It's after 5 p.m. I've been online all day. A lot of blog posts come this blogger's way in a typical day and today was no exception.
I may have come across 100 or more bloggers that are completely new to me. I can't tell you the name of even one.
Why? They are perfectly forgettable.
I don't want more content
Do you? There's a lot of it. And I get 99 percent of what I need from 1 percent of the creators. Okay, if you can rock my world with yours, I'll let you in, but you have to give me something special. I need something to remember you by.
You need not uncover a brand new topic. I have my needs and they don't change all that fast, so you can feel free to speak to one of them. And if it's Shakespeare syndrome you're worried about, heed the effect of this good lesson keep: your prose need not rival the bouquet of spring's rose.
Just do something for me.
Three types of bloggers that do it for me
I love fun blogs.
Just like my favorite books, movies, TV shows and musicians, I love the bloggers who get me to feel something. The great ones know how to touch me emotionally.
They might introduce characters I can relate to. I feel their struggles.
They might take me on a journey. There's a starting point. Then a sticky sitch. Then a battle. And finally, an outcome. Like everyone else, I fall into a good story.
They might make me laugh. It's funny how reading and smiling at the same time can win a reader over.
I love deeply informative blogs.
Today on Google+, someone shared a new list post of mine calling it "concrete." I don't suspect this is my niche, but I've been called worse things. The point is I give big points to the deep divers.
They might deeply research a topic to deliver a new scoop. Score 10 for doing the digging for me.
They might rally insights from a wide gamut of resources or experts. This too pings all the way to the far right edge of my blogger meter.
They might dig beyond the weeds, way down to the roots of some subject and give you things you didn't know, but should. Maybe you didn't even know you needed to know. Two hands clapping widely for saving me the trouble.
I love bloggers with balls.
I mean not to be the intender of a gender bender. Eggs work too. This is an equal opportunity category for all shapes and sizes of bloggers that deliver an uncompromising point of view.
They might specialize in disagreeing with status quo. I'm totally down with writers that can, and do, boldly back up their contrarian takes.
They might give you answers to questions you were afraid to ask. Two, blue and true thumbs up to those that bare the truth.
They might simply-and fearlessly-write what they think. You might agree. You might not. Ka-ka-ka-kudos to those who believe strong opinions trump popularity. They'd never be elected to public office, but I elect to subscribe to their blogs.
Meet some touchers, teachers and opinionators
Here are three favorite writers of mine who know how to touch readers with the power of storytelling...
Doug Kessler, of Velocity Partners, one of the web's funniest scribes, explains the power of surprise.
"You expect BurgerCo to say, 'We're not just about fat and salt - we do healthy salads too!'"
"What if they said, 'We do burgers. They have fat. Fat is the thing that tastes good in burgers. We prefer burgers that taste good. Don't eat one every day. But when you do eat one, enjoy the hell out of it.'"
Now that would be surprising. And refreshing. And effective.
Ash Ambridge, of The Middle Finger Project, always R-rated, never boring, offering tips on what to do if you lack confidence.
"You need to sit your ass down, read 100 books, grovel for the chance to prove yourself, weasel your way into opportunities with people who ARE good, yank yourself kicking and screaming out of your f#$%ing comfort zone, experiment, keep promises to yourself, pick ONE THING and become a leading expert in it, talk about it, write about it, think about it, dream about it, bore the neighbors with it, doodle f#$%ing hearts around it, tell everybody you can about it, believe it, fight for it, fight with it, cry over it, caress it, lose sleep over it, hate it, love it, and represent it so hard until it becomes your one and only truth."
Ann Handley, COO of MarketingProfs and author of the new "Everybody Writes" book, on the book-writing experience.
"Writing a book is like birthing a Volkswagen. The process is about as pretty as you'd imagine that to be: it's long and arduous and you sweat a lot, and most of the work is done while crying."
Here are a couple bloggers I can always count on to deliver a valuable lesson...
In the vast majority of posts by freelance writer Kristi Hines, who contributes to iAcquire and many great blogs, Kristi goes deep with how-to instructions for mastering online marketing tasks. The excerpt above comes from a post on Social Media Examiner, where Kristi delivers a detailed guide to using Google Analytics to improve your marketing.
Another master of the tutorial style is Garrett Moon of Co-Schedule, who's been a favorite of mine for some time. As demonstrated above, Garrett is a show-and-tell master and tends to give you a close-up look under the hood at how the gears turn for the content he drives at Co-Schedule.
And finally, I hold in high regard bloggers who make their opinions known.
Shane Snow, chief creative officer of Contently and author of Smartcuts, contributes regularly to the LinkedIn Pulse "Influencer" program. His posts often garner 200K+ views because he calls 'em like he sees 'em.
"It doesn't matter if the glass is half full or half empty if you think you can make a better glass." (Shane's conclusion to "The Counterintuitive Trait That Will Make You Significantly More Successful," a truly powerful and opinionated post.)
HubSpot's Corey Eridon gives readers all kinds of food for thought, but always scores high on my blogoscope when she's challenging conventional thought.
"The best content strategists I've seen -'best' being defined as the value they drive for their organization based on revenue-driving metrics - do not sit around and strategize all day. They do actual work. Like, all the time." (From "A Short Rant About Content Strategists")
You need not search hard to find Social Media Explorer founder Jason Falls giving it to you straight. In the opening lines of his most recent post, Successful Marketing Starts with the Basics, we get pure Jason Falls...
"The same people keep asking the same questions about digital marketing, social media and marketing in general. They keep wondering where the easy button is (there isn't one). They keep looking for someone to swoop in with an answer (there isn't one, but many). They keep thinking there's some magic 'thing' they're missing (there is none)."
Jason attacks his work with an uncompromising "you-can-love-it-or-leave-it" attitude. I love it.
The triple crown blogger
Now, I don't believe the descriptions I've given the bloggers I've written about here need be singular or definitive. Yes, Ash is funny. Yes, Garrett is informative. And yes, Jason has a strong point of view. But each is more than that.
The very best bloggers can be all of these things-and more.
Don't go copying any one of them. But be inspired by them. Most importantly, if you aim to be an unforgettable blogger, evaluate the writing styles of those you believe to be the best. Dial into your "why" and dial it up in your work.
But I'm just one blogger-telling you what I think. Of course, this is my story. It's my deep dive. And these are my opinions.
(A version of this post originally ran on iAcquire.com)