To Be a Good Entrepreneurship Reporter, Don’t Be an Entrepreneur

So here’s the rule of thumb for entrepreneurship and business reporters out there: Don’t be the person you want to interview and write about. In other words, don’t be an entrepreneur or business person. This piece of advice sounds a little bit counter-intuitive as I thought it’d be much easier to understand the subject matters by being in their shoes, seeing things the way these people do so I can write better about them and their companies.

It turns out I’m wrong…

Reporters need to stay away from being an entrepreneur themselves. They can’t be a top-notch reporter and a great entrepreneur at the very same time. They have to relinquish one of the two.

That’s probably the gist of Sarah Lacy’s statements. The founder of media company Pando.com was asked whether being an entrepreneur herself changed her way of writing as a tech reporter. As we all know, Lacy has worked for almost 15 years writing about the tech industry, the people and the whole dynamics in it. She answered it bluntly,”I’m a way worse reporter now…”

Asking hard questions to other entrepreneurs as an entrepreneur cum reporter is relatively easy, claimed Lacy. Yet, she stated that what bothered her to do her best job she always wanted is the OVEREMPATHY on the answers. “So particularly when it comes to things I’ve gone through…like having the ousted board member (she might be reminded of Mike Arrington ousted from TechCrunch or?) or even like a cash crunch or hiring a sales guy that didn’t work out[…]”

She further said she didn’t write as much as she used to and she felt for these pitiful entrepreneurs. “Because I see every side to it and I feel for them,”explained the mother of two.

Thank God, I’m not an entrepreneur because if I have to be one, I would certainly lose my best job ever. And I would never trade being a writer to any job on earth. This is very much the best. At least for now.

Moving to Akhlis.net

It’s Friday and nothing feels better than a lazy mood of weekend (though now I don’t feel the difference of weekdays and weekends so much). I don’t know if you notice but I’m now moving my blog to another new domain which is more friendly for bloggers in so many ways. I mean, I can freely create and move things I cannot do on this free-of-charge platform. I want something better to accomodate my writeups. So here’s the new URL: http://www.akhlis.net.

It’s my new virtual home and it needs more revamps definitely. I’m trying to finish the moving process gradually because I’m no geek and I need technical assistance from a buddy.

2014, The Most Unbelievably Stunning Year… Bloggingwise

lee kyWordPress recently sent me a blogging performance summary in 2014. It reads:

“To kick off the new year, we’d like to share with you data on your blog’s activity in 2014. Start scrolling!

Crunchy numbers

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 430,000times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 18 days for that many people to see it.

There were 419 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 163 MB. That’s about a picture per day.

The busiest day of the year was July 13th with 183,181 views. The most popular post that day was Prabowo Subianto di Mata Lee Kuan Yew (1).

Posting Patterns

In 2014, there were 429 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1,304 posts.

010203040506070809101112

LONGEST STREAK

11 July – 25 July

BEST DAY

with 103 posts total

Attractions in 2014

These are the posts that got the most views in 2014. You can see all of the year’s most-viewed posts in your Site Stats.

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2014. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.

How did they find you?

The top referring sites in 2014 were:

  1. facebook.com
  2. twitter.com
  3. kompasiana.com
  4. politik.kompasiana.com
  5. indonesiasatu.kompas.com

Where did they come from?

That’s 141 countries in all!
Most visitors came from Indonesia. Singapore & The United States were not far behind.

Who were they?

Your most commented on post in 2014 was Prabowo Subianto di Mata Lee Kuan Yew (3-Habis)

These were your 5 most active commenters:

Perhaps you could follow their blog or send them a thank you note?

See you in 2015

If you like what you saw in this summary and want to know more about how your blog is doing, you can always visit your Site Stats, where our helper-monkeys are working day and night to provide you with pages and pages of detail on how your blog is doing.

Thanks for flying with WordPress.com in 2014. We look forward to serving you again in 2015! Happy New Year!”

Why Entrepreneurs Are Like Poker Players

Jason Calacanis likes poker. Playing poker makes your heart race, as you must make the best decision with so limited information. The same challenge you’ll also find in entrepreneurship.

Indonesian entrepreneurs in some way are like this. They’re clueless on what to do in this emerging market, where things are so
underdeveloped, young and immature.

