When I first started working as a blogger, I primarily worked in the industry of writing about music. I wrote CD reviews and feature articles about musicians. Additionally, I covered live music events for several publications. After moving out of the music writing field, I began working primarily in writing about technology. This means that I rarely cover live events anymore. But this week Iâ€™ve been attending MacWorld, writing for Mac-Forums about what Iâ€™m experiencing at the event. Being there this week has reminded me of something that I knew when I was a music writer but had forgotten: topic-based blogging and event blogging are two entirely different things.
With topic-based blogging, it is your job to know everything that there is about the topic on which you are writing. You might have an opinion of that topic but it needs to be rooted in researched information about the subject. In other words, when I blog about VoIP phones for small businesses over at PC World, Iâ€™m not just offering an opinion of some topic that I know nothing about. I may have an opinion but it is assumed that I will have researched both VoIP and small business news in order to have formed that opinion. This type of blogging takes time in the area of research.
In contrast, event blogging also requires that you take some prep time but that time is spent actually attending the event. Whether itâ€™s walking around MacWorld or listening to a band, it is time that is spent absorbing whatâ€™s happening around you. The goal of event blogging is to report the details of what you saw (or heard) to your readers so that they can experience the event as if they were there with you. This requires that you give your opinion and perspective on the event. And it doesnâ€™t necessarily require that you do any research in order to form that opinion. For example, itâ€™s nice if a music blogger can say, â€œI hate this band because they sound like a bad combination of the drummer from Band X and the lead singer of Band Yâ€. But itâ€™s not necessary. The music blogger can just as effectively describe the grating drum beat and screeching voice and get his or her point across.
Despite this, event blogging actually requires more blogging experience than topic-based blogging does (as a general rule). Although it may not demand that you know the details of what you are seeing at the event, it does require that you thoroughly understand the business of blogging. You need to know what is important to pay attention to at an event and what isnâ€™t going to interest your readers. You have to filter through all that youâ€™re seeing and report only on the most important parts of the event. Additionally, if youâ€™re posting live from an event, you need to be familiar with your blog tools (including adding photos from the site) and you must be capable of quick-but-accurate writing.
Of course, to be a good blogger of either kind requires some of the same basic skills. Whether you are posting live from an event or you are summarizing an angle about a topic, you should be capable of clearly articulating what you are trying to say. You should also be able to back up your claims, whether thatâ€™s with information that supports your opinion on a topic-based blog or a description of the event that solidifies your point. A strong blogger will be able to move back-and-forth between both types of blogging to provide a full overview of their subject to their readers over the course of time.
5 General Skills Needed for Topic-Based Blogging:
- Research skills
- SEO/SEM knowledge
- Paragraph-based writing ability (intro, body, conclusion)
- Passion for the topic and ability to approach it from different angles
5 General Skills Needed for Blogging about Events:
- Strong working knowledge of blog tools including posting images taking at an event
- Ability to pull important details from a wealth of information
- Speedy, accurate writing under pressure of deadline
- Comfort with working in the midst of noise and distractions
- Organizational skills
Question of the Day: Do you prefer to blog live from an event or to write topic-based blog articles – and why?
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