Rules of Blogging II: Do Your Homework

A few weeks ago I posted some advice on how to write a blog based on my own experiences. I’m toying with the idea of doing a series. Since there are already so many blogging how-to’s already available on the internet, I figure one more voice can only help the cacophony.

As it turns out, doing research before writing a blog post isn’t nearly as critical as I’d thought. How did I figure that out? Through research. Irony is one of life’s simpler pleasures. Having a blog that is thoughtful and well-written depends on a lot more than just getting the facts straight; it almost seems to be tacitly understood that research is key. So tacit, in fact, that not one of the three sites I visited last night stressed knowing what you’re talking about.

At the same time, though, I know I picked up tons of useful tips just from doing a simple Google search. It’s a small thing, but a well-researched blog – far from making you sound pedantic and stuffy – will actually make your posts sound more informed and therefore more reliable. Maybe even fun.

Instead of:

Cats used to be gods in ancient times.

You could get:

Cats used to be worshipped in Ancient Egypt and the cat-goddess, Bast, was a sort of precursor to the modern day sex kitten.

But make sure you don’t cross the line from interesting tidbit to tl;dr land, or you’ll remind your reader of that teacher from Ferris Bueller. It’s all about balance. And it comes with practice. Don’t just stick to background research on your topic either; be ready to do a quick check to see if you’re using ‘obsequious’ in the right context, or if Emancipation is celebrated on the same day everywhere (incidentally, this year it will be). A little homework makes a huge difference.

My advice? Go for the Google. At worst, you’ll come across as someone willing to learn; at best, your readers will be impressed enough to keep coming back for more.

-ras

For the fun of it:

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