Writing for Blogs: Expertise as a Lens on Current Events

Expertise is important to the continuous production and posting of content on a blog. You cannot keep up the pace of multi-weekly posts if you do not have a sense of your own expertise. Yet, this is not the only requirement. Expertise also does not alone equal rankings and readership in today’s social media-fueled and interactions-based content evaluation landscape. If people are not reading and interacting, it does not matter how good your content may be.

The bottom line is that shaping your posts in the context of current events provides more traffic possibilities. As a result, you need a two pronged strategy for accomplishing this easily. Step 1 is to maintain a list of story ideas. I suggest 9 (3 times 3). Step 2 is to stay aware of current events, news items, research publications, and pop culture topics that percolate today, this week, and this month. Rather than thinking that this means having no filter, realize that the filter is your expertise and interests. What you find interesting is how you choose what to connect.

Step 1: Story Idea List
Some may think that a Story Idea List disrupts the intention to remain current. I explain that the story idea list is one sure way of expressing your expertise and respecting a particular audience. The main goal of a writer is to connect with an audience. The content has to be targeted toward a particular segment of the readership. This readership has a certain sensibility, comfort, and expectation about the article topics they find worth reading.

Outlining is still the best beginning to a writing project, has been that way since grade school. For blogging, I suggest outlining with a rhetorical style mirroring a homily. In writing, you think of this as composition style. The two thoughts together best present my point. Outline the passion and emotion. Outline briefly, 3 points maximum. Outline in order: introduction, point 1, point 2, point 3, summary.

With this outlining method in mind, I suggest that you project 3 main topics to cover over the next writing period. If you can think of more, feel free to write those, but pick a top three to begin with. Break each of these topics into 3 sub-points. The result is nine blog topics to write on.

Step 2: Relevance and Currency
Now that you have your nine topics, reflect on the current events, news items, research publications, and pop culture topics that have risen to your awareness. Of course, the more passion-engaging the topic is the better. Just remember, you are NOT serving the passion receptors of ALL. You are responding to your own personal insights with the intention of communicating to a specific audience.

Your writing may not take you into the sensation of Kardashians, American Idol, Downtown Abbey, or the season finale of Scandal. Your research items may not make mention of Neil deGrasse Tyson, NASA expenditures, or the federal budget for mental health. But, these topics are popular. Many of them are complex–or at least you are motivated by them to comment on the complexity in the world. Use pop culture to your advantage. Consider that the opportunity is to provide depth of commentary from a sensationalized topic point. Write well, and your readers will want more of the substance and understanding serving to contextualize the fluff and noise.