Entrepreneur Andy Zainexplained two years ago a lot of local companies in Indonesia are started by bootstrapping because there’re very few venture capitalists. Here people often have their side jobs. Indonesian entrepreneurs also have side projects aside from their own startups. So it’s very challenging for them to start up but every chance is still open.

But the downside is Indonesian entrepreneurs lack information, just like poker players. Thus, when it comes to scouring information, they go to international sites and blogs. They still rely much on foreign media such as TechCrunch.com, Pando.com, TheNextWeb.com, etc. They can find the hottest projects in the US or any other parts of the globe.

This lack of information only lets them to copy what is successful in other markets. For instance, when Groupon became hyped, Indonesian entrepreneurs were inclined to copy this success and apply that to the domestic market. The results are various level of success.

{image credit: Commons.Wikimedia.org}

Building a Blog as a Business

‎If you were not like most blog readers, you’d find comments below a post a lot more engaging than content of it. It’s not because content in discussion is boring or a cliche, but more because it manages to spark a (luke)warm exchange of ideas amongst readers who decide to leave comments.

I saw a male commenter trying to make sense‎ the whole thing, as to why a blog needs investors. He argues,”It’s just a blogging software, pay for some hosting and call it a day, right?” He doesn’t seem to take staff’s salaries and other aspects into account, which he should have.

But he got it all wrong. Blogs can be an entity of serious business if founders or bloggers wish to operate it like a REAL business instead of a small home-based business. It’s obviously not one of those diary blogs where you can read daily rants of a blogger who may be using the f word at his or her disposal.

Setting up a blog is ‎one thing and maintaining it is another. Even if your blog has reached millions of visitors, things are not that easy for most bloggers who expect to earn a living by making profits of his blogs.

‎But a blog alone won’t make bloggers or writers go too far these days. You cannot just sit and post writeups on a daily basis and hope business is going better on is own. You need to figure out the best ways to build products around the blogs. Something you can sell, a business model that makes money and solve problems at the same time.

That explains why ‎writers and bloggers publish ebooks, produce paid webinars, podcasts, and provide consulting service as well.

And that’s what separates blogs as a medium of rants and a serious business entity. Pretty much…

Not Everyone Must Be a Blogger

matt mNot everyone should be a blogger, says WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg. Simply because not everyone has the passion to share things online. “Not everyone’s a creator,”claims he.

But maybe everyone’s a creator, Matt. But not everyone has the passion of sharing.

That reminds me of a friend who happens to like sharing long long updates on Path. She rants a lot once in a while on stuff she cares so much about like parenting but she tends to refuse the idea of blogging because she assumes it’s not what she really is. In many ways, the blogging thing is something  she thinks way too time and intellectual labor intensive. Yet, she can afford the hassle of writing such long updates on Path, which makes me confused. It turns out she doesn’t think sharing ideas to the rest of the world without limit is her thing. That’s something I could never understand. Why writing for only yourself or a limited number of people when you know what you share is useful to not only your inner circle but also everyone who shares the same shoes with you?

Blogging should be done with passion as it’d be tiresome for many without passion to write up like every single day. And this is not everyone can and wants to do. Writing every day is a grind and writing every day to get significant audience is another challenge to conquer.

There’re bloggers who shift path to microblogging like Twitter simply because it’s more succinct and instant a a tool of interaction. The Great Robert Scobble would be one of the examples. In Indonesia, we’ve got Nukman Luthfie, who happened to be an early adopter of blogging and online journalism in the country but as Twitter emerged as a new channel of communication, Nukman spends more time to tweet than blog. It’s all about passion once again. And not all bloggers are all that consistent when it comes to writing consistently. Of course they still write but not in the long form as often as they did before. Instant gratification? I bet.

Blogging may be adopted and then abandoned or vice versa but no one can ddeny that blogging is constant in the way that it serves as our digital home. You can have as many social media accounts as you want but all those lead you to one single place: your site or blog.

