Some new bloggers make the mistake of modeling their blog posts on newspaper op-eds or, even worse, on long-form magazine pieces.  The problem is that a blog derives 100% of its credibility from the author, whereas a newspaper or a magazine derives its credibility from lots of sources.  For example, every time you pick up a newspaper, you know that an entire team of writers, editors and fact-checkers were working together to produce the product that you’re holding, and you also know that if they consistently fail to adhere to some commonly accepted journalistic conventions (story structure, ethical-sourcing), the publisher and the investors will fire the team that produced the content you’re about to read and replace them with new reporters, editors and fact-checkers.  Even though we all know that many newspapers fall short of our expectations, we still grant them more credibility than we grant to solitary bloggers who produce all their own content by themselves.

If you’re a new blogger and you hope to earn the trust of readers, your best bet is to make people think, “Hey, that’s pretty interesting” as quickly as possible.  If you can do it with a picture, or a comic strip, or a single sentence, all the better.  And if you do it enough times, your readers will begin to trust that you won’t waste their time.  

Will Marlow co-founded AlumniFidelity to help his clients reposition their fundraising to benefit from Web 2.0 technology and marketing techniques. He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, Bowling Green State University, Randolph Macon College, and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  Email him at