This column is written by Kimberly Turner from Regator (a great tool that gathers and organizes the world’s best blog posts). – Darren
What were bloggers writing about last week? We used Regator’s trending topics to generate a top ten list that shows you exactly that (click any trend to see posts on that story). In the first installment of this column, we looked at how a few bloggers had used unique approaches to cover the week’s hot topics in ways that added to the conversation and created more interesting, worthwhile content.
This week, I was inspired by Darren’s recent post “Here’s What You Should Do to Improve Your Blog Today.” In it, he suggests that you “identify a reader’s problem (or that of a potential reader) and produce a post that will solve it.” (ProBlogger’s The 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook also focuses on this topic on day 16.) Another way of putting it would be to fulfill a need or want that your readers have. So in addition to the trending topics for the week, we’ll also take a look at how a few specific posts covered these stories while simultaneously solving a problem for their readers. If you’ve written a post on one of this week’s trends that fulfilled a need for your readers, please share it in the comments.
- Justice John Paul Stevens – Darren presents the problems to be solved as statements such as “I am bored,” “I want to improve…” or “I need a review of…” In this case, a reader might say, “I want to share my opinion on something I feel strongly about.” And Slate‘s Jurisprudence blog post “Who Should Replace Justice Stevens?” gives them the opportunity to do so in addition to providing opinions, speculation, and commentary from a variety of legal professionals. (Comedy Central’s Indecision Blog filled my need for humor with the headline “Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Forces Lazy Indecision Blogger to Come Up With Second Angle on Retirement in One Day.”)
- Tiger Woods – “I’d like to advance my career.” This is a common desire but not one you’d expect Tiger Woods to be able to help with. Above the Law managed to find a way with its post “Is There a Tiger Woods Effect in Law Firms?”
- iPhone OS/Steve Jobs/Apple iPad – The blogosphere has Apple fever! I’m grouping these three related terms (all of which appeared in this week’s top ten) together to avoid Apple overload. The most common reader need when it comes to new gadgets is “I want a review of…” or “I want advice about buying…” In the case of the iPad, Business Insider fulfills the second need by answering the question “Should You Wait for iPad 2.0?” in a thoughtful video post.
- Star Wars – Sometimes your readers’ wants might be as simple as “I want the latest news about…” or “I want to have interesting tidbits to drop into cocktail party discussions.” For this, Cinematical’s post “Will ‘Star Wars’ Work as a TV Comedy?” is ideal. Like the Justice Stevens post above, it allows readers to express their opinions on something.
- Polish President Lech Kaczynski – After a tragic event such as this week’s plane crash, there is a desire to provide as much information as possible but other reactions might be “I don’t want to feel alone” or “I want to know how others are feeling.” The post “Poland: R.I.P. Black Saturday” from GlobalVoices solves these problems by gathering a wide range of feedback, emotional reactions, and opinions from Facebook, Twitter, news sources, forums, and blogs.
- Net Neutrality – Complex issues such as these often leave readers thinking, “I want to know what effects this will have on my life.” WSJ blog Digits solves this problem with “Winners and Losers in the Net-Neutrality Ruling.”
- Easter – “I want to find a new/better way to…” Finish this sentence with something you know the readers in your niche are interested in, then write a great post about it. That’s what Serious Eats did in their beautifully presented and very useful post “How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally, Without a Store-Bought Kit.”
- Malcolm McLaren – When a well-known individual passes away, many react with, “I want to remember…” Rolling Stone‘s Rock&RollDaily blog solved this problem by providing videos of punk icon Malcolm McLaren’s most notable work in “Flashback: Remembering Malcolm McLaren, The Musician.” Posts that solve the “I want to remember…” problem can work in other circumstances as well. Don’t underestimate the draw of nostalgia when considering posts that look back on a time period, individual’s career, or trend.
- Upper Big Branch – After tragedy, people often respond with “I want to understand why this happened.” BoingBoing‘s “Of Coal Mines and Methane” and Footnoted.org‘s “Few Hints of Trouble in Massey Energy’s Filings” take two very different approaches to solving the “I want to understand…” problem.
- Oprah Winfrey – “I want to be in the know” is one of our readers’ most common desires. They come to you each day (or week) to stay informed. The Frisky‘s “What We Know About The Oprah Winfrey Network So Far” condenses the basic information on the story into a quick-to-scan bulleted list, filling its readers’ need to be quickly informed.