Jurnalisme Emosional

‎Era media baru yang ditandai dengan inovasi-inovasi teknologi yang memudahkan siapa saja membuat publikasi mereka sendiri (via blog, self publishing, dll) membuat norma-norma jurnalisme konvensional mau tidak mau, cepat atau lambat harus bergeser. Terjadi friksi, tumpang tindih, perselisihan di antara para wartawan dan blogger (narablog) yang saling mengklaim bahwa kelompok atau aliran atau medianya adalah yang paling baik. Fenomena ini sungguh menarik untuk diamati bila Anda adalah pewarta atau peminat jurnalisme media baru dan blogging.

Dalam pengamatan saya, ‎sekarang ini muncul sebuah aliran baru dalam jurnalisme:jurnalisme emosional. Para pelopornya adalah pendiri blog TechCrunch.com Michael Arrington, pendiri blog Pando.com Sarah Lacy, dan Kara Swisher yang mendirikan Recode.net. Mereka inilah orang yang membuat terobosan dengan memanfaatkan kanal penerbitan digital semacam blog dan jejaring sosial sebagai pengganti. Mereka membuat dunia jurnalisme menjadi lebih segar, tidak melulu menampilkan onggokan hasil wawancara, fakta dan data. Jurnalis-jurnalis kampiun media baru ini juga memiliki kepribadian (personality) dalam menyampaikan isi kepala mereka mengenai sebuah isu.

Beda yang pertama dan utama aliran jurnalisme emosional ini ialah mereka tidak segan menggunakan kata “I” (saya) dalam berbagai tulisan. Ego mereka memang besar dan mereka tidak menggunakan bahasa yang formal dan kaku bak pewarta media lama yang kerap menghiasi halaman surat kabar. Gaya menulis mereka sangat berkebalikan dengan gaya menulis wartawan di situs-situs berita mapan seperti BBC.co.uk dan VOANEWS.

Karena besarnya ego itulah, jurnalis-blogger di sini diperkenankan (baca : sangat didesak) untuk‎ menunjukkan kepribadian mereka secara blak-blakan. Arrington dan Lacy, misalnya, tidak malu menulis dengan nada memojokkan atau menggunakan kata kasar semacam “f*ck”. Swisher juga terlihat sangat liberal dengan penggunaan kata-katanya di berbagai kesempatan publik meski di tulisannya agak lebih terkendali. Emosi yang menjadi bagian dari watak manusia justru harus dipertontonkan di jurnalisme emosional dan media baru. Padahal di jurnalisme kolot, emosi sebisa mungkin dihindari agar tidak mencemari fakta yang disajikan pada pembaca. Jurnalis adalah mesin penyaji fakta dan peristiwa, tidak dianggap memiliki kepribadian atau sikap atau emosi yang manusiawi. Dalam jurnalisme emosional, justru kepribadian dan emosi harus dieksploitasi karena inilah komoditi.

Kecepatan juga menjadi prioritas di jurnalisme emosional. Sarah Lacy sendiri mengkritik bahwa dunia jurnalisme teknologi akhir-akhir ini menjadi semacam perlombaan bagi jurnalis-jurnalis agar bisa menghasilkan konten baru tentang pernyataan pers yang sama “lebih cepat dua detik” daripada para pesaingnya. Agar jurnalisme tidak semata-mata menjadi lomba kecepatan “salin tempel” (copy paste), ia menyarankan untuk menulis ulang pernyataan pers yang dikirimkan oleh startup atau berita apapun yang sudah ada agar konten yang disajikan lebih segar dan memiliki nilai tambah. Saya amati sendiri metode penulisan di Pando.com yang ia bawahi cukup menarik, karena kontennya lebih kaya referensi dari berbagai sumber. Banyak hyperlink menuju ke laman-laman lain yang bisa memperluas pandangan dan wawasan sehingga bias dalam penyampaian bisa ditekan.

