Blog Writing

4 Blogging Styles that Nurture Community: Guest Post by Brad Shorr

What does it take to build a vibrant blog community? Why is it that some bloggers seem to have a natural talent for finding a core of enthusiastic reader/participants, while others struggle to find their niche?

These are questions I’ve often pondered. The more I think about it, the more I‘ve come to realize there is no single formula for success. To illustrate, here are four bloggers I admire for their wonderful community building skills – four bloggers who couldn’t be more different.

A Spectacular Waterfall

Bill Welter is a new blogger, as well as a friend, collaborator, and client. Even in his first dozen or so posts, he’s stimulating some fabulous conversations on business innovation.

His style is short, sweet, and to the point. He hits you right between the eyes with a question that stops you in your tracks, forces you to think, and challenges your complacency.

A Meandering Stream

At the other end of the word count and style spectrum is my friend Robert Hruzek, someone probably familiar to regular Confident Writing readers. Robert likes to tell stories, and always gives you the long version.

Allow me to mix metaphors: if Bill is a shot of whiskey, Robert is a glass of brandy to be sipped and savored. Even though he asks pointed questions at the end of his posts, he inspires free flowing conversations as readers pick up on the endless thread of ideas woven into his narrative.

A Roaring River

cath-lawsonAnd then there’s Cath Lawson. Cath is another one of my faves, even though her writing style is totally opposite Robert’s. I would describe her as in-your-face: feisty, abrupt, brutally honest, sometimes confrontational, always provocative.

What she does have in common with Robert is a willingness to put herself out there, warts and all. I think her readers appreciate that, which leads to very open, and actually quite gentle, conversations.

A Mountain Lake

Ulla HennigWhich brings me to Ulla Hennig, a blogger who barely uses words at all! Instead, she conveys her ideas mainly through images – her paintingsand photography. And although she is quite modest and writes in her second language (!), she is finding her voice and attracting people to her community - perhaps because she is so genuine and down to earth.

You may not find many Big Ideas or Earth Shattering Questions on Ulla’s blog, but you will find a peaceful image to lift your soul.

Two Blogging Community Questions

Do you see anything in common with these four bloggers? What do you see in their styles that would help you build your own blog community?

Brad probably doesn’t need too much an introduction to regular readers of Confident Writing.  He’s a regular reader and contributor here, and has written several popular guest posts.

Brad ShorrBrad Shorr is president of Word Sell, Inc. He is an online content strategist, copywriter, and business blog consultant. He lives near Chicago, Illinois, USA and has been an active blogger since 2005.

Previous guest posts here include:

Scrambled Toast: My Blog Laboratory

Blogging Freedom is a Mixed Blessing

Leap Before You Write that Letter of Apology

9 Steps to Clear Business Writing

Related Posts with Thumbnails

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23 Responses to “4 Blogging Styles that Nurture Community: Guest Post by Brad Shorr”

  1. On May 7, 2009 at 10:36 am Ulla Hennig responded with... #

    what a big surprise in the morning - thanks so much for including me in the list of “four blogging styles that nurture community”. It is a great honour for me to stand in a row with Robert Hruzek, Cath Lawson and Bill Welter.

    Ulla Hennigs last blog post..Three Things I learned from my Community

  2. On May 7, 2009 at 11:03 am Robert Hruzek responded with... #

    Never been described as a “meandering stream” before, but y’know - it fits. This is a great lineup to be listed as a part of, too; all great writers, and all compelling in their own unique ways.

    Hey, and we can’t leave out the common thread here: Joanna! Community begets community!

    A tip o’ the hat to y’all!

  3. On May 7, 2009 at 11:23 am Bill Welter responded with... #

    Thank you very much. However, my last post is anything BUT short. It was an experiment to occasionally get deep in a subject. Or, staying with your water metaphor, get up to my chin in the waves of healthcare.

  4. On May 7, 2009 at 12:07 pm Brad Shorr responded with... #

    Ulla, I was amazed by your post yesterday - it fit so well with this post, even though I wrote it weeks ago. A happy coincidence.

    Robert, Metaphors are tough for me - I did the best I could because the water theme seemed to be working. Feel free to suggest something else.

    Bill, Oops. I guess we have to call this an unhappy coincidence. Joanna’s in Sardinia so there’s not much we could have done about the timing.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Is Your Website Working? Take The Content Competence Quiz

  5. On May 7, 2009 at 1:57 pm Karen Swim responded with... #

    Brad, this is a question I have pondered and you have chosen four great bloggers to illustrate this point. The common thread I see is authenticity. Each has found their “groove” in being true to who they are, and in that truth they have connected with their “people.” We don’t need our products, services, or writing to connect with everyone to be a success, we just need to connect with “our people.” You and the four bloggers you highlighted do that so beautifully.

    Karen Swims last blog post..Life, Death and Dreams

  6. On May 8, 2009 at 9:16 pm Brad Shorr responded with... #

    Hi Karen, Authenticity is so incredibly important. You can “fake it” on a corporate-style website, but when you write post after post, the real you is going to show up … so you may as well embrace it!

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Is Your Website Working? Take The Content Competence Quiz

  7. On May 9, 2009 at 12:29 am Lillie Ammann responded with... #


    You did an excellent job of pointing out that widely varying styles can work to build community. I agree with Karen that authenticity is a big reason these four are so successful.

    Lillie Ammanns last blog post..National Day of Prayer 2009

  8. On May 9, 2009 at 2:44 am carla responded with... #

    As a newer blogger, I’m still in the phase where I’m developing my own blogging style, and its nice to read what others are doing. Great post!

    carlas last blog post..Giveaway: Twist cleaning products

  9. On May 9, 2009 at 12:26 pm Jez Cope responded with... #

    Thanks for this, Brad: I’m trying to develop my blogging and having examples of great writers to learn from is really helpful. Having the style discussed by another seasoned writer adds a lot.

