Better Blogging: You have a good idea! Now what?

In an earlier post, I offered a few tips on making it easier to find good ideas for your blog. Today, I’ll address some of the next steps in turning your idea into something valuable and memorable.

1. Before rushing into your blog post, find out what others have done around your idea. You’d read clips if you were writing a newspaper article; blogging should be no different. So, whether you’re doing breaking news or something more featurey, search around and make sure you’re caught up on the latest information. This way, you can avoid foolishly repeating someone else’s work, and it allows you to add something new to the story. Be a good blogger: Don’t forget to link to other relevant and credible sources of information.

2. Decide which media are best for the story.

  • Is it unfolding in real time? Get on Twitter and start live tweeting. Check to see if anyone is using a hashtag. If so, use it too. Or, make up your own hashtag. Pay attention to what others are tweeting and seek out possible people to interview.
  • Are there compelling visuals and action? Get out your video camera and start filming. And take plenty of still pictures.
  • Is it an emotional story? Consider recording audio interviews.

Think about your audience: What do you want them to see, hear and read, so they can get the most complete understanding of the story?

3. Plan ahead, time permitting. Try to imagine the finished product. Is it three grafs with links and photo? Or is it a 5-minute video feature, with multiple interviews, b-roll and natural sound? Allow yourself plenty of time for complex multimedia pieces. An audio slideshow or video report could easily take you a day or more to produce from start to finish.

4. Know your equipment and software, inside and out. The f’ing manual? Read it. The last thing you want is to lose your amazing audio interview because you weren’t familiar enough with your recorder, or to end up missing a deadline because you hadn’t done a dry run of uploading and publishing your media. Practice.

I’ll probably revisit this topic again sometime; meanwhile check out these links for more tips on better blogging:

John Einar Sandvand – “5 things journalists should learn from bloggers”

Deb Ng – “8 Tips for Rocking a Crowded Blog Niche”

Robert Niles – “Passion Replaces the Dullness of an Overused Journalistic Formula”

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