Do you post out of what you know or do you blog intuitively?
On the recommendation of Brian I’ve started reading Ogilvy on Advertising (aff) over the last couple of weeks. It’s a fairly dated book in some respects but it’s fascinating to see how many of the principles have application for blog writing.
Today I read a small section written for advertisers on ‘pursuit of knowledge’ that I thought might be relevant for bloggers writing on specialized niches.
“I asked an indifferent copywriter what books he had read about advertising. He told me that he had not read any; he preferred to rely on his own intuition. ‘Suppose’, I asked, ‘your gall-bladder has to be removed this evening. Will you choose a surgeon who has read some books on anatomy and knows where to find your gall-bladder, or a surgeon who relies on his intuition? Why should our clients be expected to bet millions of dollars on your intuition?’
This quote got me wondering how many bloggers blog on topics more on intuition than on actual knowledge on the topic they’re blogging on.
Don’t hear me as saying intuition is all bad (one of the beauties of blogging is that you don’t have to be an expert to have a voice) but having a deeper knowledge of your niche is important if you want to communicate with authority and credibility.
Of course reading books is not the only way of gaining knowledge on your topic but I’m interested to hear people reflect on these questions:
How much knowledge do you have on the topics that you write on? Where does your knowledge on your topic come from?
How would I answer the question?
The depth of my own knowledge on the blogs that I’ve written on over the years has varied a fair bit. On some blogs I blogged out of years of experience and quite a bit of knowledge while on others I’ve had a real interest without much actual expertise (and on a few blogs that I’ve let die I’ll admit that I had little interest or knowledge – they were more about trying to make money – the result was that I lost interest very quickly and they died).
In terms of inspiration it again varies from blog to blog but includes:
- other blogs (tracked via RSS largely)
- newspapers (online versions usually although we do have one delivered on the weekends)
- other ‘sites’ (when I write a post on a topic I generally will do a search on Google for the keywords I’m writing about to see what others have written outside of the blogosphere)
- books (I’m increasingly reading a lot more books and using them as inspiration for posts – this post for example)
- magazines (I know they’re supposed to be losing ground to online publications but in recent months I’ve been drawn back to them for some reason)
- personal experience (this is a significant factor in most of my blogs – I like to share what I’m learning and discovering)
Of course when I use a source I give credit back to it (although it can sometimes be a challenge to remember where you learnt something when you’re writing on the topic a few weeks or months later).
PS: I”ll say it one more time – I’m not against the idea of blogging intuitively. I think that most good bloggers blog with a blend of expertise and intuition. Sometimes the best posts come from a hunch instead of deep knowledge of your topic. Knowing when to go with a hunch is a real gift and can be what sets great bloggers apart from ‘good’ knowledgeable bloggers.
How much knowledge do you have on your topics? Where does your inspiration and knowledge come from? How much do you rely upon intuition?