I slacked on the last couple of presenters so I'm going to try again now.
Halley is talking about all the things that help you get popular:
Things of this world- keep it real
Brevity- think about 12 posts instead of 12 paragraphs
Halley talks about Mena Trott and how she is a corporate blogger and highlights entries from Mena's blog from 2001-2005. They start very innocent and then move into the business side of Six Apart.
The first time she heard about Movable Type, she heard it was "beautiful- it is designed by a woman who really knows what she's doing.
Mena's Corner was established as a place to write about her life and the company. This established a "softer" side to the company- which is a contrast to their more professional blog at Six Apart.
Six Apart bought a huge weblog company called Live Journal and the title of her post was "Current Mood: Optimistic"- which is something that is from the Live Journal community.
Halley is making the point that Mena is a model business blogger. She is a person with a personality and voice that shows through.
Stowe asks: Can it be learned? Can good blog writing can be learned?
Halley: It is possible, but hard. It takes practice. Blog writing can be better and studying the masters is a start.
Stowe: My trial by fire was when I needed to write a 16 page newsletter. The first one took a month, then later it became later a day.
Halley: Don't assume that the corporate communications people are going to be good bloggers. What it really takes is someone with passion.
Stowe Boyd on True Voice
He believes its impossible to get across a good story unless you are strongly biased and care deeply about what you tell.
Blogging is a social medium. In his writing- its very much about getting into discussions with really smart people. Corante is a confederation of thought leaders. David Weinberger once said "There are no smart companies, only smart conversations."
Read first, then write. How can we make sense of this blog thing? Often we got brought in, they tried it and it didn't work. They didn't go out and look for the thought leaders or the popular writers on the subjects they wanted to blog- so they failed.
A critical thing that you need to do is know where the lines are and when you need to cross them. He got in an argument with Clay Shirky and Danah Boyd recently that went back and forth and created great content.
To get good, write more and more. Ask for feedback, get out there.
Halley- I'm not worried if its bad- I just put it out there and it works.
Stowe- Ranting about things that really make him angry is what gets the most hits.
Q: Can you go back and rewrite blog posts.
A: If you go back and change your posts to reflect a change in opinion is bad. It's like food- if it hits the floor you have a few seconds before it really gets unclean.
Stowe and Halley both sit down and write a post in one sitting.
Anil encourages people to post the same posts more than once. Put it out there and it will show your readers that you are practicing.
I'm getting encouraged by this talk and the whole conference. I tend to put a magnifying glass on each post (except today). I think I need to be more whimsical and write all the site.
Stowe: It's important to have a sense of humor.
Halley writes her most sexy and dirty posts on Monday mornings because that is what her readers want.
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