4 New Formats For Your Blog Posts - As Inspired By "The Read"

April 14, 2018

The Read

I was about 5 years late to the game but I finally got into The Read a few months ago and catapulted itself to the top of my All-Time Fave Podcasts list. The dynamic duo of Kid Fury and Crissle give me unadulterated life and joy. But other than their wit and advice, their presentation is an underrated element of the show. Episodes are broken up into sections much like any other podcast.

Taken from Wikipedia:

  • Black Excellence where Kid Fury picks someone in the black community to celebrate. One that has accomplished something that is worthy of high recognition.
  • Hot Tops, previously Sick Sad World, also selected by Kid Fury (the segment has undergone several other name changes, including Hot Topics, Shade In Full, and the fan favorite, "Bitch, You Guessed It!!")
  • Listener Letters as curated by Crissle (the segment is changed to Listener Questions when done during a live show)
  • The Read where Kid Fury and Crissle "read" (African American gay slang for giving one's harsh opinion) a person or topic.

These four sections cover a period of around 2 hours. You don't even notice the time disappearing such is their ability to captivate. But what does this have to do with blogging? Well, the format can translate into your blog posts if you're running out of ideas. The debate over word counts, long vs short form, impacts on SEO and so on will continue forever but what you write needs to fulfill a purpose for the reader. A 1000 word essay doesn't automatically win over a 200 word piece because it has more content. Trying new ways of presentation can open new doors to new readers and potentially gain a fanbase.

Let's look at those four sections:

Black Excellence → Celebration of achievements in your sector

Wherever you work, you'll be part of a wider community. It can help both you and the community to share the love and appreciation. From a personal perspective, I have Google Alerts set up with specific keyword terms and share stories relevant to my blogs. I also keep up to date on Feedly by following like-minded blogs. I share found content on social media or republish it on my blogs. You can make this a specific "excellence" series of posts, share as a piece of celebratory news, or make it part of post series. Ensure you credit the original article and depending on your link building strategy, send the relevant parties an email to let them know you've mentioned them.

Hot Tops → Main headlines/hot news/gossip/etc. in your sector

This is one of my favourite parts of The Read and, depending on what you write about, it could fit into your blog profile. Again, research is key and while there are similarities with celebratory news, this is more specific in being about hot news your reads must know about. Beware if you write about celebrities or media-centric topics not to be slanderous or offensive towards other parties to avoid penalties or takedown warnings.

Listener Letters → Q&A

This might be something more suited for publications with a large fanbase. Give out your email address and ask for questions. This can look like a How To guide, an "agony aunt" column, or an interview with the writer about the publication. The world is your oyster. If you do write about personal topics, keep names anonymous when requested and try to be sensitive.

The Read → Opinion pieces, rants, critiques

Op-eds turn social media users into foaming frenzies for the right or wrong reasons. I've had to block news publications online due to their terrible opinion pieces. But you needn't write pieces of this ilk. This is a make-or-break part of your strategy. You can either garner a fanbase or alienate your best readers with a post of this nature. Research is paramount here. Link back to sources and be clear in your message. I've written pieces on cultural appropriation and it's important not to enable the criticism in your own writing. It undermines your credibility and makes you look like a hypocrite. If you don't feel comfortable writing this kind of piece, you could tweet your thoughts on Twitter but follow the same rules as above. These posts can take time to plan which can be difficult when news and its relevancy comes and goes in the blink of an eye. But they will come back. Your topics needn't be about discrimination either. Talking about a sporting legacy, or the impact someone has had a community can follow on from your celebratory articles mentioned earlier. Linking the two together will add more link juice which is a SEO's dream.

Do you have any other format suggestions? Comments aren't working so if you do, email me and I'll add them to this article. And go check out The Read!