Not all blogs are about pictures of cute cats, our latest hairstyles, tips on this or that. Sometimes we post on issues we really care about hoping in our own small way to make a difference and change minds.
I notice a lot of earnest pleas for attention in blogs that miss one vital ingredient. Some of the best blogs and bloggers are guilty of it. The mistake? Believing everyone already thinks the same way and just need to be provided the facts in a succinct and accurate manner. Problem is, the truth is we all have our own issues to think and care about.
If you want people to care about your issue you have to help them understand.
This is particularly true of political blogs but I actually notice it more in technical blogs. Perhaps the political folks have to learn this lesson to stay around in the game for any length of time without burning out through lack of progress. I read yet another security alert, another diatribe on the evils of copy protection, yet another shock-horror story about how our privacy is at risk. In all of these posts the blogger assumes we know exactly what the issue is and where this all might lead.
If people who want to make big important political changes can’t get this right, then there is little hope for the small company putting out yet another press release. The same issues are present. With your press release you want people to take notice and pass on your news right? Well, that means persuading someone that what you have to say is important, just the same as the “change the governments policy” guy.
You must MUST answer two questions at least if you want to not only be understood but you want people to feel something
- What the heck are you really talking about?
- Why should I care?
Without answering those two questions well and early on you have lost your audience.
When you are talking to friends over the water cooler they can turn back to you and say “DRM, RFID, whatsthatnow?”, on blogs people don’t want to look foolish so you don’t get those sorts of comments as often. It is not enough to just link to the definitions also, very often definitions are written in an impartial way and do not refer to all the pros and cons or debate.
I am not talking about dumbing down, you don’t have to treat your reader like a child. Just make sure there is clearly articulated what the issue is and why it is important. You need to give your audience the tools to form an opinion. If you don’t, nobody will care.