Ever heard of the saying “Substance over style?”
Yeah, me too, right before the ice age killed all the dinosaurs. Seriously, that term is so geocities it belongs to the web grave together with pure HTML websites and sprite images. Here’s where I’m coming from:
A few years ago, when I was infected with the blogging virus, the pro talk was all about creating evergreen content.
You may know the spiel:
Write 2-3K long, information-infested how-to articles that could withstand the sands of time. It’s what the blogging masters said, and maybe that was true in that age. But boy, has the web changed our reading style or what? With today’s pathetic attention span and smartphone-iritis, people of the internet swipe, scan and skip like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve heard that from my peers from all over the planet, and it has scared me.
Why even bother blogging informational epic posts? The question faded when I analyzed some of the popular writers I followed online:
Chuck Wendig, Larry Correia, James Altucher and Milo Yiannopoulos, among others.
They range from the left to the moderate to the right of the political spectrum and ignite the crowds like gunpowder from the fire nation. But oh my, do they attract a following. Their posts receive shares in the multiple hundreds, as well as comment blasts ranging from 300 to 3000 per blog post, not too mention all the Twitter rage, blocking and hate mail that comes with it.
But why do these bloggers attract such a loyal and strong fanbase? I think for a couple of reasons:
—They have strong opinions and dare to express them openly on the web, which is something to admire in this offendatron world.
Do they share information in the traditional sense? Well, they tend to write HEAVILY opinionated blog posts with a few infos sprinkled in-between. The readers who agree with their view points soon turn into junkies that need the next blog fix.
Edgy honesty is always polarizing. And addictive.
—They create a black and white narrative. It’s always ‘us’ against ‘them’, whether ‘us’ are the indie authors versus the evil traditional publishing empire, the ‘Hugos’ versus the ‘Sad Puppies’ (and their invasion!), and the classic ‘left’ versus ‘right’.
A black and white narrative is all about inclusion and exclusion, which makes it a powerful tool to rally your troops.
(Fight the army AKA vote for my article/book/ AKA spam the enemy website with troll comments)
—They have a unique writing style. Chuck Wendig makes up curse words and writes weird English while showing his progressive views, staccato style. Larry Correia takes apart his haters in commentary-style blog posts and makes fun of his eternal enemies, Social Justice Warriors. Milo Yiannopoulos takes apart everything to the left with his British humor. And James Altucher? He’s got that paranoid, self-critical Woody Allen shtick to his every edu-taining blogpost.
Some of their posts make me cringe. I often think–wow, did they really publish THAT to the whole wide world? Yes, they did. And they receive hatemail for it. But hey, FLAK fire and fanfare go together like beer and sausage.
The number one reason why their readers come back again and again is because they want to know what the author has to say about topic X, delivered in their irreverent style. Information is an added flavor, nothing more. People crave people foremost.
That’s why in today’s world, style beats substance with a baseball bat and titan-steel nails attached. Clob, clob, take that substance. Go back home and algorise yourself.
But oh boy, are they attracting readers like flies to the shit.
If you only create lackluster informational posts, you’re competing with Wikipedia and algorism and guess what, they’re going to roboterminate you.
Don’t fight robots by out-roboting them.
Fight them with human flavored power.
Ooze your articles with your opinion and personal experience, and hit the publish button like you stole the keyboard.
Sure, you’re going to piss off the perpetually offended, but do you want these narcissists to read your blog anyways?