In a recent post, I discussed how I don’t believe that blogging is dead but rather that it’s changing. As one part of the puzzle, perhaps it’s the type of blog that will help the concept of blogs survive which is the focus of this post.
There are several common ways to categorize blogs such as:
Groups based on a specific theme (e.g., Internet marketing, travel, toys, fashion, etc)
The blogger’s framework (e.g., a personal blog, a company blog, and so on)
The type of media used (e.g., vlogging where videos are used, for instance)
The content in each of these is provided by bloggers with a specific goal (although in some cases, the lack of specificity can make for an interesting read). Regardless of that goal, one of the most overlooked aspects of getting your blog to be read by many readers is the type of content (especially written content).
I’d like to propose another way to look at blogs. More specifically, I think that looking at the types of posts within a blog is the key to success. I’ve broken down blog entries into two types of posts: Reactive and proactive.
There is no absolute defining border to these but it should be used as food for thought.
Will Blog Interest and Survival Depend on the Type?
Reactive Blog Entries
General Definition: Reactive blog posts are typically a clear response to something. That “something” is often a topic cited elsewhere such as a story in mainstream media or in someone else’s blog.
Among it’s main characteristics, these look at a topic such as a news story, a company review for good or bad services, resistance to something new (e.g., A new Facebook policy change), and other traits of this nature.
What typically follows is in line with this:
- Responses to the main/original story/source can be original
- Often a quick, predictable response to a story
- Corporations discuss something big (positive or negative)
- In many cases, blogger does not have to be overly original since the basic story was already created. Although, people who reply with original ideas will generally be rewarded with praise and comments
- Blog entry often starts with “I saw this report, video, or whatever, and this is what I think…”
- Reacting without thinking it through gets you in trouble
Proactive Blog Entries
General Definition: Blogs that feature top-down story ideas, tying together ideas of what may seem to be eclectic and turning them into a worthy discussion and argument, issues that may be happening or are going to happen, being the first to identify something of interest or value to a select group of people.
These often appear to be more like an article than a simple statement. That’s not to say that they are long but rather informative and summative. For example, this post came to me while I was thinking about another topic. I decided to write it up to add to our knowledge and as an original constribution to the blogosphere.
- Proactive blogs are typically more original (although they do run the risk of being rehashed so if you’re the originator of recycled content, more power to you!)
- These types of blog post content tend to make a definitive conclusion or at least outlines possible outcomes, take a stance, or argue a point.
- They are typically more well thought out
- They are more time consuming to conceptualize, research, write, and edit
- Increasingly, mainstream media (TV, radio, newspapers) comment on either what one influential blogger says or looks at the trend in opinion among bloggers regarding a particular story (qualitative) or the number of bloggers latching onto a story (quantitative)
- Companies pushing their products and services in blog posts (although this could be reactive as well in the sense a corporate blog post cites a news items that highlights the need for their product which justifies their existence
- Taking a stand on an issue and explaining why you are leaning toward a given perspective. This is most salient in political blog posts but certainly holds true elsewhere
- Relies on the blogger to have interesting ideas to get out there
- Often not event dependent so they’re timeless and hold value over long periods of time
This blog entry is proactive. I came up with an idea and I’m writing, in detail about the idea. The outcome is not clear but as a reader, you are welcome to evaluate the idea, its utility, and usefulness.
Which is Better?
Some reactive blogs have a near cult following because the blogger writes what everyone wants to hear. To some extent, this could apply to journalists and politicians.
I think that proactive blogs tend to be more interesting since they are often more information-rich and frequently provide information and advance our knowledge as an amalgamation, review, or summary. As opposed to writing one or two intelligent responses to somehing out there in a main stream media news story.
One dividing factor is that the majority of a given blog post is devoted to one particular topic. So if someone is reacting to a news story, they may mention their perspective on the topic but it’s hardly a detailed essay about their perspective (which would be proactive).
The reactive versus proaactive debate can be seen on two levels. First, if the majority of blog posts are of one kind, you could say that the blog is of that kind. Second, you can look at it on a case by case basis where you decide if a blog entry was proactive or reactive. It’s usually fairly easy to tell them apart.
I’d love to hear your opinion on this idea. If you think one is better than the other, share it and tell us why.