Seven Ways To Leverage News For Blogs. One of the reasons people feel intimidated by blogging is because they’re afraid of running out of new topics to write about. Even if you only planned to post once a week, you’d still have to come up with fifty-two ideas. Intimidating? Probably, at least it is for me. And do not think that you can take a bunch of news articles, plunk them on your site and call it a blog. But there is plenty you can do with that news to populate your blog.
Yes, there is likely news about your area of interest that others will be interested in seeing. News is good. I’m not talking about scooping the wire services or breaking a story. More like taking news from the world of whatever you write about and injecting your insight. The first blog to register about an issue will get linked, bring traffic, and get you labeled a “thought leader” along with recognition for how good your site it.
I wrote a post on my blog The Collectors Show (www.collectorsshow.net) about how a well known actor had lost a fortune collecting Beany Babies. There was an 8 minute video about him and I included a link to that in my post. My site traffic exploded one day and I could not figure out why. I found that my blog about Beanies had been posted on a Reddit site about Beanies and the world was making its way to my blog. Cool!
But why should they read wire copy on your blog? The reason for people to come to your blog is to read what you have to say. Because what really matters about your blog is you. With that in mind, here are a few tips:
- Be original. Instead of reposting news, add your opinion about it. No one is interested in “reconstituted” news but will be interested in seeing what you think, questions you have and what the moral of the story is as told through your eyes.
- Don’t just copy. Similar to being original, but with a few more specifics. It makes me mad to see when someone lifts my copy, puts it on their site and calls it their own. You would be similarly annoyed. But, if you want to use someone else’s material, use quotes and attribution. Instead of ripping someone off and making them mad, they will feel flattered that you thought enough of them to use and cite them.
- Find a news story about your area and blog about it. Tell the readers why you chose this topic, why it is important, a point of view or opinion from you that others could potentially benefit from or even disagree with. Advancing discourse and exchanging ideas are a big reason to blog. If you do not know enough about something to have opinions that draw attention, you should reconsider the idea of blogging.
- Be timely. According to my hero, David Meerman Scott, reacting quickly to breaking news in your blog or twitter may earn you the rewards of “a bonanza of media attention” which will also make you more credible, attract more readers etc.
- Be a news junkie. Listen to news stations and channels, interviews, podcasts and NPR. Read a daily newspaper. And get into feeds. Lots and lots of feeds. RSS feeds enable you to scan headlines from sources you would likely not come across in the course of a regular day.
- “Dig” a little deeper. To find the hidden, unique, cool, hip and trending use social bookmark sites like Digg. Social bookmarking is a service which allows individuals to share sites that they’ve bookmarked. Similar to services like Google Alerts, the key here is the keyword list you generate, as the right list will generate the right kind of news and sites that people are tagging and bookmarking. While many social bookmarking sites double as “news” sites, given how they popularize and list the top sites that have been bookmarked, just like Technorati, you can search for keywords, and follow the result in your feed reader. Unlike Technorati, however, it tracks more than blogs. And unlike Google Alerts, however, it tracks more than just the news. People will bookmark anything. Pictures, video, articles, corporate websites, frequently asked questions, and much more besides. Using a social bookmarking tool to help you discover “stuff” really broadens your search, but you’ll also be able to find a great many hidden gems, particularly if use your keywords intelligently.
- Don’t give up. Some days after I have read and listened to a whole lot of stuff with nothing obvious for me to write about something will come to mind. I think that is the definition of creativity. Your brain is working on sifting, collating, editing and reformatting information even when you are not aware of it. Trust your brain. It knows more than it’s saying. At least at the moment.
After all of this remember that the most important part of your blog is you.