With more and more personal blogs being put out on the internet, journalism has experienced a shift. Now, stories can be told in a variety of ways. Journalism can be casual or structured. This has come with the increased use of social media to tell stories.
The blog post, “How Peloton Has Blown Its PR” written by Ed Zitron for thefuturebuzz.com explains how Peloton, the high-end spin bike for your home, has failed to make a good reputation for themselves in their PR campaigns. This article has several well-done elements that begin with the title. “How Peloton Has Blown Its PR” tells the reader exactly what they should expect from the article.
The piece is casual and conversational, making the reader want to read on. In this post, Zitron puts his own spin on this topic. Sometimes topics such as marketing and PR can become dry, as they are largely informational. Here, he adds his inner thoughts that enhance the reader’s experience. For example, during this excerpt Zitron talks directly to the reader.
Sidenote: if you’re gonna read that as me complaining that I’m being pushed too hard, in my first year of cycling from zero fitness I did two 100 mile days, and my latest 45 minute PR was off an Alex Touissant class. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to discuss further.
It is sections like these that grab onto the reader and make them want to continue. Without this style, this piece would drag on and probably lose the attention of the audience within the first few paragraphs.
Another element that makes this a good writing piece is the clear structure that Zitron gives it. He begins with an introduction, where he lays out his argument as well as sets the tone of the post. Each point he makes in defense of his argument has its own section with clear titles so that the reader can easily see what he is trying to say. This flow lets the reader know what to expect at first glance. With online reading, users often scroll through first before deciding to read further or not. Zitron’s article is appealing to the eyes and easy to navigate.
Not all blogs are created equal. A blogging site called The Flack publishes content related to the PR world. Their site isn’t as user-friendly as others such as the previous site, TheFutureBuzz. When I clicked on the post entitled, “Superhuman or Not” written by Peter Himler, I had no idea what the main points of the post could be. This immediately deters me from clicking on the piece.
Another aspect that confuses the reader is the structure of the post. With no clear subheadings, the text is awkwardly broken up by screenshots of tweets. Unlike in the Peloton article, the reader gets lost in the content and may have trouble understanding how things relate to each other.
This post is opinionated, but in a different way than Zitron’s Peloton piece. The author lacks a backbone in his argument. Because his main points are unclear, the reader has difficulty fully understanding what Himler is really saying.
What makes a piece of writing “good” depends on many factors, but the main goal is to keep the attention of the audience. With most reading done online, writers have to take into consideration what their writing might look like on-screen. What used to be “don’t judge a book by its cover” is now “don’t judge an article by its length”. These two pieces demonstrate how important it is to make a good first impression in order to keep their audience.