Blog posts begin with a little preamble. This part sets the tone of the article, and helps the reader establish what they’re going to find out over the next 500 words, even though they’ll probably only just read the section headings. This part typically segues quite quickly to a controversial statement or question – designed to provoke the user into thinking they actually need to read another vapid post; in this case I’ll be asking:
With the establishing question out of the way, we’ve set ourselves up for criticism if we don’t deliver an answer. The best thing to do is to distract the user with a picture; either something to do with technology or sex works well here – a blend of the two works even better.
After your eyes have lingered for a while, you may eventually get back to the text. Since you’re almost certainly feeling a little down about how your life sucks compared to Little Miss Sexyblogger up there, the post will boost your ego by spatchcocking a variety of selcouth expressions into this farrago, to show that the writer trusts you to know their definitions. And then the galimatian text continues with:
Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics
After a clichéd title that’s clearly had little thought put into it, the post hits the readers with the statistics equivalent of a one-two combo: statistic, plus graphic.
If the statistics need some justification, this is probably a good time to do some name dropping to create a vague air of trust about you. This idea actually came to me on the afternoon with James Franco. (True story, I did. Calm down girls.)
Time for Controvesy
In this section, we mention that Michael Gray is a hack, Lisa Barone shouldn’t voice her opinions, DaveN‘s never done a day’s work in his life, Rand is only well-known because of a legion of fanboys and Jeremy is a sell-out.
This segment has two main aims: it first causes division amongst readers which encourages them to tweet about it saying how right the post is, or link to it saying how wrong it is. Secondly: by linking to some prominent bloggers, we hope they notice the link and come over to visit the site.
The intended outcome here is that by bringing more visitors and having controversial statements, the post will receive more comments . This is important, because as you may know: comments are the lifeblood of bloggers and without comments they will shrivel and die.
Comments are also useful as a substitute for real world relationships so, you know, they show that I am loved. All I ever wanted was someone to tell me they loved me.
The Seven Point List Bit
- Some posts may consist solely of the seven point list bit; in other cases it might just be one of the sections
- The seven point list bit may have any number of items, but magic numbers like three, seven or ten are most common
- They can be used instead of having to write full sentences
- A list of the top seven lists posts would be the most awesome post-modern blog post ever if the idea hadn’t been done to death already
- Most lists are way longer than they ought to be; the writer is typically grasping at straws by now.
- Did you know that rats can smell x-rays?
- With great relief, the last point it reached and the author hurries on to……
Some other reading
Again, the writer makes a shout out to other blogs, in the hope that someone will read their post. These are typically posts that are much better written and much more useful than the one you are reading, or demonstrate quite clearly where the idea was ripped off from.
The Funny Bit
By now, the writer knows you’ve just scanned the post and not really read anything. They also know that the post massively lacked any humour, so it’s time to crowbar someone else’s comedy to liven up the post. A barely related cartoon works well: try something from XKCD or that one with the dogs from the New Yorker.
The Call to Action
This is the end of the post, and hence it’s time to reiterate a call to feed the poor blogger with acknowledgement. Hence, the writer begs you to FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER, asks what you thought of the post, and then offers the invite that’s as old as the web: “LEAVE A COMMENT, AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!“
Rob Ousbey VP Operations - Seattle