Today we’re starting a new type of post here at ProBlogger – Blogosphere Trends – something we hope will become a regular feature of ProBlogger and a way for bloggers to keep up with the latest trends in the Blogosphere.
This column is written by Kimberly Turner (pictured right) 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 for the week to generate a top ten list that shows you exactly that (click any trend to see posts on that story). But as Darren pointed out in his video post “11 Ways to Add to the Conversation of the Blogosphere and Stand Out from the Crowd,” it’s not enough to cover the stories that everyone else is covering: “Successful bloggers have something of their own to say.” So in addition to the trending topics for the week, we’ll take a look at some specific posts that managed to truly add to the conversation around these stories. Did you cover one of these stories in an innovative way that broke out of the echo chamber? Tell us about it in the comments.
- Sarah Palin – For “What Does the Future Hold for Sarah Palin? (Besides LL Cool J)”, Jezebel heeded Darren’s sixth piece of advice by considering the implications of the current story on future events.
- Hot Tub Time Machine – Though the post does contain spoilers, io9’s “Open Letter to the Writers and Director of ‘Hot Tub Time Machine,’ From a Physics Professor” is a refreshing take on a story that many bloggers covered with a simple review. Interviewing experts for posts is a great way to create original content—bonus points when you do it in such an unexpected way.
- Apple iPad – Like the Sarah Palin post, iPhoneCTO’s “iPad Misunderstood: 5 Ways Apple’s Uber Tablet Will Transform Business” looks into the future but, just as importantly, also takes a broad story and focuses it for the blog’s specific readership. Knowing your readers and shaping stories to meet their needs can help you craft unique content.
- Earth Hour – Earth Hour elicits its fair share of debate. Many bloggers approached the topic as devil’s advocates (more of Darren’s advice). Lifehacker’s “Forget Earth Hour and Do Something Useful Instead” not only argued against the effectiveness of the event but also provided alternate ways its readers could save energy.
- Ricky Martin – Autostraddle’s “Cracking the Coming Out Code With Clues From Gay Ricky Martin, Infographics” analysed the star’s decision by putting it in the context of other gay celebrities and their experiences. Putting a specific story within a broader context is another way of adding to the conversation. The nifty infographics don’t hurt either. The good news is that, while they are eye-catching, they aren’t so elaborate that you’d require an art director do something similar for a story you’d like to explore in this way.
- Kids’ Choice Awards – While most posts covering this Nickelodeon event were pretty predictable, Videogum managed to elicit a giggle from me with its humorous presentation of the winners list in “Old People React to the Winners of the 2010 Kids’ Choice Awards.” A bit of well-placed humour can take a post on a story that everyone’s covering to the next level.
- Sandra Bullock – Rather than echoing the countless stories on the subject, “David Brooks + Sandra Bullock = Matrimania” from Living Single uses a New York Times opinion piece as a jumping off point to provide an alternate viewpoint and to look at the institution of marriage as a whole.
- Michael Steele – Another of Darren’s tips is to aggregate various opinions on a story. The Moderate Voice does this well in its post “How Long Will Michael Steele Last at the RNC?” The author gathers snippets of coverage from a number of major sources then goes a step further by adding his own opinion/analysis of each.
- Catholic Church – “Are the Media Picking on the Catholic Church?” at Blogging Religiously uses a few bits of Darren’s advice. The author indicates what aspect of the story grabbed his attention—in this case the angle and nature of the media coverage—and then provides what he sees as missing information and answers to questions. Although he does quote from other sources, these techniques help him avoid the echo chamber.
- Large Hadron Collider – We’ve seen (iPad example) that taking a broad story and focusing it in for your audience can be very effective, but sometimes—particularly if you’re dealing with a complex subject such as the LHC—taking a very specific story and broadening it to provide background or additional explanation is an even better option. Ars Technica/Nobel Intent’s “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Particle Smashers (But Were Afraid to Ask)” illustrates this well.