‎Hal lain yang turut membedakan jurnalisme emosional ialah minimnya intervensi tim editorial. Di Techcrunch misalnya, menurut Eric Eldon (mantan editor Techcrunch) sebagaimana dikutip laman Poynter.org di artikel “Techcrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis‎: ‘I Like the Emotional Part of the News’, blog itu tidak memiliki proses ulasan editorial yang formal seperti halnya di media lainnya. Tetapi inilah yang membuat Techcrunch sanggup bertengger di peringkat teratas Techmeme Leaderboard. Artikel-artikel blogger mereka kerap mendapat kecaman, sindiran, olok-olok, karena dianggap bukan pekerjaan jurnalistik yang sesuai pakem. Namun demikian, mereka malah makin berjaya. Salah satunya menurut saya adalah karena blogger-blogger di Techcrunch menulis dengan gaya pribadi mereka sendiri. Dan mereka diberikan ruang yang hampir tanpa batas untuk itu. Begitu bebasnya ruang itu, sampai Tsotsis sendiri mengaku pernah menulis dan mempublikasikan artikel dalam kondisi mabuk setelah minum anggur. “Fuckers I am so sick of reporting on incremental tech news for fucking two years now, so sick I’m pretty much considering reverting full-time to fashion coverage,”tulis Tsotsis yang mabuk di sebuah malam Minggu di Techcrunch. Tulisannya langsung menuai kritik dan kecaman pedas.

Sarah Lacy yang juga pernah bekerja di Techcrunch menyoroti lemahnya pengawasan editorial di media baru seperti Techcrunch dan menerapkan penyempurnaan ‎itu di Pando. Penyuntingan naskah (copy editing) ia anggap sebagai bagian integral penerbitan sebuah artikel hingga pantas dibaca khalayak. Lacy mengatakan sendiri misinya adalah menggabungkan sisi posisif media lama dan media baru. Dan tampaknya ia belajar banyak dari kebebasan yang terlalu tinggi di Techcrunch.

Semua plus minus itulah yang membuat jurnalisme emosional ini menjadi begitu seksi, menantang persis seperti Alexia yang dulunya berprofesi sebagai model. Karena mereka mendobrak aturan formal yang sudah ada, dan makin dicerca, mereka makin disuka juga. Berita yang mereka sampaikan seolah menjadi lebih manusiawi dan tidak mengada-ada. ‎Saya menduga ada kriteria khusus supaya seseorang bisa sukses di jurnalisme emosional seperti ini. Mereka adalah orang-orang yang bersedia menerima kecaman kejam tanpa henti dari troll virtual yang kapan saja bisa meninggalkan komentar pedas di kotak komentar.

Di Indonesia, sepengetahuan saya belum ada yang benar-benar bisa merealisasikan jurnalisme emosional ini. ‎Dibutuhkan orang-orang dengan keberanian seperti Ruhut Sitompul atau Farhat Abbas untuk memancing emosi pembaca tetapi tentu saja, dengan memiliki kepribadian yang unik dan penampilan yang lebih menarik dari keduanya.

{image credit: Alexia Tsotsis/ Business Insider}

Live Blogging for Dummies

Live blogging could be distraction to some. Take Steve Jobs as an example. He once made all of the journalists in the room covering the launch of the product ‎put their laptops down, and even better, switch them off. Poor Jobs. He annoyed the journos without remorse. You cannot blame people for doing their job, Jobs!

So apparently live blogging is pretty much a hit maker especially when a hugely impactful event is in progress. Like the last live blog I was writing on that news site I work for. I was on fire writing about the verdict of Prabowo Subianto law suit. As we all know, he sued his opponents, accusing Jokowi and Jusuf Kalla of being tricky and slimy to win over him and Hatta Rajasa. He seemed to do it only to prove he is a loser once again. Another shame he brought for himself. The staunch supporters of Prabowo-Hatta rallied outside the Constitution Court and caused some physical clashes but luckily no one got killed in the process. The army on duty had been instructed to be less agressive (because perhaps Prabowo used to be part of them‎ and is still so no, though informally).

I was NOT there, to be blunt. I was only sitting at my desk, listening to some live streams broadcast on the web. Everyone was curious on what was going on and what was about to happen after the rally. I also summarized longer pieces of news spread on Twitter timeline of some news sites.

Basically this is what I do when I have to live blog indoor. I prepare a web page where I could write a line or two at first, and then as the time goes by, I will add more details chronologically. Mention hours and minutes to give impression you’re continously updating. So when they refresh your page, they can find something new to read, whether it be texts or photos or videos.

Here are some of my insights on live blogging based on my experience.

