What Do You Bring to the Blog Table? A Remix or Your Own Special Recipe?

Filed as Features on January 18, 2008 10:41 am

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I’ve complained recently about how boring so many blogs are (a friend calls them blorging = blogging bores), and now I want to whine about too many bloggers becoming remixers rather than adding their own ingredients to the mix.

I love all types of music, but I have to admit that when hip-hop and scratch came on the scene, it was like everything old was new again. And it wasn’t that new. Sure, it was old done in a new ways, but it still felt old. At first it felt as if everyone had run out of new ideas. Since you can’t think of anything new, just remix the old and call it new.

As it grew and developed, the music took on its own art form and artistic power as the artists pushed beyond the old into creating something totally new and refreshing, even if it took off on the old – they made it their own. Those that didn’t, lost. Those that did, many are still around today.

Many of today’s bloggers are still scratching old record albums of blog content, copying and pasting blockquotes from others and adding little new to the blog conversation.

Are you just regurgitating old stuff? Hunting around the web for things to link, recommend, and remix rather than digging inside of your own head, heart, and soul for something original to bring to the blogging table?

What Are The Ingredients That Make Your Blog Content Special?

Recently, I was asked to review an article. The author admitted that she was basing her work on another blogger’s article. I checked out the original article and found that it was good. Nothing extremely special or new, but it covered the facts of the subject well. Reading the new article, there was still nothing new. The author had taken the information from the original and just remixed it into her own.

There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not exactly plagiarism, at least not in this case. The author used her own words and told it in her own way, but it was still a copy, bringing nothing new to the table.

We go out and research information of interest to us and write it up on our blog, linking to sources and resources, but when the article feels like a cut and paste remix, it lies there taking up space, looking redundant. It’s the same thing, just rehashed. Leftovers after the third day.

blog cooking pot, graphic copyright Lorelle VanFossenWe all had someone in our life who made us meatloaf or whatever the traditional “family, home cooked” food of your culture is. But there was one person, a special person, who could make the BEST meatloaf you ever had. You may never know what the secret ingredient or process was that made you hum all day anticipating the pleasure of the taste, but you know you carried the hum with you the rest of the day for the sure pleasure of the consumption. When you hear the word “meatloaf” you think of that person and how that meatloaf made you feel.

A good blog post has similar special ingredients that go into the mix that makes people eagerly await updates to your feeds and makes them think about what you wrote for the rest of the day, and possibly on through the week.

What are the special ingredients that you put into your blog to make it memorable and different from all the other blogs out there?

  • You: Whatever that makes you a unique individual on this planet, your perspective, humor, experiences, expertise – you put these into your blog’s melting pot. Take time to be clear about which of your characteristics you bring to the blog kitchen, adding only the ingredients that will improve the blog, not dilute or spoil the taste.
  • Your Blog’s Focus and Perspective: We all blog with bias. It’s usually a part of our blog focus. It is the place from which we view the world and report on our chunk of it. Maybe you are the curmudgeon, the person who finds fault with everything. Maybe you are the optimist, and the world you blog in is up beat and fun. Or the flirt, where your blog purpose is to tease and build relationships. Maybe your bias is about what you blog. If you blog about a company or industry that puts food on your table, are you going to bad-mouth it? Maybe, but carefully. You still want to eat, don’t you? That’s your bias. The bias and perspective from which you blog is part of the ingredients that defines your blogging style and form and goes into the recipe that is your blog.
  • Expertise: Your expertise is an important ingredient. Without your expertise, you may have nothing to add to the conversation. What are you an expert at? What do you know? Really know? Add your unique expertise to the mix.
  • Experiences: There are debates over how to define an expert, and most agree it takes a measurable amount of experience for people to trust you. How much of your experience do you bring to the blog table and add to your blog pot? Is it the experience of years of service and lessons learned the hard way? Or is the experience of a novice, learning as you go, bringing your readers with you? Be clear about where you’ve been and where you want this blog experience to take you so your readers know where you have been, where you are at, and where you will take them.
  • Your Voice: We all have a unique voice and style, built upon years of living life with all of its ups and downs. A voice and style chiseled from the events in our lives. The good, bad, and ugly. They all combine to influence how we think and how we write, colored by those experiences. Let them bubble through so we get a sense of you, the real you behind the blog.
  • Passion: Ever attend the class of one of “those teachers” in school who rattled on about stuff you know is important but you just can’t get yourself motivated because they aren’t excited about what they are teaching? Compare that to being with a passionate teacher who lives for math, science, English, or whatever their field of study. You know what I’m talking about when I say there is nothing like the energy passion brings to a subject to bring it to life. Without passion for what you are blogging, you’re one of those teachers. I’m skipping your class.

Yeah, there are no new ideas, but there are the unique ingredients you can add to the mix to make it special, so special it feels like the first time. And the reader hums all day with the memory of reading it.

When you put all that makes you unique and special into your blogging pot, that’s when you can really stir things up. Don’t remix old stuff. Find your own special recipe that makes your readers eagerly anticipate the next blog post you write, and relish the one you just wrote.

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  1. By Minic Rivera posted on January 18, 2008 at 12:25 pm
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    On blorging… I never find any blog boring. When I visit a blog, I keep in mind that each has its own purpose and voice that I should respect.

    Reply

  2. By Andre posted on January 18, 2008 at 3:19 pm
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    I can see how you can find certain blogs boring if you read alot of the same topic without much differing perspective or voice. I try to be casual with mine and provide a personal view on how technology may impact healthy behavior for myself and those around me. Hopefully that’s not too boring! :)

    Reply

  3. By Maw Books posted on January 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm
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    This is great information. I look forward to Lorelle’s articles all the time! I am very new to blogging, have only been blogging for two months and I want my blog to be the best that it can be. Different. I want people to come back for more. I hope to implement all of these tips into my blog! Thanks for the tips!

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  4. By amypalko posted on January 18, 2008 at 11:24 pm
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    I think that discovering my very own, unique blogging recipe is a major part of the fun for me. I love blogging, but I also love newness and originality. Not to combine the two would drain all the excitement that I feel about my blogs. Still, your post gives me even more to work on, so thank you!

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  5. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on January 19, 2008 at 6:35 am
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    @amypalko:

    Newness and originality is the core of all styles, as you bring something fresh to the table. That’s part of the “you” I was talking about.

    So many blogs are just copycats and contain so little new information. I love a blog that are unique and special, as Minic said. I think that most, but not all blogs, are that way, but too many bloggers get lazy and forget that it is about all the ingredients that go into the pot to stir things up on your blog.

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  7. By Shari Voigt posted on January 20, 2008 at 4:14 am
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    I’m still working on that special recipe. I’ve given a lot of thought to not wanting to be a copycat blogger, as I cover marketing tips for small businesses. It’s definitely not the only blog on that topic! In fact, I allowed a fear of not having anything to add to stop me from blogging at all for way too long.

    Late last year I realized that my prospects and customers are not regular blog readers, but that they would read what I have to say … and that I could offer them a valuable service if I’d just start answering their questions through my blog posts. I’m also linking out to other blogs that address those topics my customers have asked me about. In short, I decided to quit worrying about the “what if’s” and just start writing. So far, so good. :)

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