Are You Educating Your Readers About Blogging?

Filed as Editorial, Features, Guides on May 13, 2008 11:05 pm

Part of our task as bloggers is to educate our readers on the subject of blogging. Do you? Many do and aren’t even aware they are. Let’s look at some of the ways you may be teaching your readers about blogging.

You teach readers how to comment on blogs

By opening your blog to comments, you are teaching your readers how to comment on blogs. But it’s a shared teaching position. Your commenters also help to educate other commenters.

The conversation on a blog begins with the blogger’s post setting the voice and writing style as they present their opinion and information. Depending upon the emotional quality in the writing, the commenters will respond in kind.

A sad, sorrowful tale invites supportive comments. A raging rant tracts others who support the cause or have an equally emotional response in contrast. An educational and factual tone elicits like comments. Once the tone is set by the blog post, the comments tend to follow along.

Visitors read through the blog comments to get a feel for what others are saying as well as how they are saying things. If the comments are open and friendly in tone, then they may feel comfortable joining the conversation in that tone of voice. If the comments are bitchy and whiny, then they will follow that form, whether or not the blogger initiated that tone of voice.

There will always be exceptions to the rule, but most people tend to respond in kind. How you respond to comments sets the tone for others to follow on your blog.

The same applies to comments you leave on other blogs. If you play nice, so will others, following your example, and sometimes following you home to your own blog.

You teach readers how you write blog content

Many bloggers share the stories of how they came up with their blog post ideas, teaching their readers about how blog content is generated.

It can be as simple as, “I was in the shower and I had this incredible idea – don’t you always get your best ideas in the bathroom?” Or stretching the story out, making it almost a blog article series; introducing how you came upon the idea to write and research the topic, and then presenting a second post on the topic itself.

Sharing the stories behind our stories doesn’t work for all bloggers, nor all blog stories. However, it does help personalize the blogging experience for many readers. Sometimes, they like knowing how you came up with this interesting topic. So why not help them learn about how blogs work by sharing a little of what it takes to blog.

You teach readers what to do when someone steals your content

While it is really none of the reader’s business if someone takes your content or not, many people blog about content theft when it happens to them, thus teaching their readers about what do you do when someone steals blog content.

There are pros and cons to making content theft public. The worst thing you can do is express your feelings over the copyright violation, especially if you are seeking public revenge. It sends a huge message to your readers about how you handle a crisis, and they pay attention closely, judging you accordingly.

It also doesn’t work.

While it may stir up your readers, it doesn’t solve the problem. The plagiarist doesn’t care, and probably doesn’t read your blog. If it’s a scraper, someone abusing your feed without permission, they are usually scraping 5, 10, or 1,000 other blogs and they aren’t paying attention either. Do you think they care?

But educating your readers on how to respond to copyright violation is critical. Why? It will happen to them.

Content isn’t the only thing being ripped off. Blog comments are ripped off through comment feeds, stuffing your blog comments into scraper blogs replacing content. Since bloggers monitor their blog content, who is checking comment content? No one, so they get away with it easily. Images are being abused. A lot of copyright content beyond the blog is being abused, so help them learn how to protect and defend their own work, if applicable.

Your readers may also be bloggers now or in the future, so it’s important that they learn about how copyright works.

You teach readers about handling conflict, rejection, and public opinion.

When you blog, you are self-publishing. A friend of mine called bloggers “virtual flashers” without the trench coats. You are exposing yourself, and your skills, to the world. Be ready for rejection.

Not only are you opening yourself up to the world, you are inviting them to have their say about you and your blog. How you respond through the blog content and comments set an example for others, teaching them about how bloggers should handle the blogging stage.

If you get a nasty comment, do you tell them off? Do you shoot off your mouth in response? How do you handle it? Do you handle it publicly or privately? Do you respond in the comments, or do you write another post slamming the idiot publicly?

How you handle blog conflict says a lot about you as a person, but it speaks even louder as an example of how, and how not, to respond to tough situations.

When you think through your response before you respond, your readers learn a lot by watching. Hopefully, they will take that lesson to their own blogs.

Teaching others how to handle the process of blogging?

One of the most common blog subjects involves whines and complaints. Give any blogger a hard time and expect a blog post to share the story with the world. And overcoming the technical aspect of blogging is no exception.

Many bloggers share their blogging woes with their readers, whether or not it’s important to their blogging niche. They’ll tell their readers that they upgraded their blogs, complain about code problems, how they added new sidebar widgets, changed the font, added pictures, decided to include podcasts or video, and make announcements to changes within the blog itself as well as on the backend that the public never sees.

Many go even further, breaking their content trends with information on comment spam, scrapers, a new social media tool they like, statistics, or other blog-related subjects that are important to the blogger – but maybe not to the reader.

I’ve long taught that you should publish only content of interest to your readers. If the art of blogging is so fascinating to you and you want to share your blogging experiences and expertise, start a blog on blogging.

Until then, reconsider how important it is that your readers learn about blogging while reading your sports blog. If you make a change that will change the way they interact with your blog, tell them. If you upgrade or do anything else that doesn’t change their experience, keep it to yourself.

How else are you teaching your readers about blogging when you blog?

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  1. By The Bloggers Times posted on May 14, 2008 at 2:34 am
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    Writing your experiences is the best thing i think either it is blogging experiences or some other.

    Hey, i get lot of ideas in Bathroom.

    Reply

  2. By Barbara Ling posted on May 14, 2008 at 3:59 am
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    Wonderful post, just tweeted it. A month or two ago I started separating out my posts to 3 different blogs to satisfy 3 kinds of readers:

    Entrepreneur – barbaraling.com
    Moms – virtual-coach.com
    MetaBlogging – askowlbert.com

    plus 8 others on various niches/etc. Now, for whatever topic about which I want to write, I have a targeted place in which to put it. It works out very well indeed.

    Data points,

    Barbara

    Reply

  3. By Mike Sieber posted on May 14, 2008 at 9:17 pm
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    I really liked your analysis about comments and how they can educate readers. This is something that I’ve never really thought about as a blogger. I’ve always gone with my gut, more or less, when responding to comments.

    And Barbara makes a great point too about starting separate blogs for specific niches. Very good advice.

    Reply

  4. By One posted on May 16, 2008 at 3:15 am
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    On my site I try to teach my readers as much as I can to do with internet marketing… search engine optimization and web development… I also try to help other bloggers monetize their blogs… Great post here, great inspiration!

    Reply

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