Focus, focus, focus!
You undoubtedly need to enhance you focus. It’s like listening exams, you listen to sources and process, summarize and publish the information and thoughts almost instantly. Without too long delay, or your readers will be disappointed. It’s very easy when you are in the middle of the quiet room. But when you have to cover outdoor events and liveblog about it, there’s extra mental work to do for you. Never forget to ask a friend or two to be with you to watch your belongings in case you need to use the bathroom for a minute or so. You cannot leave your laptop just like that in an open space where strangers‎ are anywhere to see. That holds true when you already get the right strategic spot to comfortably see and observe a live event and never want to relinquish it to other journos.

Make sure you’re near ‎unused power outlets

‎I cannot stress more on the importance of securing a spot near power outlets.

Make sure the connection works smoothly
After electricity supply is solved, you need to ensure your connection works at the desired speed. Never rely on one modem or one cellular operator. At least, provide two. Otherwise, you’ll cry a river when your favorite operator’s‎ service turn out to suck a lot there.

Get ready with your smartphone
Live blogging could be similar to live tweeting but of course you have to write longer, because you simply CAN. ‎Be more accurate as a reporter than a Twitter user.

And if you are an avid user of WordPress mobile application, you may use the app to live blog. Just add more details on one single blog post with time stamps for each update, with the latest right up there near the title. The app would be such a great tool when you cannot sit there to type on your laptop.

I haven’t given an outdoor live blogging a try. But my hunch is it is going to be a lot more challenging as you will have to deal with more distraction than live blogging indoor.

That said, happy live blogging!

On Creating Viral Content (Hint:Quantity Sucks)

The web has become a place overflowing with crappy content. Crappy content? What is that in the first place? As a content writer, ‎I have seen too much crappy content published and consumed on the web. This is that particular content that sucks so badly. In my own experience, crappy content is something you can effortlessly copy and paste from another site onto your own without providing pleasure or value to the Internet users, having only one single goal in mind:SHORT-TERM PROFITS.

I tell you what, it will NOT work! And if you do it because you think you have no better options, I tell you:‎It sucks to be you. Because there are many better options of strategy to choose from.

I have seen a bunch of people doing this silly and senseless thing‎, pretty much every single day. And I am ashamed I used to be part of the ignorance sometimes. But as I realized more, I found out this was an insanity involving time and resources spending which produces little or meager, unsatisfactory results.

So let me tell you, I happen to know this bunch ‎of people who are so deeply obsessed with hits and Alexa ranks. They post content (in the form of articles from other sites) days and nights like hundreds of them. It is a toil. It is all about “how many” and “how fast”. It has never touched on the question of “how great”, which makes it miserable. No one wants to advertise on the site. But who wants? It is just another site with thousand articles with no distinct voice. By distinct, I can safely say it has a unique editorial voice, a mission to pursue, a stance to make, a proposition to defend or advocate, etc. They have none. They only have money to burn, with no creativity, no shrewd strategy and very low passion in their head. Plus, a leader who is too quantity-oriented and as stubborn as a swine.

PATHETIC!

Don’t be like these people. ‎Don’t let the same tragedy happen to you.

At first, we need to believe that publishing content on the web should be meant to provide quality content that addresses real problems of rea‎l people. Profits are side effects. Hits, Alexa rank and high ads revenue are some bonuses that follow after you provide quality content people need very much. It is all about changing mindset, from the idea that content is a pure tool of making profits to the more sincere and ideal proposition that content provides assistance for us to solve problems. Quite literally, stop think selfishly. Rather, start treating readers the way you want to be treated.

‎Creating content that goes viral would entail ‎a wide array of factors. The first is pick the right topic. Select the hottest, most talked about topics and you are more likely to succeed. The last time I wrote about politics during the presidential elections, ‎it was a blast as everyone was suddenly interested in political issues. Everyone wanted to read some content that enrich, verify or challenge their own political beliefs. Hence, as a content writer I naturally had the urge to share. To share things that I think useful, interesting and valuable enough for them to consume and then, of course, spread.

But aside from creating useful, great content, you need to make sure it also has to be authentic at the same time. Don’t let yourself be a follower. Create new and fresh content. The more authentic content is, the better it gets. Ensure the content is first published on your site. So you basically position yourself as a thought leader. That way, people will come to your site whenever they need the information. If you cannot make sure it is absolutely new, now you always can publish it but convey it in a unique way, and add some more values. Be different, that is the key! And that is as easy as becoming yourself.

