Posted by: Jim Adcock | February 16, 2011

“Opinions are like…”

…well, I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, about how “…everybody’s got one.”

Of my three blogs, this is probably my most opinionated.

Don’t take what I say as the gospel truth, I am just another blogger like you (it seems unlikely that a non-blogger would be reading this blog). The opinions and ideas I share here are based on what I have learned, what has (and hasn’t) worked for me. As they say, your mileage may vary.

IMHO, opinion blogs are probably hardest to sell. As the expression says, “…everybody’s got one”. In order to drive readership for an opinion blog, it seems to me that you have to have any two or more of the following elements:

  • A position of “authority”.
  • The ability to promote yourself outrageously.
  • Actual talent for writing clever, funny and insightful material.

A Position of Authority
This could be one of several things. You could be famous for something other than your opinions, and parlay that fame into a blog following. Other opinionmakers in the field could refer to you or your content. Or (although this is less true in the blogging world than in traditional media), you could be wealthy and buy the facade of authority by buying airtime or coverage in other media. Or you could just work hard and become a recognized authority over time.

Outrageous Promotion
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease”, as the saying goes. If you squeak loudly enough, or annoyingly enough, you’ll get attention. The more outrageous the better, as long as you aren’t crying wolf…

Actual Talent
You can get along for quite a while without actual talent if you have a position of authority and outrageous promotion. I am thinking of several (nameless) people in particular, talentless hacks how got to where they are in fact because they lacked the talent to do anything but spout their opinions, but had the authority and outrageousness to develop a following.

In the long run, though, actual talent is the safest bet, because you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but everyone will stick with what they like.

Developing that talent can take time and patience. There is no shortcut to high quality. Developing an audience for that talent can take even longer. Be patient with yourself and the process.

And promote yourself outrageously when you have the content (or the authority) to back it up!

Did I miss a characteristic requirement for a successful opinion blog? Let me know in the comments!

Jim Adcock is a SharePoint Administrator, and blogs about SharePoint at his main blog, Working It Out. He is also Vice President of Launch Pad Job Club, an organization in Austin, Texas, whose mission is help people who have lost their jobs to get the skills they need to land their next job, and to help them cope with the interim between jobs. Consequently, Jim also blogs about career management. He also serves as Secretary on the Austin Software Process Improvement Network Board of Directors. He also wants to know why everyone keeps asking him about sleep…

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Responses

  1. Great post sharing the truth of the many different frames of reference we use. Not everybody else is wearing the same glasses. I wrote about this some under the “One thing I learned” topic.

    • Thanks for reading!

      My point was more that, because everybody has their own opinion, having an opinion blog is a difficult road bacause it is hard to stand out. Standing out requires (IMHO) the characteristics I described.


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