Alter the Paradigm: From Writer to Compiler

Ascentive BloggingAs a blogger, you’ve probably been taught that content is king, and that there are three keys to maintaining a successful blog that will eventually start paying dividends: write, write, and write.

But creating meaningful content isn’t just confined to staring at the blank page until your forehead bleeds and summoning up nuggets of wisdom from your imagination. More and more bloggers are discovering the advantages of three different keys to content: research, research, research.

No expert exists in a vacuum, no matter what niche you’ve nestled yourself in. Readers crave more than just your unique take on the world, your expertise, your wisdom, and your humor (though they do indeed crave these things). They want the latest and greatest information about what’s new, what’s happening, and what’s trending. They want a sense of context for what’s going on, a commentator to guide them through the “information overload” and tell them what’s important and what can be ignored. And that’s why research is so essential.

Whether it’s aggregating news articles, incorporating block quotations (properly attributed and linked to, of course), or taking the kernel of a news story and then running with it with your own commentary, being a newshound and sharing your research creates a whole new and valuable kind of content for your readers.

And don’t worry: your voice and your personality will inevitably emerge when you switch from writer to compiler and commentator. Like a painter choosing his paints, part of what makes your content unique and valuable is what you’ve chosen: just ask Matt Drudge or Arianna Huffington. You’re not a link farm: you’re a portal, a commentator using your taste and discretion to pluck the very best of what’s out there and make it make sense to your reader.

This is not to suggest that all or even the majority of your blogs will suddenly become compiled news items or statistical tidbits. But you’re doing yourself a few favors when you incorporate some compiling/aggregation into your blogging routine. First, you’re assuring yourself of good content no matter what kind of writer’s block you’re struggling through. Second, you’re keeping your blog fresh and “with it,” the kind of website that becomes a must-visit destination. And lastly, by including subjects and perspectives that might not be your usual cup of tea, you’re inviting the kind of reader comments and debate that keep a blog vital. Think about it.

What experience have you had with content aggregation? Has it worked for you? Share your thoughts!

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