The second is write long. If it is possible to write longer pieces, just do it. Even if it takes days! Don’t hesitate to be a perfectionist‎ when you are allowed. I met a guy who didn’t seem to mind waiting for days to polish his one long and comprehensive writeup on a topic. It is totally okay not to publish immediately sometimes. Take your time. It will not hurt if you pursue perfection anyway. And you know what? That is why his site only publishes one or two new articles once in 2-3 days. So slow I know it is. This guy’s site, however, ranks much better than the previously mentioned site that publishes hundreds of unauthentic, soul-less articles. I would never believe it if I had not seen it before my naked eyes.

The third is ignore quantity. You ought to prefer writing one great piece that impresses people and benefit them simultaneously to producing hundreds of pieces that makes you like a bot. Always remember, as quantity takes the reign, you will lose more of your time to be personal and profound on the web, i.e. to be yourself, because you only want to reach the targetted number no matter what it costs you. And I have to tell you, networking on social media is not about making other people’s newsfeed full with your updates and self promotional content. It is in fact more about building community around you and in a community, there should be interaction taking place on a daily basis. It does not mean paying attention to quantity is always a waste of resources but beware of the loss of the ability to enjoy what you do because contrary to popular belief, creating and marketing content successfully is a long-term work and meticulous type of toil. You have got to work hard every day, building everything bit by bit from the sractch and maintain it, then expand or improve what is already achieved. And if your main motivation is quick cash, you will NEVER manage to get through all this hardship.

Last of all, forget about SEO techniques. I seriously tell you. If you have important and unique messages to convey, even without SEO, people will always find your great content. Content that matters always attracts people to spread it further.

That said, I am convinced writing viral content shared by virtually everybody is easy. By easy, I mean it means natural, just like how you basically communicate by means of old media and tools. No special formula is required, to be blunt. Don’t be mean, selfish and you will get there.

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Writers’ Moral Responsibility

‎”The first job of a writer is to be HONEST.”- Irvine Welsh

I typed the word “honest” in capital letters as I cannot tell you how much I find this quote inspiring to me. ‎This quote at its best teaches us writers in general (whether they be bloggers, published authors, print journalists, online journalists, novelists, short story writers, or even mere Facebook updates’ creators) that nothing can substitute integrity and honesty.

But for some reason I cannot fathom why some writers plunge themselves into this kind of abyss named politics a little bit too far.‎ Take Indonesian moslem writer Jonru Ginting as an example. The self-proclaimed writer, entrepreneur, and internet marketer (as he himself stated on jonru.net). He is allegedly to be the culprit behind the photo showing Jokowi as a priest at a church giving sermons according to islamtoleran.com (another site with unknown track records). The photo was found to be photoshopped and thus fake. Jonru (@jonru) himself denied the accusation via Twitter and Facebook. But long before that, when Egypt crisis broke last year, he was reportedly releasing a hoax to change the perception of those who did not believe in the sincerety of Ikhwanul Muslimin movement (source: badaruzz on http://www.kaskus.co.id, 14/07/2014). He was said to have used a photo of a smiling corpse, with the intention of convincing readers that Ikhwanul Muslimin casualties were died heroes. But the photo was found to be sourced from the web. The photo was allegedly taken from Malaysia, where the woman was only mimicking and acting as a corpse during a simulation of taking care of dead body before the burial based on Islamic regulations.

I am not going too comprehensive about who is wrong or right in this politically sensitive case but it may also be due to the implications of his involvement as a cadre of Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS) , who openly criticizes and frequently attacks Jokowi on his Twitter account and Facebook fanpage (https://www.facebook.com/jonru.page).

And that being said, I am not either about to judge him for being a politically biased writer ‎because that is his own preference entirely. Yet, what I want to highlight is how perilous it may get when you involved in affairs such as politics as you may lose your integrity and neutrality as a writer. Because as far as I can see, those two things are the most invaluable and intangible assets for writers of all kinds. You can tell lies in fictional works as much as you want but never ever spread lies in your reports, non-fictional works since it may put your credibility at stake.

Because I believe there is NO fine line between liers and truth tellers in writing. Either you tell a complete lie that still makes sense of course in some way (i.e. fictional authors) or tell the “truth” ‎as far as you possibly can do (i.e. reporters). Certainly, subjectivity may intrude in between but can subjectivity or bias leads a writer to lies or even worse libels, or defamation? Have your say.

