The Blog Rookie Mistake You Can Easily Fix

by Bridget on April 1, 2011 · 11 comments

I did it.

Rachel did it.

We’ve all done it.

And the blogs that stop doing it are the blogs that stay around for the long haul.

So what is the big rookie mistake that first-time bloggers make?

Writing like you are a woman’s magazine.

The joy of a blog is that behind the health information is a real person with a real life and experiences. So, how do you combat the rookie mistake?

  1. Do not write about what you do not know. All the research in the world cannot make up for lack of experience. You can research the different types of yoga, but your reader would rather read about the two yoga classes you took.
  2. State your opinion. Magazines have to try not to offend their readers/sponsors/writers/etc. You, however, do not have to worry about that. If you don’t like Zumba, mention that you took a class and why you didn’t like it (just because you didn’t like the sexual aspect of it, maybe a reader would!). Readers like to know what works, but they also want to know what doesn’t.
  3. Relate what you’re talking about to an experience. It’s OK if you want to list exercises that tone your abs; but let your readers know why. Are you toning your abs because last year you cried when you put on a bikini or because you have imbalances in your core? Readers will relate to that more than a “Flat Abs Fast!” headline.
  4. Use real words, not gimmicky words. Magazines try to use colorful language to perk up an article. You, however, know that it is your hair, not your “tressesand you’re not “Calorie Blasting!” — you are working out.

Information combined with personal connection is the best way to balance a blog. There are many health magazines but there is only one you with your experiences — so let’s hear about it!

Have you ever caught yourself writing women’s magazine style? Or do you think it’s a good way to blog?


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{ 11 comments }

Becca April 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Definitely agree on the opinion-giving especially. Blog posts should be more discursive essay than research project.

My biggest fear is Carrie-isms. I’m so afraid of writing “can’t help but wonder” or really naff puns. I probably still do, but I’m trying not to!
Becca´s last post ..Me and Meat

Sarah April 5, 2011 at 11:58 pm

I LOVE that your biggest fear is Carrie-isms! I love that show, but her questions were always SO tangential, ridiculous, and unrelated to the plot. In some strange way, though, I began to wonder if her questions were meant to be mysterious…much like relationships. (shows old-school computer monitor with blinking cursor) In relationships, do we really want the answers to our questions, or are we just asking them to hear ourselves talk?

I decided to start my research one day while out with Mr. Big…
Sarah´s last post ..Seven Days of Style- The Final Frontier

marie April 1, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Yep. In general, I can’t stand when people sound like they’re trying too hard to find the right word…or when it just sounds false and contrived. I think so often bloggers are trying to sound grown-up or professional when they should really just be themselves.
marie´s last post ..in like a lion…out like a ridiculous hot mess in a string bikini

D April 2, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Love this! Such a great/accurate way of phrasing it too, because so many blogs really DO sound like cheesy magazines! I agree with the point about being specific to your experience and not just listing info/facts (it really turns me off when I see a blog post dishing out generic advice and then linking to sources. I don’t even get why you’d do that? Are they pretending to be some kind of resource?) It always sounds really cliched and lame and treats the reader like they are dim. Plus it’s all BEEN DONE. The only way to have new content is to write about something personal/relatable/etc. I do NOT need to see tips on becoming a vegetarian, tips on how to find a good trainer, how to find a yoga class you like or how to pack snacks. Seriously, a blog post on how to pack snacks…??!

And I totally agree w/ Maria on “contrived” words like you mentioned in your post. I’m sorry but your breakfast was NOT scrumptious or legendary, nor do you need it to ‘fuel up’. Are you a car?

I think the great thing about blogs is that they DO deviate away from the same tired old topics that are in magazines but I think it must be hard for bloggers to straddle the line between writing about fun/new/interesting topics while still sticking to the theme of the blog. I find that lots of blogs try to be ultra-creative and ‘new’ and end up writing bizarre posts that have nothing to do with their blog and are mildly insulting to readers (here’s how to organize your closet…here’s how to chop a piece of fruit…) or they stick to their theme really strictly so they end up writing a lot of ‘recycled’ material (how to enjoy exercise, how to wake up early for exercise, how to do exercise, how to recover from exercise, how to plan for your next exercise session, how to track your exercise…).

Nikki February 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Great perspective, I totally agree with what you said. Reading your response made me really consider what I’m putting out there and how I can improve. I love writing, not sure why I’ve taken the direction I have but I’m learning as I go. I know my favorite topics to write about are my experiences with new activities or new foods I’ve tried. Where I got hung up at was making my content relateable to my readers, if any at all! LOL. Honestly, I’m happier writing about what I know, not what I have to research thoroughly before posting it out there. Takes the fun and creativity factor out of it.

Erika @ Health and Happiness in LA April 3, 2011 at 8:38 am

Can I add the word “bod” to the must-avoid vocabulary list? It’s not a “bod.” It’s your body.

Christine @ Burning It Off April 4, 2011 at 5:25 pm

This should be required reading for all new bloggers. I’m new to the whole blogging thing and still have lots to learn but I’m proud to say I’ve never used the word “bod” in any of my posts (or any other word that I wouldn’t use in everyday conversations for that matter).
Christine @ Burning It Off´s last post ..Straight Outta Calabria – Authentic Stuffed Eggplants Recipe

Martha April 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I agree with everyone. I also hate when bloggers post simple recipes with verbose names (Special Spiced Creamy Coffee with Perfect Vanilla Berry Blast Oatmeal) and then refer to it as “their special whatever”. Um no, pretty sure you just added cinnamon to regular oats/ marinated your tofu in soy sauce/ did what most people are doing.

McKella May 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Ha, I’ve definitely made this mistake! Then I started to pay more attention to what I like to see on other blogs and I realized “Oh, whoops. I guess they can just go buy an issue of Self if they want to read this. Moving on.”
McKella´s last post ..The falacy of “I can’t”

Nikki February 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I have a lot to learn and appreciate Hollaback for helping us along the way. I don’t blog to be a top blogger, but at the same time, I’d like to have my posts contain substance and a good backbone about who I am and where I’m at in my life.

Michelle @ Eat Move Balance July 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm

nice post! and I totally agree. I’m a new blogger and definitely liked reading your tips as a reminder for what I want my blog to be. thanks! I have wondering if my posts lately were too “about me” since I’ve been on a vacation and therefore not posting new recipes and such. I hope that instead, it provided a little insight into that I’m a real person out doing real things…. :)

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