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Is Your Blog Opinionated?

Do your readers have a clear idea of where you stand? Does any philosophy or approach come through your writing?

Making your blog opinionated could be a way you can make your blog stand out and gather an audience.

Gather Your Community Around an Idea

Consider what a community is. Would you agree that a community is a group of people unified by having something in common? What if that “something” was an approach, an idea or a philosophy?

When I launched this blog I outlined a key part of my philosophy in my free ebook. I also defined what I call Authority Blogging, that is blogging your expertise and experience in order to grow your profile, credibility, audience loyalty and trust.

BoingBoing seems light-hearted and fun, and the posts are rarely what you would call “in depth” but in fact there is a continuing thread taking a stand against DRM, supporting internet freedoms and fair IP laws. Strobist has a philosophy that you do not need to spend thousands and thousands on photographic lighting equipment to light your photographs well. Mark shows how business can make profit without losing heart. One of the successes I believe with Threadwatch was the humorously anti-establishment stance, the cynical view of the major search engines and the suspicion of the concepts of white hat vs black hat.

I am sure you can think of more examples.

From Consumer to Advocate

We see it in all kinds of brand allegiance, from music fans to sports team supporters. When a member of a group becomes exposed to certain messages over time, understands, considers and agrees with them, they integrate them into their own working models of the world.

The ideas become less provider to consumer and more part of a shared experience. Membership becomes part of their identity and the connection to the blog community becomes stronger and deeper.

While a blog is unlikely to grow the sort of fanatic support of a political ideology, similar psychological factors, such as cognitive dissonance, can come into play.

What do You Stand For?

Step one is to determine what your philosophy, concept or modus operandi is.

  • What are you for or against?
  • What is your winning strategy?
  • How do you think differently?
  • What elements do your audience wholeheartedly agree with?
  • Is there any common thinking between people who connect with your writing?

Once you have an idea that will work, consider how best to communicate it.

I chose to drip my ideas daily through long blog posts like this one, plus a free ebook. Michael uses podcasts and video. In the SEO world I particularly enjoy SEOMoz “Whiteboard Friday“.

When I talk about this sometimes people become frightened that they have to have all their thinking clearly laid out before they start their blog. Fortunately this is not the case.

While many of my ideas were formulated before launching this blog, they are plastic and not concrete. Your ideas do not need to be completely fixed and set in stone. My Authority Blogger concept is always evolving as I understand what works best. For example there was a time where I dismissed adsense completely while now I can see how it can work in some cases.

You can change and evolve your ideas, take your audience along with your thinking. Providing it does not come with too much of a jolt your audience will go along with you.

Could this work for you? What could be the unifying idea behind your blog?

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Comments

  1. Wow- how fun to see my name in lights here, Chris. And I totally agree with you. Opinions, or what I call “planting your flag” is what helped my grandfather establish his retail store as a Washington, D.C. institution that has lasted for more than 70 years. And those same opinions means he is the only person I know of that had free advertising printed in his obituary (one month shy of his 99th birthday.) :-)

    I wrote an article back in 2004 about him after he died, and I think it helps to further illustrate the point you are making here:
    My grandfather’s legacy

    You rock, Chris. One of the few blogs about blogging/new media that I always enjoy reading. Your authenticity shines through, and it’s helping me to learn my way in this medium that I still learning about.

  2. Wow- how fun to see my name in lights here, Chris. And I totally agree with you. Opinions, or what I call “planting your flag” is what helped my grandfather establish his retail store as a Washington, D.C. institution that has lasted for more than 70 years. And those same opinions means he is the only person I know of that had free advertising printed in his obituary (one month shy of his 99th birthday.) :-)

    I wrote an article back in 2004 about him after he died, and I think it helps to further illustrate the point you are making here:
    My grandfather’s legacy

    You rock, Chris. One of the few blogs about blogging/new media that I always enjoy reading. Your authenticity shines through, and it’s helping me to learn my way in this medium that I still learning about.

  3. Chris, thanks for the mention. I enjoy the Whiteboard Fridays, too. Standing for something is definitely a way to stand out. You’re inspiring me to think of ways to stand out more, become more opinionated, more differentiated (more remarkable).

    I have begun to do this with my concept of Gateway Blogging, and will do it even more when the site for that launches. Thanks for an inspiring article!

  4. Chris, thanks for the mention. I enjoy the Whiteboard Fridays, too. Standing for something is definitely a way to stand out. You’re inspiring me to think of ways to stand out more, become more opinionated, more differentiated (more remarkable).

    I have begun to do this with my concept of Gateway Blogging, and will do it even more when the site for that launches. Thanks for an inspiring article!

  5. How timely. After 3 months in the blogging world, this week I’ve been taking stock of all I’m learning in the blogosphere, in hopes that I can make some strategic adjustments in 2008. Your questions will be quite helpful as I sift and sort. Especially the “what do you stand for?” question. For one thing, it has me realizing that what I stand for in my business and what I’ve been writing about in my blog, are in alignment — but the name of my blog might not be…like having an ice-cream sign in a shoe store window — which gets customers confused. I’ve got more pondering to do but I wouldn’t be surprised if mulling over your questions results in some big changes for me in the New Year. As always, your stuff rocks.