Write and Read, Read and Write

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

I read it somewhere. As inspiring as it seems, I decided to blog about it.

10 Poin Penting dalam Membuat Blog yang Digemari

Darren Rowse adalah salah satu sosok blogger kenamaan dari negeri kanguru yang menjadi inspirator saya di tahun 2009 untuk memulai menulis blog. Meski belum banyak menghasilkan uang seperti Rowse, saya bisa melatih kemampuan menulsi dengan blogging di kala senggang.
Darren Rowse adalah salah satu sosok nara blog kenamaan dari negeri kanguru yang menjadi inspirator saya di tahun 2009 untuk memulai menulis blog. Meski belum banyak menghasilkan uang seperti Rowse, saya bisa melatih kemampuan menulis dengan menuangkan ide di blog pribadi di kala senggang.

Blog saat ini makin diakui sebagai salah satu sarana membangun percakapan yang jujur antara seorang figur/ perusahaan/ organisasi dengan khalayak ramai yang menjadi konsumen atau audiensnya.

Membuat blog memang kelihatannya mudah. Cukup beli domain, hosting dan tugaskan sebuah tim narablog (karena satu orang saja tidak mungkin membangun dan menjalankan blog profesional) untuk menulis dan mengunggah konten segar dan baru setiap hari ke dalamnya untuk menarik kunjungan dan mempertahankan pengunjung yang sudah setia.

Blogging adalah sebuah pekerjaan mudah, jika dilihat dalam waktu sehari dua hari. Tetapi sayangnya membuat blog lain sama sekali dengan menjalankan sebuah blog profesional. Pemeliharaan dan pembaruan blog harus dilakukan terus menerus, bak seorang pelari dalam lomba marathon. Ini sama sekali lain dengan seorang pelari jarak pendek dalam lomba sprint. Dan yang lebih penting lain ialah bagaimana Anda bisa membangun komunitas dan pengunjung blog yang setia dengan kesabaran, tenaga dan pikiran serta dana yang luar biasa ekstra.

Berikut adalah beberapa hal yang saya telah pelajari selama 5 tahun terakhir sebagai penulis konten online, penerjemah konten, narablog, dan pekerja web.

