Keeping Up With the Times
A few days ago, it seemed like all my social network feeds were abuzz with a popular new article in the New York Times. I bookmarked the story, and got around to reading it the next day. The day after that, I made a note to myself to at least write a short blurb on my opinion of the article. And after that? Well, the hype died down and my friends were sharing the “next big thing.”
Often, blogging is about timeliness. For personal bloggers (myself included), posts about memories, outings, and life philosophies can generally be published at any time. But if you write about hot topics or come across a trendy article that you just need to share your thoughts on, posting in a timely manner is crucial. When done right, it can bring new readers to your site and build your reputation as someone who can navigate the wily media.
What does it mean to be timely? There’s no hard and fast rule for when you need to write your posts, and different topics or controversies will die down or carry on at their own speed. Personally, I’ve found that if I haven’t written something roughly four days after I first heard about it, it’s probably not going to get written. And by a week’s time, I feel like I’ve missed the boat. This timeline may be shorter than others, but sooner is generally better.
Media moves quickly, and it can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace. If you’re looking to report on hot topics, keep these tips in mind:
- Multitask: Try to blog while watching your favorite news program for immediate writing fodder. You can do this on your phone, on your laptop, or with a trusty notebook in hand.
- Inspiration in your inbox: Through Google Alerts, you can sign up to receive daily email alerts regarding topics that you’re interested in. Want to blog about the presidential race? Want to stay up to date on the Olympic games? Adding these as alerts will let you know each time they’re mentioned in a news article, and also cuts down on the leg work when looking for related articles to link to in your post.
- The big picture: If there’s a particular topic you’re interested in commenting on, but feel like you’re arriving late to the party, write it anyway. Some posts may take longer, but it doesn’t mean they’re any less valuable. It can also give you the opportunity to develop it into a larger commentary and include other related topics that display an overall trend in the media.
Timeliness is, at times, a skill, a luxury, and a necessity for bloggers. Do you have a deadline for when you try to get a post out? Or do you prefer to focus on pieces that can be timely at, well, any time?