I sure hope you appreciate a little irony, because that’s exactly what the title of this blog post is.
You see, many how-to books and posts on blogging make promises like the one above, that if you just do this-and-this, you’ll attract hundreds, thousands of readers. You wanna know why? Because posts like that work.
Here’s the common wisdom on what types of posts work:
- How-to’s (‘How to write the perfect blog post’)
- Lists (‘The 7 reasons why your blog is slow’)
- Promises that solve a problem or felt need (‘How to find new readers for your blog’)
- Sparked recognition (‘Do you make these 4 mistakes in blogging?’)
- Posts that appeal to strong emotions or pique curiosity in a big way (‘The post that got me 2,000 likes’)
Do these work? You bet.
Should you use them? That depends.
Yes, these types of blog posts work and there are more that are known to be effective for driving more traffic to your blog. Posts with good videos for instance, or posts that are geared towards a solid search term not many people have blogged about yet.
The question is this:
Do these types of posts fit into your vision for your blog?
Are they sending the kind of message you want to send?
I’m not talking about the message the blog post itself sends; I’m talking about meta—communication—the broader message you send by writing and publishing these types of posts.
The Problem with This Approach
My problem with the lists for instance is that they result in oversimplification (or worse: forced alliteration, because all five causes have to start with an A!). There’s a well known pastor who almost only blogs in lists and when I scroll through his blog feed, it makes me wonder.
Does he really believe life can be structured in lists? That our messy, complicated problems and issues can be helped with a five step-program?
Most of these popular blog-formats share a problem-solution approach. Do you have this issue? Then these four actions are your solution. But does it really work that way? Do we, as a church blog, ministry blog or blog from a Christian organization, really want to send the message that life’s issues are that easy to solve?
I don’t know about your life, but many challenges I face cannot be solved with a simple how-to. Take my 7-year old’s fear of water for instance: that can’t be solved in three simple steps, no matter how bad I want it. The only way I can help him overcome his fear of the water is by getting him to trust me, so I can teach him to swim. Trust can’t be taught in steps, it’s about a relationship.
It’s About Relationship
Christian blogging, blogging that glorifies Christ, isn’t about offering simple solutions or quick fixes. It’s about relationships. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not tempted to build a relationship with a know-it-all—which is exactly how you’ll come across if you only or mostly offer these types of blog posts. More than that, being a Christian doesn’t mean we have all the answers, so let’s stop pretending we do. Or that every question even has an answer and every problem has a solution.
So yes, throw in how to’s and lists every now and then, no problem. But do it in the context of the relationship you’re building with your readers.
And if you want to learn more about blogging, why not give our 30 Days of Blogging for Churches a try? It will help you build a solid foundation for a church or Christian blog and it offers many ideas for relational blogging.