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Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Blogging 101--Specialize

I'm going to do a series of posts on blogging, called Blogging 101.

The first advice I would offer an aspiring blogger, is to specialize. Rather than blogging about dozens of different topics, blog about about a few. The advantage of this is that it turns you very quickly into an expert on those topics. And expertise on a topic that's hot is what drives readers and other bloggers to your blog, and results in radio, TV and magazine interviews. I've been blogging on the 9-11 "Truth" Movement on the Screw Loose Change blog for about 9 months now, and my work there has been mentioned in Time, US News & World Report, Vanity Fair and the Sunday Times of London. Heady stuff!

Obviously, specialize in topics that you find interesting; if you don't like reading about Barack Obama, you won't be able to interest your readers either. Note however that you don't have to like Barack Obama himself; indeed a snarky blog on Obama would probably attract a good deal of readers, just as the Kerry Haters blog did in 2004.

More that one topic is certainly a good idea; football-only blogs don't get a lot of readership in April, and Obama mania may not last long. But be careful that there is some reasonable overlap between your topics in readership, or you may find the football fans turned off by your mockery of Obama, and your Obama mockery fans turned off by your opinions on Bill Parcells' playcalling.

Remember that you are trying to present yourself as an expert in the topics you're blogging on; that means that you have to do the work. Learn as much as you can about your topic, both online from in books/magazines/TV. One trick that I've picked up can be quite useful. Go to Google. Type in "Barack Obama" (or any other chosen topic) in the search feature. Then Click on the News Tab at the top of Google, which will take you to this page. Scroll down to the bottom. See this?

New! More ways to find the latest on Barack-Obama:

* Search blogs
* Create an email alert

Create an email alert (requires registration with Google). Then, every time a story is printed in just about any news source, you will receive an email. This helps you keep on top of your topic.

Also click on the search blogs category; this will tell you who else is keeping tabs on the Illinois senator. These are the blogs you will be checking in with regularly to see what they're saying about Barack. There are other blog resources as well; Technorati and TruthLaidBear are especially helpful, enough so that I will devote a post to using their features.
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