Andy Hawthorne

Thoughts, stories and ideas

Blogging: What's the Point?

Gazillions of people blog but it still raises the question, why bother when nobody reads it?

Think of a topic. There’ll be a blog about it out there. Will it be well written? Or written for the reader?

Maybe, maybe not. The point is, people bother with them because it’s a great format for sharing information. Like the web itself is a great platform for content sharing.

See? It works.

So why do we have to get all literary and technical?

This guy stirs things up.

Blaise Pascal said:

Anything that is written to please the author is worthless

Yeah, but…

It’s just blogging, right? It doesn’t matter that much…

Ah, shit. It does, so let’s work this out.

Bloggers are criticised for writing stuff for themselves. I find that weird, don’t you?

Who does that? Why would anyone (let alone bloggers) write something and then read it and say:

“Wow, that’s awesome!”

And then put it away — so nobody else reads it.

That doesn’t sound right. So, did Pascal have a point?

He did. You don’t have to be involved in writing for long because you’ll hear shouted from the rooftops:

Write for your reader…

That means you have to know who your reader is likely to be.

Well, I’ll explain who I’m writing this for.

This post is for bloggers and writers. I see you. People who worry about writing that others will find a worthwhile read.

Author, Andy Maslen describes it as the WIIFM principle.

What’s In It For Me? (WIIFM)

Nobody reads blog posts just because. You’re reading this because you want something from it.

And that’s fine. I want you to get something from it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Oh wait, now I’m agreeing with Pascal. He must have been right, after all.

The idea of writing for your reader sounds simple. The truth is, it’s not.

You think you have an interesting topic. You think you’ve written about it well.

You publish the post and then watch the tumbleweed roll by as nobody reads it.

That lack of readers is down to one thing: did the post offer something? A takeaway? Something the reader could hang on to?

The chances are it didn’t. Or it wasn’t an obvious thing.

Here’s the big reveal.

Nobody wants to read what you’ve written

That’s the simple truth. It’s not because people are cruel. It’s because people are busy doing life. Stopping for a couple of minutes to read your post is more of a burden on their time than they can spare.

It turns out that Pascal was right. You have to find something to write about. But then write about it in a way that means the reader would be MAD not to read it.

That’s hard to achieve. But it is necessary.

There’s a simple way to help yourself achieve this aim. When you read over what you’ve written ask yourself this:

Is this interesting?

Be honest when you answer the question. And do it for every sentence you write.

That way, you stand a chance of writing a piece people will read. Because you’ve worked hard on the interest factor.

And because there is something to take away.

Here’s the takeaway for this post. I’ll repeat what Blaise Pascal said:

Anything that is written to please the author is worthless.