    Oh, and I prefer to sip and savour my whisky (usually the Scotch kind), but each to their own. ;)

    Jez Copes last blog post..May’s theme: reflection

  10. On May 9, 2009 at 12:58 pm Andrew responded with... #


    These four do have contrasting styles, and I think that the contrast which you have demonstrated so clearly here serves to demonstrate an important point - there is no one singular optimum or ‘correct’ blogging style, and that each of us must find our own individual ‘voice’ which suits our own natural personality and writing style.

    In terms of common threads - based on what I have read, I would have to concur with comments from Lillie and Karen about authenticity.

    Perhaps, I would like to add something else - another common thread which I see running through each of the above bloggers is a knowledge and passion about their subject.

    Take Bill, for example (although the same comment applies to all of the above). In his writing, it is clear that he is drawing upon years of experience, and I have sensed a great deal of passion on his part for business coaching and inspiring leaders comes through in virtually every one of his discussions which I have read.

    Andrews last blog post..Pehaps Hong Kong’s tycoons don’t always get their way after all

  11. On May 9, 2009 at 4:40 pm Brad Shorr responded with... #

    Lillie, Isn’t it amazing how one simple thing like authenticity can lead people down different paths to the same place?

    Carla, Best of luck in your blogging. You can find plenty of good examples to choose from on Joanna’s blog.

    Jez, Good luck to you as well. I’m not a Scotch drinker, but it does seem like a drink that should be enjoyed slowly, perhaps in front of a fireplace.

    Andrew, You are so right. Everyone says you should write about what you know, but passion needs to have a place as well. Without it, one’s words will be lifeless, and that is certainly no way to build community.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Guest Post on Confident Writing - Blogs that Nurture Community

  12. On May 9, 2009 at 6:11 pm Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach responded with... #

    What a perfect description for the above bloggers! I greatly enjoy visitng their writings and really enjoy the different styles that are prevalent within the communities.

    Thanks for sharing, Barbara

    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coachs last blog post..Mother’s Day Coupon - $25 off $100 at Bloomingdales

  13. On May 10, 2009 at 8:10 am wilson responded with... #

    Hmm…, Brad. Based on your classification, I think I’m might be the “Bill Walter” type, which is the spectacular Waterfall (Maybe the NiagaraFalls, perhaps?). Most of my posts were straightforward to the points!

    wilsons last blog post..Eat Less Salted Products, Having a Longer Healthy Lifestyle!

  14. On May 10, 2009 at 9:26 am Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome responded with... #

    I don’t recognize myself in any of the four, probably being a mix of the first three.

    One thing I find about my blog - it’s all about personal journeys and thinking and doing instead of talking - so it’s not a place where community develops easily. Since everyone is busy looking inwards and acting on what they discover, they rarely take the time to stop by and chat.

    If I were to take the water metaphor and apply it to my blog, I’d call it reservoir - a place where you store up a whole bunch of stuff and take out only what you need when you need it.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndromes last blog post..The Origins of Someday Syndrome

  15. On May 10, 2009 at 11:48 am Brad Shorr responded with... #

    Barbara, Your comments are always so Bill Welter-like - I love your style.

    Wilson, The advantage of your style is people are generally up for reading it whether they’re busy or relaxed. “Long copy” always runs the risk of going unread.

    Alex, Your blog is full of helpful and motivating ideas. It makes me wonder - is number of comments the only way or the best way to define “community” on a blog? I suppose most of us, myself included, tend to think of community that way, but is it broad enough a definition?

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Guest Post on Confident Writing - Blogs that Nurture Community

  16. On May 11, 2009 at 2:15 pm Fred H Schlegel responded with... #

    I’ve been enjoying and learning from you and the writers you mentioned for a while now. Your description was really thought provoking for me because of the idea of style and place. I love watery nature spots, especially how they change with the seasons and weather. There may be a general expectation about what you are going to experience, but the specifics differ in ways that can be profound. As I think about the blogs I have followed the longest (and now that I’ve come up with the courage, to comment a bit), this really explains well why I keep coming back to some blogs over others.

    As an example, Ulla’s post on community (as you mentioned above) is very thought provoking and something most bloggers should probably contemplate (while sitting on the shoreline..:)

    Fred H Schlegels last blog post..Community Creativity: “Let’s Put On A Show”

  17. On May 11, 2009 at 2:53 pm Brad Shorr responded with... #

    Hi Fred, I love to sit by the ocean and listen to the waves - such a conducive setting for contemplation. Thinking about waves suggests rhythm - and each of these bloggers has a unique rhythm, don’t you think?

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Social Media Squeeze Endangers Midsized Firms

  18. On May 13, 2009 at 9:53 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Brad, thanks so much for this post and hosting the conversation on the back of it… not least as it came at a point when the blog disappeared…. Knowing you and others were here holding the fort made it easy for me not to fret. Now that’s what I call community…

  19. On May 14, 2009 at 12:30 am Brad Shorr responded with... #

    Glad to be of service, Joanna. This always feels like my home away from home. :)

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..How to Succeed on LinkedIn in 100 Easy Pages

  20. On June 5, 2009 at 11:38 am Cath Lawson responded with... #

    Hi Brad - Sorry, I’ve been away from blogging for a while, so I didn’t read this straight away. Thanks for including me among these awesome bloggers. I’ve been struggling to get back into blogging and your words have helped a lot.

  21. On June 5, 2009 at 11:54 am Brad Shorr responded with... #

    Hi Cath, It’s really good to hear from you. I’ve noticed you haven’t been blogging for a while. If my words have helped, that’s good news for me and your many readers. Hope everything is going well for you.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Are You a Social Media Doer or Dabbler?



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