How do you write for a blog?
As with most things, there isn’t one “right” way, but let’s start with principles of good writing for the Web. Internalize these, please.
Next, think about writing for a blog specifically. Some general tips here, with a note about optimal post length here. And 10 tips for a good post. Mostly common sense kind of stuff, right?
In blogging, most of the same principles of good writing (offline and online) are very much in play, but here’s where it becomes essential to have voice, personality, flair, and all those things that make someone interesting and something interesting to read (and comment upon). (Think: the writing style of Gawker.) So, writing principles are similar for whatever you’re blogging—shorter the better, use active voice, use strong verbs, attribute sources via hyperlinks, use lists and quotes to break up blocks of text, etc.—but you’ll need to decide what kind of blog writing style to employ. Consider a few examples …
— The ticker blog … Posts are very frequent (sometimes every 10 minutes!); they come in short bursts, telegraph-like, with heavy emphasis on quick wit, few words, and often one-link posts directing readers to stories/videos of interest. Example: Instapundit.com
— The in-between blog … OK, that’s lame, but I couldn’t come up with a better name for this, which is basically you’re more “standard” blog of frequent posts (at least once daily, but for the more popular blogs sometimes a dozen or more times a day) of 200-some words in length. Examples include Techcrunch and Daily Dish.
— The essay blog … Posts are infrequent (sometimes a couple times monthly); they’re classic “think pieces”—long essays of prose, dense with hyperlinks burrowing deep into the subject. Example: Jay Rosen’s PressThink. (Note: even long-form bloggers like Jay Rosen have adopted the ticker style through things such as Twitter; check out his “mindstream“).
OK, now for your “assignment” … visit the blog/website you’re examining for your midterm case study. Give it a 5-minute read-over. How’s the writing? What kind of styles do they employ? Let’s discuss in class.