Have you been blogging for awhile, but are not sure if you’re getting through to your audience? How can you write content that appeals to your audience and what they want to know about?
If you want to learn how to blog for a mass audience, you can learn from journalism. Bloggers are trying to reach a large audience, just like journalists do. You’re probably trying to appeal to a niche with your blog, but you’re still writing for a wide audience of readers.
In journalism, there are seven values of news stories. Editors at print and online publications, and news directors at broadcast outlets, decide on what content the audience sees based on these values. They are:
- Impact: This is when the story affects a lot of people and matters to them. One example from 2012 was Superstorm Sandy. It impacted a lot of people on the East Coast.
- Immediacy: This is timely news that just happened or is about to happen. This is most commonly called “breaking news.”
- Proximity: This is news that happens in or close to your community. People tend to care about events that happen close to them. I live in Louisville, Ky., and every year we prepare for the Kentucky Derby. Many people worldwide watch the Derby itself, but not as many outside the community will care about events such as Thunder Over Louisville, The Great Steamboat Race, or the Derby Festival Marathon.
- Prominence: If the story involves a recognizable name, it attracts attention. For example, if any of us average people takes a trip across the country, it’s not newsworthy. But if a world leader like Barack Obama takes a trip across the country, it’s news.
- Novelty: If the story is new, unique or different, it also attracts attention. Recently, we were riveted by the story of the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared. At least, I was! How often does a plane simply disappear in our modern world? The situation was unique. (Let’s hope it remains unique.)
- Conflict: These stories involve confrontations or disagreements and clashes of power. Political stories often have this element. Examples are when lawmakers disagree or elections are going on.
- Human Interest: These stories connect with and focus on people and their humanity. They make readers feel happy, sad, horrified, outraged, or a range of other emotions.
Often, news stories will have more than one of these values, which is what helps put them at the top of the news.
What can you as a blogger learn from these news values? If journalists use them to appeal to their audiences, you can use them, too. Depending on what type of blog you’re writing, you can make sure your posts are based on one or more of these values.
Novelty should be present in a lot of your blog posts as you find a fresh way of looking at your niche. If you’re writing a news blog, you will probably rely on impact and immediacy. If you’re writing a celebrity blog, prominence will definitely come into play. If you’re writing a local blog, proximity will be valuable to your audience. If you’re writing an opinion or political blog, then conflict will drive your posts. If you’re writing an informative or hobby blog, human interest will draw your audience in.
If your audience sees the same values reflected in your blog as they’re used to seeing in the news, chances are they’ll relate to your blog. And if they relate to your blog, they’ll be more likely to stick around and read it.
Readers, do you notice these values in your blog posts, or in the blogs you read? How do you think these values might help your blog writing?