August 18, 2010
As an intern at Fast Horse, I spend a lot of time researching and compiling lists of blogs so we can make pitches on behalf of our clients. When doing so, I’m most concerned with a blog’s content, the frequency of its updates and what it’s doing to create a buzz. Bloggers who are most conscious of these three areas continually put forth the best product, and that’s where we want our clients to be seen.
I’m an unabashed fan of rap music, but I also read about 20-25 blogs per day. That’s no coincidence, because rappers and bloggers have a lot in common – chiefly, a perceived narcissism, but also the desire to innovate, the struggle for mainstream relevance and tons of competition. Rap music and blogging, as media, have endured through years of doubt and dismissal, but remain viable, both commercially and creatively.
If a blogger is looking for inspiration, they shouldn’t look to an Arianna Huffington or a Matt Drudge, but to someone like Drake, the 23-year-old rapper from Canada and arguably the brightest pop star of 2010. (That’s him above.) Drake’s young career is based on a series of brilliant calculations that could provide a blueprint to aspiring bloggers and seasoned hacks alike.
Show swagger. So many blogs seem apologetic over their very existence. Too often, I see taglines like “A few musings and random thoughts from a suburban housewife.” That inferior, bashful tone does nothing but undermine a blogger’s authority. (Even before Drake released his first album, he rapped, “Last name: Ever/ First name: Greatest.”) Focus less on what inspired a blog’s existence and focus more on convincing your audience you belong on their bookmark bar.
Stay fresh. In fairness to your audience, you have to stick to a posting schedule that’s both regular and realistic. You can’t drop a full-length album every day, but maybe a single here or mixtape there is manageable. Consider guest appearances, too. If there’s a blogger you follow who might benefit from being exposed to your audience, offer the opportunity to post as a guest. Create a clear expectation of how frequently your readers can expect new material.
Come correct. It’s easy to get caught up in templates and promotion, but the most important part of any blog is the content. Make sure social media, widgets, and plug-ins all take a backseat to sitting down and writing something worth reading. Think of your content as rapping a cappella – can it stand alone? What happens when you turn off the lights and music? Would your audience still read?