01 August 2014

If I could give only one piece of advice to bloggers who want to be heard, it would be...

by Dan Phillips

...write less, but more often.

Oh, there, I gave away the punch-line without any buildup! And yet, you're still reading. Why is that? Probably three reasons:
  1. Some: because you've learned you like my writing style. (Thank you! I appreciate you!)
  2. Some: because the dialogue-style of this post has you engaged. And...
  3. Some: because your peripheral vision tells you it isn't that long of a post, so a huge investment won't be necessary.
Now, there's a lesson in all of that. The first category has been earned, perhaps, by my ten-or-however-many years of blogging. I've built a readership. Again, thank you!

The second is something I've developed over the years.

The third is just the way it is. Unless your name rhymes with Zigon Zuncan or Xon Xiper or Pevin PeYoung or Qug Qilson or suchlike, you haven't earned the expectation that a huge time-investment in reading your writing would surely be rewarding. So don't write 30,000 word dissertations and ask everyone what they think. I'll tell you what they think: "That's too danged long!"

Seriously. I can't tell you how many times I've felt truly bad, because some good brother says "Please read this, tell me what you think." And, dutifully, I click over, and... my eyes go down, down, down, down, and yes once again, down. As they do, they glaze over, hope fades, my heart sinks, and I don't even want to start because I know I won't want to have to endure to the end to be saved.

So: you are bursting with a message. That's great. You want people to hear you. Of course you do! So write something snappy, to-the-point, and short. It won't say everything you want to say. But if you want anyone to want to hear what you have to say, you'll need to earn that. Start by respecting their time, and not overstaying your welcome.

After all, it's your blog. Today's a great day for Part One. Part Two can come tomorrow. Leave your readers wanting more, and they'll come back.

Put another way: use words like you have to pay for each one, instead of like you're paid for each one.

I'm done. See? Like that.

You're welcome.

Dan Phillips's signature


Doug Hibbard said...

I will heartily agree with that.

Then I'll go over and blog like a madman anyway, because I'm thick in the head.

Seriously, though, I do get better responses and more shares when I follow exactly what you said: shorter, more to the point.

Anonymous said...

My wife has been telling me that I should start blogging.

So yeah, this is helpful. Especially since I can tend to wordiness and Frank Turk, I am not.

Michael Coughlin said...

Good advice for commenters, too. ;-P

homefront said...

"... use words like you have to pay for each one, instead of like you're paid for each one." What a pearl of wisdom. Thanks, Dan.

Unknown said...

Your tips make sense. I quit reading a blog post just now because, although the topic interested me, it went on and on as far as the eye could see. Made me dizzy!

Anonymous said...

Pragmatism! Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah didn't keep it short...oh wait, the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture says that when I blog I'm not pronouncing divinely inspired revelation, so it's okay for me to be pragmatically brief in order be a good steward of my readers' time. Cool!

LanternBright said...

4. I was hoping you were going to say something about Mark Driscoll.

DJP said...

You're joking, LB, but I could.

If I did, it'd probably be this: If you have the right friends, it doesn't much matter what you do (cf. Mark Driscoll).

The reverse is also pretty much true — though Prov. 22:29 suggests that if you are excellent at what you do, you might have a shot anyway.

FX Turk said...

I actually have more followers today from tweeting only than I did before hiatus, so you may be on to something.

Unknown said...

5. Assume that many (most?) people despise the very notion of blogging, but nevertheless can get sucked in.

(And secretly they all want to be the blogger. Just like "every Arminian thinks himself a potential rock star and every Calvinist thinks himself a potential writer". My wife said that. Probably about me.)

APM said...