Is Your Blog a Journal or a Diary?

unhappycontentmarketersBlogs are a great marketing tool. Whether you’re trying to make a sale, get some ad revenue or just find an audience for your brand, blogs work. Now, it’s true that…

  • There’s a billion blogs out there already.
  • Your niche is probably already covered by (more than) one of them.
  • It might be a lot of work for very little payoff.

But… they still work. When readers find a voice that resonates with them, they’re not thinking about the fact that there’s a billion other blogs out there, they’re only wondering when their favorite blog is going to be updated next. You don’t watch every show on TV, right? You pick a few favorites and watch them every week. You can still find a dedicated following even in the age of too-many-blogs.

The catch is that you need to be interesting, unique and useful. We can somewhat-neatly divide most blogs on the internet between diaries and journals. If you’re trying to make any sort of impact, you want to write a journal, not a diary. Here’s how you can tell the difference between the two:

Diaries

  • Are written for the writer. Traditionally, diaries aren’t meant to be read at all, they’re just a means for the writer to organize their thoughts and vent their feelings on the page.
  • Tend to be more emotional than cerebral. Journals can be emotional, but a journal writer will typically make an attempt at being a little more fact-based and rational than someone writing a diary.
  • Don’t need to have a bigger impact. Diaries are written for their own sake, and a diary’s objective is met as soon as an entry is completed.
  • Don’t need to be unique, original, surprising, inventive, funny, informative or entertaining.

Journals

  • Are written for the reader. Journalism is a spectator sport. You don’t report the news if nobody’s listening.
  • Tend to be more factual than emotional. Emotional content is integral to the art of persuasion, but journals tend to be more rational and factual than diaries.
  • Need to have a bigger impact. A journal writer is looking to change the way the reader thinks about something, whether that’s to guide them to the “Buy it now” button or get them to vote for a particular political candidate.
  • Need to have a hook. A journal writer who doesn’t know how to keep people interested… won’t be able to keep people interested.

An easy way to tell the difference between a journal and a diary: If employing a writer’s help would be a waste of money, then it’s a diary. Journal writers invest their time, money and energy into something that is going to pay off in the future. Diary writers are just expressing themselves for the catharsis of expressing themselves.

Gilbert S is a writer and artist who lives in rural New Mexico with his wife, and dog, Sir Kay.


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