Blogging and the 7 Deadly Sins
Let’s talk about Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Gluttony, Pride, Greed and Lust. No, that’s not the name of a law firm; those terms represent the notorious Seven Deadly Sins. Let’s examine how they can manifest themselves within the blog community:
Envying another blogger’s voice can prevent you from finding your own. When you first started blogging, you may have taken your inspiration from the “big boys” — the blogging superstars of your particular industry or area of expertise. Imitation can be a great way to learn the ropes in any endeavor. The problem comes when you grow so obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses that you fail to nurture your own individuality.
A blog can play many roles: confessional, circus tent, soapbox, panel discussion — you name it. I see a lot of angry, mean-spirited rants out there, some posted by respected leading bloggers. Tread carefully. Not only do you risk coming across as a jerk, but you’ll find it tougher to retract your jerkiness online, where nothing written ever disappears, than in real life, where you can simply move away.
When you take on a blog, you take on a new responsibility — to your readers. Have you ever gotten really excited over what appears to be a new weekly blog only to get frustrated as it slides into a bi-weekly, then, monthly, then “Hey, whenever” posting schedule? Once you cultivate a dedicated readership, return their loyalty — and they’ll return to your blog.
There are many blog posts out there that I couldn’t finish reading — and pretty much all of them were gigantic walls of words, words, words. Bigger is not always better, and in writing it’s frequently worse. Don’t assume that because your readers love a 400-word post, they’ll love a 4,000-word post ten times as much. This mistake frequently occurs among bloggers in technical or instructional fields that value exhaustive (and exhausting) completeness and detail. Get on with it.
Should you be proud of achieving a certain status in the blogosphere? Of course! You worked hard to make your blog a success and build your reputation. So when someone crticizes your blog, your first instinct may be to respond, “How dare you speak out against this Everest of online awesomeness?” Well, chuck that first instinct. Hang your hubris on the wall long enough to take an honest look at the criticisms. You may find an invaluable nugget of insight that could make your Everest even more awesome.
Monetizing your blog can provide you with a lovely income stream or turn your online presence into a hideous neon eyesore. Ads that don’t relate to your topics or readership, online billboards that distract from your blog content and uglify the page, posts that clearly exist only to string a bunch of affiliate links together — these “moneymakers” won’t make you a dime if turned-off visitors stop visiting.
Experienced blog writers know how to appeal to the reader’s senses. Evocative terms such as “whisper-thin,” “heart-pumping,” “juicy,” “silken,” “mouth-watering” and so on can strike a spark in the reader’s baser desires, engaging the lizard brain along with the higher being. Overdo this approach, however, and eventually it loses its power. Congratulations — you’ve made sensuality boring.