In the earlier post we discussed why it is important to classify your blog and the different ways this classification can affect your blogging. This post looks at the different types of blogs, how readers classify blogs, and how you can classify blogs based on your objectives.
We all blog for a reason: your reason could be to provide a channel for your creativity – talk about writing, painting, or write stories and jokes; you may want to blog to just air your opinion on current affairs and be heard; or, build a closed group for discussion. Similarly, as a start-up, you may want to exploit this channel to increase your presence and generate leads. No matter what your objective, a formal classification can influence your voice and blog design.
According to the data collected by Technorati during 2011, Inspiration and Ideas, Information, and Entertainment are the most common reasons readers visit blogs. This tells us that blogs need to be classified on different axes: the blogger’s objective and the reader’s objective at the minimum to start with. And to become a successful blogger, you must strive to align your objective with that of the reader’s. So based on the Technorati data, we can classify blogs in these broad categories.
Information blog : I can come here to know the latest and the best on . . .
Opinion blog: This blogger is an expert and what she says counts. I want to know what she thinks . . .
Educational/Training blogs: This blogger writes about how to do . . . I visit this when I want to know how to do something with an application.
Entertainment blogs: I need to kill some time, this blog is humorous and lifts my mood.
Let us now try to classify blogs based on the 5 reasons we discussed in the earlier post.
From a writer’s perspective, the classification needs to be slightly formal. The 5 reasons . . post tells us that formal classification affects your tone, design, topics, and scope. If you are still not convinced take a look at Microsoft Windows blogs. Microsoft not only has a separate blog for each product such as IE, SkyDrive, and Windows Live, but has further classified the main Windows blog according to audience interests (Developing for Windows) and experience level (Extreme Windows Blog). Similarly, Accenture – a consulting company – has classified its various blogs based on the industry verticals it works for and for different audience such as their partners and job seekers. At the other end of the spectrum are personal and entertainment blogs that completely differ from the Microsoft and Accenture blogs. For example, the ONTD blog mostly focuses on news and happenings from the entertainment industry. Similalry, this blog is pure humor.
At a high-level, your blog can be most probably placed in one of the following categories.
This could be your personal diary, a journal that is not accessible to the world or restricted to a few readers. The main characteristic of the blog is that the blogger is writing just for herself and doesn’t stand to gain in any way other than personal satisfaction.
Some other personal blogs, although written and maintained by one blogger, are created to engage the blogger’s peers and encourage discussion about a domain or a subject. Some bloggers may also use this type to establish the blogger’s authority and promote their skills and experience in the industry for job prospects.
Corporate blogs again can be public and private. Many organizations have internal blogs that are used for knowledge sharing and to capture tacit knowledge of its workers. Public corporate blogs are aimed to support its customers and increase engagement with them. These blogs typically talk about products, services, latest announcements and manage their image online.
Community blogs are usually organized around a subject or a software and has multiple contributors. The objective is usually to share information. Other examples of the community blogs could be those maintained by governmental organizations such as the SBA blogs that helps small businesses or the HUD that discusses developments related to housing.
Affiliate blogs are usually individuals talking about a subject and software or for that matter any products associated to the subject. For example, you will find many travel blogs that talk about different locations and what’s worth seeing there. The text is usually embedded with links to book hotels or air tickets that provide the blogger some commission if a reader uses that link to buy a product. For example, this affiliate program announced by Yatra for travel bloggers.
We have looked at how blogs can be classified and as discussed in the earlier post, this classification dictates the physical features of your blog and also your writing style. In the next post we will look at some characteristics of each type of blog and evaluate some successful blogs.