Blog Advice – Recurring Segments

by Chris McGinty

I’m going to immediately take my own advice even before I give it. That’s how important this information is. When I say important, I might be overstating it, but it’s been very helpful to me. When I say helpful… you know what? I said I wouldn’t get hung up on words this time. Let me just get to the point.

Back in 2011, Nathan and I made a pact… you know, a pact is actually a formal agreement. Damn it. Ok, Nathan and I had a slightly better than loose agreement to post a blog post every day for a year. This was something that was easier for us to do, because there were two of us, so we would each be responsible for three and a half posts each week. We even found a few guest posters. I learned a lot about content creation in that time, and I would like to share some of that today.

Have you ever watched a late night or other variety show? Have you ever noticed that they’ll have recurring segments? David Letterman used to have a Top 10 list every night, and this was before click bait. These segments serve two purposes. When the show has a segment that’s popular with the audience, they get excited when it occurs. There were people who would only tune into Johnny Carson for his monologue and then it was off to bed. The other reason is for the writers. When you have a recurring segment called “Meanwhile” where you tackle news that’s not exactly first page news, your writers know to watch out for stories that can be used for that segment. Even the introductions to “Meanwhile” have become a source of writing aid as they compare something top tier with something akin to swill, but that’s maybe something to do with formatting, which could be another “Blog Advice” segment.

And that’s where this gets meta. For those of you who don’t know, meta means self-referential, which I think relates to the term metadata, which is data about other data; because as a prefix, meta seems to be more about positioning, ranking, or condition. But then again, in chemistry it seems to be about compound… you know what? Yeah… let’s just move on. When I thought about writing about recurring segments, it immediately occurred to me… when I say immediately… bad Dobby!

Chris McGinty is a blogger who is trying to seem smart by wearing smart making devices and acting like he understands words and such just because he over analyzes things and tries to be witty. Ironically, well maybe, (you’d have to ask Chris if this fits the definition of ironic), it’s time for A Closer Look.

It was pretty immediate. We’re good here. The point is that I had the idea to start a whole new recurring segment in which I could discuss the concept of recurring segments. This is going to lead me to some other advice for your blog writing, which could be called blog advice by some. Sometimes it’s ok to setup a recurring segment that never becomes a recurring segment. If you think there may be some design space in a subject, go ahead and give it a name like “Blog Advice.” Clearly, there are a lot of subjects that can be tackled under such a heading. Now, if I’m ever at a loss for ideas, I can look at my list (a list that doesn’t actually exist) and ask myself, “Do I have any ideas for “Blog Advice?” Also, when I say at a loss for ideas, I’m like literally never at a loss for ideas. I might be at a loss for good ideas, but I can come up with ten ideas right now if I was pressed. Oh, you want to see me do it? Ugh. Ok.

Top Ten Ideas for Recurring Segments that I Haven’t Done Yet on the Blog

10. Apps on My Phone where I discuss what I use and what I don’t use and why (this is the recurring segment idea that led to the idea for this blog post, by the way).

9. Take 8 random words and write 10 posts that tie all of the concepts together somehow.

8. Sales on eBay and any stories about the buying, listing, or shipping.

7. Movies I’ve watched with… review a movie I watched with another person (this could sort of work like the “Songs Nathan Might Like” posts where I can branch off and do “Songs Miguel Might Like” or whatever. This could be “Movies I’ve Watched with Nathan” or “Movies I’ve Watched with Miguel.”

6. Things I’ve Never Done Before, which would relate to a TED talk I enjoyed where the guy set out to do something he’d never done before every day for a year. I figured that even if someone set out to do that once a week or even once a month that they could get some utility from the exercise. I could make a list of things to do that I’ve never done and then when I crossed one of them off the list I could write about it.

I don’t believe I’ve ever embedded a TEDx Talk into a blog post before. Cross that off the list for today.

5. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle which would be blog posts about ideas people have had to put resources to use rather than sending them to a landfill.

4. What Do I Think of This Politician? Where I pick someone and examine their work in politics (this is so far the idea I’m least likely to do, but now that I thought about it, I might get ideas).

3. What I Think about This Game Mechanic which could be a look at some of the most common game mechanics like rolling dice or almost never used game mechanics like Blacker Lotus from Magic Unglued.

Nathan created a game mechanic for Net Runner where he makes Tycho Extension a rare card by destroying it every time it causes him to lose the game, and even sometimes when it causes him to win the game but it ruins his fun by doing so.

2. Underrated Musician which I would see as people you may really never have heard of, or heard of but never really thought about their contributions.

1. David Letterman

This list took me a little over twenty minutes to write. I’m never at a loss for ideas. I might be at a loss for good ideas, but never for ideas. Feel free to use any of these segment ideas if any of them are any good. As is often the case with lists like this, the first three were ideas that were already lurking in my mind that I’ve never properly pursued and then I had to really start thinking. And by the way, I could do blog posts where I make a list of ten ideas for blog posts I’ll write in the future where I come back and link to the blog posts if I ever write and post them. You see?

Anyway, the next part of this series is very likely to be a post I was going to write anyway, which has to do with how often to post to a blog. But now I can label it as a Blog Advice post. It’s the little victories. You know, when I say victories… eh, nevermind. Let’s get to the blurb.

Chris McGinty is a blogger who just got to the blurb. And now he’s done it.

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