My 4 pillars of blogging

I have been blogging for some time now, and I can honestly say that it’s been a growth journey.

I started blogging primarily for myself – essentially to organise and articulate the thoughts in my own head. If others were to draw anything useful from that, well that’s a bonus.

Guiding principles

Recently, a few people have been asking me for blogging advice, mainly around getting started. This got me thinking…

What are my guiding principles for blogging?

I believe blogging is about being honest with yourself, so what values or standards to I hold myself to?

After a period of deep reflection, four overarching themes shone through. I call these my 4 pillars of blogging.

1. Be bold

This is the advice that Wikipedia gives to its contributors, and I love it!

There’s no room for shrinking violets on the Internet.

If you’ve got an opinion, let’s hear it. It’s just as valid as anyone else’s.

Cartoon figure 1: But what if i fail? Cartoon figure 2: We all get to laugh at you.

2. Add something new

There’s no point being an echo chamber. Thousands of other bloggers are happily doing that.

Your blog should build the collective knowledge bank, not merely repeat it.

If you want to write about a particular topic – even a popular one – go for it. Just find your unique angle: Maybe an aspect no one else considered? Perhaps an insight based on your personal experience?

A cartoon figure talking about another figure talking about another figure talking...

3. Challenge your own content

After you’ve written something, challenge its accuracy.

Did someone report supporting evidence in the academic literature? Have you seen it with your own eyes? Or is it just your opinion?

If it’s the latter, that’s fine – just make it transparent.

You’ll be surprised how many bloggers dress their opinions as fact.

If you talked to people the way advertising talk to people, they'd punch you in the face.

4. Formulate a 1-liner

If you can’t summarise your blog post into a single sentence, you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.

Take a step back, reflect on the key message you are trying to convey, and maybe jot down some bullet points.

Then distill that into a 1-liner.

You might even use it as your opening line.

A complicated mess

Let it flow

While the 4 pillars provide a useful framework for blogging, please don’t take them too seriously.

For me, a blog post isn’t meant to be a lab report or a journal article. In contrast, it’s a forum for free thought – something very rare in this fast paced, time poor, ultra standardised world.

I typically germinate my blog posts with a central idea, then I start writing off the cuff. Only after I have some sense of the body do I apply the 4 pillars retrospectively and tighten up the prose.

Have a go

If you already write a blog, I hope my advice helps you.

If you don’t yet write a blog but are thinking about it, I say to you in true Aussie style: “Have a go!”

You will embark on a journey of growth not only as a person, but also as a thought leader.


3 thoughts on “My 4 pillars of blogging

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