How many times have you read or visited a blog only to not ever read it again? I do it all the time.
It's a painful confession to make especially for someone like me who is a blogger and wants other people to read my blog.
But with so little time in the day and SO many people and organizations fighting for our attention online, if a blog isn't "good" there's a good chance we won't go back. Right?
Yesterday, as part of the Interaction 2014 Forum, I attended a session called, "Why are so many organization's blogs so bad?" It was led by Jennifer Lentfer and Oscar Perry Abello.
Because I am part of the editorial team of Feed the Children's blog, BEYOND, I wanted to know if we might be on the right track. I hoped our blog won't be among the great offenders in the room (and I don't think it was!)
I enjoyed hearing from colleagues from wide spectrum of organizations about why they think so many non-profit blogs are so bad.
Here's some of what the group came up with. A blog is bad if:
1. Lack of thoughtfulness about audience. (Always ask yourself: who am I writing to?)
2. It has too much technical jargon. (Instead write in language the average person can understand).
3. Not using internet writing style of short sentences and paragraphs. (You aren't writing an English term paper).
4. It tries to do too much. (Think one idea. Say and say it well and be done).
5. Shows fear of what really needs to be said. (The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say. ― Anaïs Nin)
6. Copy is not appropriate length. (Think less 400 words for a quick read or more than 800 words for a longer read).
7. Too many voices. (Group blogs are great but is everyone thinking about the same audience?)
8. And last but not least: Uninteresting topics. (Remember it's not all about you. Go back to #1)
I think it's a great list to consider for churches and pastoral blogs as well. We, like the rest of our non-profit friends can so easily present bad blogs, even with the best intentions.
So, here's my take away from the session at Interaction. Blogs are great. They can be powerful tools for storytelling and platform building. People are much likely to visit an organization's blog than they are a website. So it's important to have them.
But, think twice about starting a blog if you do. It's like a marriage. You have to be all in. And when you do, beware of laziness allowing your blog to move into the bad blog zone. Learn the ways from the blogger mothers and fathers and keep improving your craft all the time. The future of our great ideas to share depends on it!