In each and every article, the smartest thing you can do is provide a takeaway. In stories they are called morals, and in essays, they are the conclusions. Summing up your thoughts and ideas into an easy to digest sentence or two can really help readers take something with them to think about, use and remember.
This is especially important for longer and more detailed articles as the amount of information can make the article difficult to remember for any longer period of time.
Sometimes I use the final area of my posts as the takeaway, others I put into the start. Either way it has to be highlighted in such a way that it sticks in the mind of the reader, or you haven’t done your job.
The takeaway for this post is to always provide a takeaway. It will make you, and your posts more memorable.
Sarah Perez, a Grand Effect founder, wrote an amazing post on ReadWriteWeb about the issue plaguing many bloggers and social media fans currently: there are too many choices.
Sometimes it’s just hard to keep up. In this technology-focused niche we all live in there are new applications, new initiatives, and new platforms that spring up every day, not to mention constantly breaking news that fills our RSS readers. Take a day off and you’re behind. Take an hour off and you just missed 300 more blog posts. In addition to the everyday struggles of information overload the average computer user deals with – like the overflowing inbox, for example – those in the internet/new media/technology space aren’t just overwhelmed with new content, but also with new applications and choices to manage that content. What’s a web-app loving person to do?
I have found this to be a huge issue in my time as a full time blogger, and it was only made worse by all of the new sites and services that have been added. Check out the article, and just by scanning down through it quickly looking at all of the links added to the post, you can see the issue as bright as day.
Currently, there is no real solution that has come to light, but I have always tried to reduce the number of sites and services I am actively following and look for certain ways to filter out the news, posts, and content so that I don’t get too overloaded. It has been hard, and I have been unsuccessful a few times, but fighting to remain relevant while not overloaded is a never ending battle.
Over on Coversation Marketing, there is a nice list post that breaks down some things that we should all be doing to optimize, develop and market our blogs. What is great about the list is that it isn’t too serious, and it has its funny moments, like the first item on the list:
If you have a Flash introduction on your web site, delete it. If you don’t agree, try this: Shove your head into a bucket of water. Stay in there, not breathing, for 10 seconds longer than is comfortable. That’s what you’re doing to your customers. Delete it, please.
Definitely an interesting read, and while I don’t agree with everything on the list, it has some great ideas that can be sifted through which should help most bloggers move upwards in traffic and influence.
So yesterday, wasn’t a great day for me. Things didn’t go my way, and that made me a little depressed and cranky. Even worse because my wife is gone to Belgium for her grandparents 50th wedding anniversary and that leaves me completely alone.
With everything that went on, my day was severely hampered in the blogging department, so much so that I really didn’t get much of anything done. Add to that, issues with Blogging Pro, and I was ready to drop everything, and go on a very long vacation. It was one of those days where I would have killed to be back in an office job environment. As a blogger, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to get back into a traditional workplace and even if I could find a job in the computer and networking field I used to be in. I am getting sidetracked though.
Usually, I am able to shake the issues I am having, and just refocus, but yesterday, that wasn’t possible for some reason. It made me wonder if blogging, as a job, is more effected by emotion than other career choices. I think of blogging sometimes as more of a creative endeavor. Like painting a picture or writing a masterful book, and I know that art is definitely influenced by blogging. What is your take? Is blogging more effected by emotion like art, or is it just a bad day like with any other career?