Not long after I started blogging, I stumbled upon 5 rules that have shaped nearly every post I’ve written on Modern Mrs Darcy.
I got them from Sports Talk Radio.
Rule 1 (and 2): Have a Take. Don’t Suck.
My husband loves Jim Rome’s call-in sports talk radio show, which works–even to the ears of half-hearted sports fans like myself–because of the cardinal rule for callers he announces at the start of every show: “Have a take. Don’t suck.”
Why? Because if you don’t have a take, and you can’t express it well, it’s not worth saying on the air.
The same rule applies to blogging: it took me a while to believe this as a blogger, but people want to hear your take. When you’re sitting down to write a post, don’t run around the internet to see what other bloggers have said. Don’t repackage the experts’ opinions. Don’t give us bland, or wishy-washy. Give us you.
Readers are visiting your blog because they want your perspective. If you don’t have a take, you don’t have anything to write about. If you don’t have anything to write about, you don’t have a blog. Give us your take.
You don’t have to know the answer, or propose a solution, but you do have to have a take. And it has to be yours. You might have to voice an opinion, and people might disagree with you. Yeah, that can be scary, but that’s why I loved this advice from Jessica’s Guide to Beginner Blogging ebook: “Speak the truth in love, and let the hater cards fall where they may.”
Rules 3-5: Don’t be Unfunny, Uninspired, or Unreadable.
Jim Rome wraps up each show with the Triple U Text Contest. The winner gets … blocked.
The Triple U rules the blogosphere: if you consistently violate it, we–the readers–will unsubscribe, delete your bookmark, or just wander away. You don’t have to be funny, but don’t try–and fail. Don’t bore us.
And whatever you do, don’t be unreadable. Give us easy-to-read fonts and plenty of white space. Keep your paragraphs short. Keep most posts to 800 words or less (and many readers say they prefer 500). We’ll forgive a typo or two in a blog post, but not more than that.
These rules from sports talk radio have guided my blogging from (almost) the beginning. I was very conscious about following them for 9 months, running each post through the Sports Talk Radio Test before hitting “publish”–but now they’re internalized. I’m not saying every post is great, but I do know what I’m aiming for.
To be a better blogger, think about what you’re aiming for before you publish that next post.
Do your posts have to pass a test before you hit “publish?”