  6. How timely. After 3 months in the blogging world, this week I’ve been taking stock of all I’m learning in the blogosphere, in hopes that I can make some strategic adjustments in 2008. Your questions will be quite helpful as I sift and sort. Especially the “what do you stand for?” question. For one thing, it has me realizing that what I stand for in my business and what I’ve been writing about in my blog, are in alignment — but the name of my blog might not be…like having an ice-cream sign in a shoe store window — which gets customers confused. I’ve got more pondering to do but I wouldn’t be surprised if mulling over your questions results in some big changes for me in the New Year. As always, your stuff rocks.

  7. Chris: What a great topic. After refocusing my blog a few weeks ago, I believe my blog now takes the position of advocating for personal development and transformation, specifically about following your heart, believing in yourself, & transforming your life.

    Rather than seeing my blog as opinionated, I see it more as advocating for good emotional health and being your best. I do take a strong stance against the quick-fix drug solutions of mental health and those who don’t take personal responsibilities for themselves or their actions.

  8. Chris: What a great topic. After refocusing my blog a few weeks ago, I believe my blog now takes the position of advocating for personal development and transformation, specifically about following your heart, believing in yourself, & transforming your life.

    Rather than seeing my blog as opinionated, I see it more as advocating for good emotional health and being your best. I do take a strong stance against the quick-fix drug solutions of mental health and those who don’t take personal responsibilities for themselves or their actions.

  9. It’s a greatn article Chris. I’m curious to know whether you think that being opinionated is the same as having a point of view.

  10. It’s a greatn article Chris. I’m curious to know whether you think that being opinionated is the same as having a point of view.

  11. @Mark – Your Grandfather certainly planted his flag, what an awesome story :)

    @Michael – I think it comes down to the choice between “just another ____” or being “The ____ guy” :) I look forward to seeing the new site!

    @Erica – The new year is a great time to be thinking about this stuff. While a few people have suggested I merge Authority Blogger and this blog, I do think they are separate right now if only I can get AB back on track. I love the ice cram sign analogy :)

    @Steve – Yes, standing FOR something is what this is all about. Being something or believing in something and explaining it well :)

    @Galba – Having a point of view is the important part, the reason I phrased it as I did was partly to grab interest but also to point out that it is not enough to “hold” an opinion, you have to put it out there clearly and loudly in order for people to hear it.

  12. @Mark – Your Grandfather certainly planted his flag, what an awesome story :)

    @Michael – I think it comes down to the choice between “just another ____” or being “The ____ guy” :) I look forward to seeing the new site!

    @Erica – The new year is a great time to be thinking about this stuff. While a few people have suggested I merge Authority Blogger and this blog, I do think they are separate right now if only I can get AB back on track. I love the ice cram sign analogy :)

    @Steve – Yes, standing FOR something is what this is all about. Being something or believing in something and explaining it well :)

    @Galba – Having a point of view is the important part, the reason I phrased it as I did was partly to grab interest but also to point out that it is not enough to “hold” an opinion, you have to put it out there clearly and loudly in order for people to hear it.

  13. I think it comes down to the choice between “just another ____” or being “The ____ guy”

    That is a fantastic way of thinking about it. Thanks for that! :) Seriously, that just nails it.

  14. I think it comes down to the choice between “just another ____” or being “The ____ guy”

    That is a fantastic way of thinking about it. Thanks for that! :) Seriously, that just nails it.

  15. Hell Yeah! is my blog opinionated. And an opinionated opinion is often best conveyed in a rant

    “Call it Elite, Machiavellian, Utilitarian, Biblical, even Cold-blooded, or Insane, I call it Excellence X Chutzpah, and it is always based on higher principles. I am always here to make you look good, whatever it takes.

    “It is not for everybody. While everybody is invited to try, some are here to stay. That is my opinion.”

    Hey Chris, it’s been a long time, great that you plan on giving up facebook, by the way. The “that ___ guy” thing comes from within your core expertise and is inevitable once you found what you’re doing best. So in the end, it is not about an artifical personal brand you create yourself but instead what people, customers, clients, refer you by. You can help them along by doing the best you possibly can. All the time.

    Keep up your great work Chris. Happy holidays.

  16. Hell Yeah! is my blog opinionated. And an opinionated opinion is often best conveyed in a rant

    “Call it Elite, Machiavellian, Utilitarian, Biblical, even Cold-blooded, or Insane, I call it Excellence X Chutzpah, and it is always based on higher principles. I am always here to make you look good, whatever it takes.

    “It is not for everybody. While everybody is invited to try, some are here to stay. That is my opinion.”

    Hey Chris, it’s been a long time, great that you plan on giving up facebook, by the way. The “that ___ guy” thing comes from within your core expertise and is inevitable once you found what you’re doing best. So in the end, it is not about an artifical personal brand you create yourself but instead what people, customers, clients, refer you by. You can help them along by doing the best you possibly can. All the time.

    Keep up your great work Chris. Happy holidays.