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Archive for December 6th, 2007

Posting Popular Stories Sends Readers Away

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Not always, but sometimes. Especially when the story is already popular, and you're trying to pull off a blogger's "Dumb and Dumberer."

This idea recently became clear to me. A couple of weeks ago I began noticing headlines on the front page of the paper that seemed oddly familiar. A closer look revealed that the publication was reporting on stories I had already read about online, the day before.

Of course, perspective gained from a passage of time is helpful for interpreting events. But because I had already read about those stories previously, the paper couldn't hold my interest.

For different reasons, bloggers can also fall into the trap of reporting old news. It's deceptively easy, because technically the news isn't old at all. But there's a lag between the time the story breaks, and the time someone reads about it on the average blog.

Sometimes it can seem like a good idea to repeat what the big names are saying. After all, they're successful because they make good choices, and their choice of what to blog about must be brilliant right? So you post your take on things. But if you don't have a unique perspective, and you can't offer much more than what's already been said, you can sabotage your efforts to appeal to readers.

Say a surfer reads the story you read on the big name blog. Later he visits your blog. Same story! Boring. Exit, link right.

Certainly, if you're the first with a brand new update on a matter that has already been covered, then by all means get Dugg! But most of the time doling out a rehash of the same old ideas isn't the most compelling way to post.

So the lesson here is to be as unique as possible, in subject, in perspective, and in timing.