Putting a Cap on Your Recaps

by Ashley on December 20, 2010 · 16 comments

Whether it’s a blogger’s tale of his first marathon or her recent vacation to Europe, recap posts of major events are some of my favorite reads. When someone writes about an event in which he is emotionally invested, his personality shines through. That’s the best.

But when a recap is broken down mile-by-mile, bite-by-bite, minute-by-minute, it’s too much. Not only are shorter blog posts generally better received by your readers, but you can’t enjoy any event if you’re constantly taking notes or photos for a post. In the end, it’s a waste, because a post that’s so long it takes up the entire length of your home page probably won’t be well-read — it’ll just be skimmed.

So, where’s the elusive happy medium? How can you do your big race or fabulous dinner party justice on your blog — without writing an eBook about it?

Don’t think chronologically. What’s your most vivid memory from the event? Chances are, it’s not the bagel and peanut butter you ate an hour before the race. Begin your post with the best part of the whole event — the feeling after crossing the finish line, the look on your guests’ faces when dessert was served — and your readers will be hooked.

Think visually. We’ve talked before about how the importance of choosing one or two great photos over five or six mediocre ones and tips for editing and organizing those photos. If you’re recapping a major event, you probably have tons of photos to choose from –and it’s awesome to have those choices! But you need to think like an editor and choose the photos that work well with your post. Your “lead art,” as we say in the news business, could be the most compelling photo from the event — maybe your SO got a great candid shot of you serving the cupcakes. Or you could choose  the photo that sums everything up — your post-race shot with your finisher’s medal slung proudly around your neck.

Resist the urge to share every single detail of the day. So, you wanted to stop and use the restroom at Mile 4, and there was a line, so you decided not to, and you waited until Mile 6 … it doesn’t matter! A recap is supposed to be about the highlights, not a stream-of-consciousness total recall of every detail. It detracts from your post — and really, from the event — if you weigh it down with minor details.

Do you have any tips for writing recaps in a more concise, reader-friendly way? Any great easy-to-read recaps to share? We’d love to see more great examples of bloggers getting it right!

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