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Blogging in Brief: Smart Writing Techniques, Swipe Files, and Myths Dispelled

This week, I’m kicking off a new, regular feature here on ProBlogger, called Blogging in Brief.

opinion_page_of_newspaper

Image courtesy stock.xchng user quil

The idea each time is to highlight a few cool, interesting, creative ideas that professional bloggers are implementing as potential inspiration for you.

ProBlogger’s based upon a philosophy of sharing stories and learning from each other, so every couple of weeks, I’ll take a look at some of the trends, ideas, and innovative new techniques various successful bloggers are using, and which you might like to test out for yourself.

Trying a new technique

Tommy Walker’s testing a new approach to writing blog posts at the moment—have a look at this one and you’ll see what I mean.

In the world of blogging, many bloggers tend to be attracted by a particular writing style, and then work to emulate that themselves. It’s great when a blogger really strikes out on their own with a radically different approach. Tommy’s preparing a piece for us to post here on ProBlogger next month, so I’m pretty excited to see where it leads!

More unexpected blogging

Corporate blogging may seem a worthy but potentially dry area. Think again. We recently came across a post on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blogs (tweeted by @kasthomas). The topic? Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.

It’s humorous, entertaining, and does a great job of presenting the CDC’s key message—being that they’re prepared for, and will respond to, any public health emergency—in a way that really opens up their blog’s audience. Great blogging!

Share your story

Chris Guillebeau’s now calling for stories as part of the research he’s doing for his next book. Maybe you have one to share?

The book is on the topic of “quests”—”a project of measurable challenge that you work toward over a long period of time.” If you think you might have a story to contribute, you can find out more here.

Cool idea: swipe file

I love this idea from Lynn Terry of ClickNewz.com. Lynn keeps what she calls a “swipe file” of marketing she sees that works, and calls on this when she needs ideas, tips, and inspiration.

It’s a really simple idea, and a great way to learn from others. You might have a blog post ideas list, or a product ideas file, but do you have an examples file—for marketing, blogging, or something else? Maybe it’s time to start one.

Dispelling blog freelancing myths

Tom Ewer, who’s written for us a few times now, is preparing to launch a new product which I think will be a real eye-opener for a lot of bloggers. This ebook is a practical guide to freelance blogging—something we’ve been talking about quit a lot here on ProBlogger recently.

Many of the posts you’ll see on this topic present freelance blogging as a simple, natural advance from blogging on your own blog, as a way to make money blogging … but that expectation can be a problem. An ability to write for your own blog doesn’t automatically make you a great freelancer. There’s a lot more to it than that.

This book (which our Content Manager Georgina has had a sneak preview of) tells it like it is as far as freelance blogging goes. Should be interesting to see the reaction from bloggers on this one!

Creating a better Internet, people

Finally, I came across this post by Allison Boyer this week and thought I’d share it. It’s got some great, basic advice I think we can all agree on. As Allison says, “Let’s create a better Internet, people.”

The news of Google’s launch of the Disavow Links tool, to help site owners who’ve suffered from bad backlinks claw back search rank, might help support the same cause.

What cool, creative things have you seen other bloggers doing this week? Share your links in the comments.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Great post Darren! There are a lot of fun and exciting ideas and initiatives in this post. The post Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse is hilarious and fun. It is a great way to attract new readers while playing off of the whole Zombie craze that is going on right now. Blogs definitely have to be flexible and evolve. A stagnant blog might tend to bore some readers.

    I agree with you that it is great to see new writing styles and new approaches to blogging. Creativity goes so much further beyond just your content and page layout. It is the way you write and can even be the way you interact with people.

    Thanks for the post, I hope you continue to do Blogging in Brief!

  2. Ben Troy says:

    I for one think this disavow tool is the best thing to happen to SEOs in 2012. It gives control back to the webmaster and allows us to remove low quality links that we cannot personally get removed

  3. Salman Ahmad says:

    Thanks so much for all the info. I have been thinking of self-publishing and this is exactly the advice I was looking for!

    5 WordPress Tips to Make Your Blog Look Like a Website

  4. Really like the idea of having a swipe file. Will be starting one soon!

    Chris

  5. Some good ideas here. I like the idea of making the internet a better place. I often write about my experiences and what I’m thinking, but it’s hard sometimes to consider what will benefit my reader the most. Will try harder.

  6. Alan Reeves says:

    Great article. I have been trying to use Evernote for a swipe file but I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it yet. Evernote is easy, just getting into the habit of saving the great stuff you read is tough.

    The Zombie Apocalypse post by the CDC was great. It is nice to see that even an organization as renouned as the CDC can have fun

  7. This is an amazing idea I would love to apply Darren! This is a very crucial philosophy ProBlogger is based upon and I think it sounds a great technique especially on creating a better Internet, people. I find it very useful and this is what I will swipe to! Thanks.

  8. Shelby Roth says:

    Wow! This sounds so useful and inspiring tips Darren. I think I have been wanting such tips so much and thanks a lot you dropped just on time. Sharing your story actually serves my technique since I get to learn more than I expect. So cool tips indeed. I look forward into applying the same. Very encouraging and outstanding post, Thanks a lot for sharing

  9. Hi Darren!

    I am actually curious of Tommy Walker’s style/ technique. I am looking forward to his post next month and I am hoping to enjoy it! I also like the swipe file technique! I am thinking of trying it. In fact, the article and all this techniques are just but great!

  10. I like the blogging in brief idea. Actually, I am happy today, brief writing, but very educative! All these techniques of various bloggers are worth a try. They are very inspiring and I like them.

  11. I hit upon the idea of blogging about life in the senior years only recently when I clambered past the 60 year milestone. Having spent just a few months taking my first baby steps in the blogosphere you could say I’m one of those new ‘kids’ on the block, and I thank you for this post with all the idea-packed links. It has been a big help to a newbie like me. Till now I have been concentrating on good, inspiring content with a dash of humour. Now I’m seriously considering adopting Tommy Walker’s idea for a future post. All the same, I had to pat myself on the back when I heard Lynn talking about a swipe file, for I’ve already been doing this from day one and it has certainly produced good results.

  12. Darren, big thanks for this one!

    Tommy’s style is very promising. For a moment, I forgot I was reading a blog post. I first thought that the style of storytelling was bizarre but he got me reading the post from top to bottom. So that’s a good sign that this one works.

  13. Daniel Wood says:

    I personally don´t have any faith in Disavow Links tool, i think the google dance will not stop anymore.

  14. Lynn Terry’s idea on ‘Swipe file’ is amazing and seems touching to every blogger out there. The internet never seems to exhaust new things for sure. Blogging is becoming part of me. I will bookmark this link to keep myself posted.

    Thanks a lot.

  15. The first point you made about changing writing styles was a real interest for me. At my health blog i have recently introduced a new style of explaining the health benefits of foods and fruits. You can check the first article in the series:
    Health benefits of oats explained with simplicity
    I have 10 more articles ready in the series. Hoping for a great response!

  16. Prithvi says:

    Nice Article Darren. Telling about our own experience to our readers always helps in creating a touch with them and it is a good sign for blogger as well as the reader. And it is also said, that our post should be for readers, not the search engines, this idea makes it complete.. :)

  17. Allison says:

    Thanks for linking to my post, Darren. :)