  • Kerendahhatian: Sebuah blog yang digemari mampu menempatkan dirinya sebagai seorang teman dan rekan yang sejajar dengan pembacanya. Saat Anda membaca sebuah blog yang kalimatnya bernada menggurui, Anda mungkin akan merasa muak, apalagi jika itu datang dari seseorang yang belum dikenal luas atau sudah teruji kiprahnya di bidang tertentu. Meski Anda memiliki kredibilitas yang tinggi sekali pun, sikap rendah hati masih harus dipelihara dalam berinteraksi karena itulah yang membuat para pembaca nyaman dan merasa berbincang dengan teman akrabnya. Ingatlah bahwa blog adalah sebuah tempat untuk bercakap-cakap juga, bukan hanya chat room, WhatsApp, dan sebagainya yang kita bisa buat sebagai wadah mengobrol daring.
  • Keaslian konten: Banyak orang yang mengabaikan pentingnya konten yang unik dan otentik. Ibaratnya bagaimana Anda bisa menjadi seorang pribadi yang digemari oleh orang lain jika Anda mengekor saja? Anda harus punya jati diri, dan dalam blog, jati diri itu ditunjukkan dengan pembuatan konten yang tidak bisa ditemui di blog dan situs lain. Dan penyampaiannya juga dibuat unik agar sesuai dengan audiens. Menulis ulang konten dari sumber lain memang sah-sah saja, tetapi itu tidak akan membuat blog Anda banyak berkembang. Jika Anda membuat konten dengan cara seperti itu, silakan saja, tetapi suatu saat nanti, Anda juga harus menemukan konten dan gaya penulisan Anda sendiri. Bila Anda ingin membuat blog yang nantinya bisa menghasilkan uang dari pemasangan iklan seperti AdSense dari Google, unsur keaslian konten ini juga amat krusial.
  • Kesederhanaan desain: Saat melihat sebuah blog, desainnya adalah yang pertama dinilai oleh pembaca. Jika Anda terlalu banyak menampilkan banner dan menumpahruahkan konten di halaman depan, Anda seolah sangat putus asa dan ingin membuat pengunjung membaca semuanya. Tebak apa yang mereka pikirkan saat melihat halaman depan blog yang terlalu sesak padat dengan konten? Kebingungan. Cukup berikan kotak pencarian, arsip dan daftar artikel terkini atau terpopuler. Sisanya sediakan untuk ruang kosong agar pandangan pengunjung lega. Di samping itu, waktu loading blog juga akan lebih singkat. Bayangkan siapa yang tidak jengkel harus menunggu loading terlalu lama karena terlalu banyak gambar atau flash atau banner di halaman depan blog Anda? Tidak semua orang memiliki akses Internet broadband yang Anda bisa akses dengan mudah di Jakarta.
  • Konten multimedia: Inilah konten yang lebih menarik dari hanya sekadar barisan teks. Entah itu gambar, video atau audio, semuanya bisa membuat pengunjung lebih lama mengaduk-aduk isi blog Anda. Semua orang memiliki mata yang mudah tertarik dengan gambar dan video, seperti seorang anak yang tidak bisa membaca dan hanya ingin menikmati ilustrasi di sebuah buku cerita. Pembaca blog Anda juga butuh konten multimedia yang menyegarkan mata.
  • Fokus: Anda boleh saja rakus untuk menampilkan sebanyak mungkin konten tetapi pastikan semua konten yang tertampil di blog itu memiliki fokus dan relevansi satu sama lain. Tetapi satu pengecualian adalah blog berita, yang mungkin bisa memuat konten dari politik sampai kesehatan.
  • Judul yang ‘panas’: Don’t judge the book from its cover. Pepatah lama itu memang ada benarnya tetapi dalam dunia blog, berlaku “please judge the writeups from their titles”. Saat saya menulis sebuah artikel yang isinya sama menariknya, jumlah pengunjung yang tertarik membaca bisa berbeda. Itulah kekuatan judul. Memang ia hanyalah tampilan luar dari blog Anda tetapi perannya sangat penting untuk menarik pembaca. Asal jangan sampai menggunakan judul sebagai penarik yang menyesatkan.
  • Opinionated: Miliki pendapat dan pendirian sendiri yang berbeda dari orang kebanyakan, dan blog Anda akan berpotensi menjadi acuan dan panutan yang pada gilirannya menarik lebih banyak pembaca. Tentu tidak mengapa jika Anda ingin menulis dengan penuh tendensi atau opini tertentu yang berbias asalkan Anda bisa memberikan bukti kuat untuk mendukung pernyataan Anda.
  • SEO: Anda perlu memikirkan lebih lanjut jika ingin membuat blog Anda lebih melejit. SEO akan membuat blog Anda lebih mudah ditemukan di halaman mesin pencari. Tetapi pertama-tama, Anda harus memikirkan konten berkualitas yang harus disuguhkan. Jangan hanya melulu terpaku pada SEO sementara kualitas konten blog Anda rendah. Kadang, tanpa melakukan SEO, pengunjung akan makin banyak jika dan hanya jika konten Anda menarik dan berguna sehingga membuat mereka kecanduan dan merasa rugi jika tidak menyebarkannya ke sebanyak mungkin orang yang mereka kenal. Dan yang patut diketahui, SEO hanyalah alat, bukan tujuan. Dan ia tidak serta merta menjadi jawaban atas popularitas blog yang masih rendah.
  • Kejujuran: Siapa yang mau ditipu? Termasuk juga pembaca blog Anda. Mereka tidak mau membaca konten yang isinya kebohongan. Boleh saja membuat judul dan konten yang kontroversial agar menarik pengunjung tetapi pertimbangkan dulu aspek kejujurannya. Apakah pemelintiran judul atau konten bisa membuat pengunjung kecewa atau justru terhibur?
  • Keteraturan: Dengan teratur mengunggah konten baru ke blog, aktivitas di blog akan setidaknya bisa dipertahankan, pengunjung akan stabil. Namun, jika Anda malas, jumlah pengunjung bisa menurun dan blog akan terlupakan.

 

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