When Not to Blog, Part 2

Yesterday, we discussed the first part of When Not to Blog. Let’s wrap it up here.

Sponsored reviews

Writing about sponsored reviews (or advertisements) on one’s blog is already a tricky issue being debated over on the Net, and I’ll not be taking sides here. If you do decide to write sponsored reviews, don’t immediately jump into the water – think about these two points first:

1) Do you have the time to regularly write both sponsored reviews and your own ‘normal’ posts? If you follow a regular posting sched (let’s say, 3x a week), don’t include sponsored reviews among that three.

Your normal entries should still arrive with the same, or even greater, frequency. Otherwise, your readers will feel you’ve traded away their loyalty (they were the ones who gave you the Google PageRank and the Alexa traffic rank, right?) for a shot at quick bucks.

2) Don’t get haphazard in mentioning the sponsored product in the review. It’s already advertising, so don’t make it even more blatant. Before blogging, think well of how you can blend in the name of the sponsored product (as well as the required keywords, if any).

A great technique would be to insert your own experiences regarding the product’s field (not the product itself). For example, if it’s a plastic surgery advert, you can start by saying that you’ve always felt a bit shy because of your inch-wide mole (hehe), and if you had the bucks, you’d go for surgery. But don’t lie!

Blogorrhea

Most people who aren’t Net savvy think of blogs as merely online personal diaries. Because you’re reading this, you know that this is wrong. But the perception remains because there are still lots of blogs out there with no other content than “I saw my crush today!” entries.

While that kind of posts is monotonous for personal blogs, it’s downright ugly for tech blogs, political blogs, sports blogs, and so on. Moderate what makes it through your blog from your offline life. Avoid blogorrhea, which Ia wrote about a while back.

Unconfirmed reports, untested products

Don’t ever recommend/heap praises upon a product you’ve never even used. (This is tied to the earlier piece of advice; just remember that showing ads isn’t equal to outright recommendation.) If your reader uses the product per your sugary suggestions and ends up with an awful experience, it’s your reputation that will be damaged.

Also, if you blog about an unconfirmed event (product launch, celebrity news, business deals, etc.), it’s better to add the word “unconfirmed” somewhere in the post. That way, you can come up with an attention-grabbing post while being truthful to your readers. (Unless your blog specializes in hoaxes, of course.)

When you don’t feel blogging

The main part of blogging is writing; hence, writing discipline tips apply to blogging, too. One particular tip is of great interest, and it goes as:

“Force yourself to write even if you don’t feel like writing.”

That’s very difficult to accomplish, but the great writers and novelists became great precisely by following that tip.

You might be asking, if this discipline applies to blogging, why the hell is the title of this section “When you don’t feel blogging”?

The answer: force yourself to write…but don’t force yourself to publish the post you’ve written.

When one is forced to do something, the result is sometimes of lesser quality than that which came from unrestrained creativity. For offline written works, this is no problem – the author can go over the piece after completing it, and revise it at will, anytime. For blog posts, this is a problem – bloggers usually hit the publish button just after completing the article and skimming over it for a couple of times. And voila, the blogger might have just published a post ridden with typos and grammatical errors!

That’s why my suggestion is to write the post, keep it in your Drafts, and leave it alone for a while. A few hours or a few days of separation will allow you to more easily pick out the errors in your post.