said that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, it really cheats readers when you “borrow” styles and in-depth ideas from others. Not to mention, the great thing about blogging is that it's supposed to be TOTALLY a reflection of you. There are very few rules to dictate how you must approach things to be a success. So experiment. Then “show us what you're workin' with!”
3. Honesty---Don't fake it. Speak what is real and realistic. For example, some time ago while reading a few authors' blogs, they mentioned in their posts that comments were not important to them, as long as they were enjoying what they were doing. C'mon, now---I mean really? Who are we kidding here? I'm not saying that we should be caught up in comments, nor should they be the only barometer by which to judge our success, but if they weren't important, why would we have the feature as a component of our blogs? After all, the very nature of blogging is supposed to be interactive. Hello? I'm just gonna' keep it real. I love to hear from you folks, and there are times when I really look forward to it. So keep the love coming. :-)
4. Accuracy---Very few of us are reporting news or technical how-tos by way of our blogs. That's a given. Still, that doesn't mean we shouldn't do occasional research, present an “informed” position on current issues, or read beyond the surface of what's being circulated as “gospel.” Leave myths for fairy tales. Due diligence is important.
5. Courage---Have the chutzpah to stand for something. Be grown up in terms of what you believe and your right to express it. As long as it's not mean-spirited, unfounded and malicious in nature. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
6. Intimacy---A good photo placed strategically on your joint, a brief Bio, and a few getting-to-know-you details can build rapport and build connections.

Provide these six "amenities" to give readers the “red carpet treatment”, knowing that in today's tough economy, it'll be one debt you can happily mark “paid in full!”

What's your take on this topic?

Image:jscreationzs

18 comments:

  1. Hi Jennifer,

    I think you summed it up quite well. :)

    My pet peeve is grammar mistakes, spelling and other errors. There is a blog that I try to support by commenting and sharing on Twitter, but there is always obvious mistakes and spelling errors. I just can't bring myself to share such poorly written articles. I hate that because the blogger is a very cool person. This blogger knows there are errors, but says they are just being who themselves. I say get some help and drop the pride! If one can't write well, there is always other ways to share your information (video/audio).

    Sorry to be so long in my writing, but I had to get that out. :)

    Another thought provoking post for me!

    Take care,

    Evelyn

    ReplyDelete
  2. Evelyn,

    I can dig it. I love your quote "drop the pride and get some help." I tried to share the same message (constructively) with another blogger that didn't take it the right way.

    To each his own, I guess. :-)

    Thanks for stopping by and weighing in.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great thoughts, Jennifer. Like Evelyn, I have a hard time with spelling errors. However, I find them more in the writer blogs I read than any other. :-|
    For me, I really do not have the time or patience for blogs that just talk about what that person/family did with their day. "See how cute my baby is" kind of stuff. My time is precious and I am on here for take home value. Hopefully, my blog has that to offer. At least that is what I'm trying to do.
    Thanks for your posts. I don't comment as often as I should, but I always read what you have to say.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 11, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    Hi Carol,

    It's so nice to hear from you. But I must admit, I'm guilty as well. I adore your blog, "Everything Home With Carol," yet rarely leave a comment. :-)

    Nice to know that you always read what I say. Thanks for reading today and sharing your perspective. We'll have to do this more often. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 11, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    Evelyn,

    I forgot to address an important comment you made before. Those were excellent ideas, people who find themselves to be "challenged" with written communication can choose alternative blogging mediums such as video and audio blogging. Super suggestions!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love the way you always break it down with your suggestions and insight! Thanks for that!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great points! I agree completely, and appreciate the challenge to always be thinking about my blog. You keep me on my toes. :)

    Like you, I have a hard time believing those who don't care about comments. Surely it doesn't define who you are or lessen the satisfaction of writing, but it can indicate how you are received. I am constantly humbled and ever so grateful for the comments and support I receive. It truly warms my heart, and it is a great catalyst to keep it up.

    Good post, as always. Thanks for sharing!

    Blessings for your week,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 13, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Yvonne,
    ...And I love your positivity and input! Much appreciation.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 13, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    Karen,

    If I do say so myself, you should indeed be touched by your readers' comments. You have cultivated a great, interactive community at your site.

    Much continued success. Thanks for making the time to make a difference. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Jennifer,

    I couldn't agree with you more! We owe it to our readers to provide content they will be happy to read and share. For me, the most important aspects are quality, honesty and intimacy. I view blogging as a network of relationships that should go beyond the number of comments one gets in their posts. Building quality relationships reassures your readers that you are not taking them for granted and that, at the end of the day, you are there for THEM. Without readers, what would a blog be?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I really enjoyed reading this post, I was just wondering do you trade featured blog posts. Thanks for sharing your Blog with others. You really share valuable information,

    ReplyDelete
  12. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 17, 2010 at 6:58 AM

    Watch Movie Online Free,

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate the compliment. And yes, I do...

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's okay Jennifer I want to say that your post my feelings I really like, hopefully in the next post in your blog more information to share ..thanks again

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Jennifer .. I came over from Karen's blog .. great points you're making - it's being professional, and being welcoming, polite and thoughtful to our fellow readers and commenters.

    Thanks - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  15. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 20, 2010 at 7:55 AM

    Hi Hilary,

    So glad you've joined us here. Welcome!
    Any friend of Karen's is a pleasure to "know". :-)

    Thanks for your input.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Jennifer:
    I came from Karen's blog. I feel it's important to refrain from misspelling words.

    Thank you for alerting us to these points.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 20, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    quietspirit,

    Thanks for coming over from Karen's place. It's good to have you and your input here.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Carolina,

    Great feedback! Somehow your comment got mistakenly identified in my "spam" folder for days. Sorry for the delay. :-)

    It's nice having you here and I value your time and say.

    From where did you learn of Pen & Prosper?

    ReplyDelete