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Murder At A Good Address

The other day, helmut was asking for suggestions on how to increase the number of hits/links on/to his blog. I wonder about this too, of course, in relation to my own blog, though less so than I used to.

And then this morning I was reading in the New York Times a story on the amusing way in which the Daily News is covering the crap out of the Post's gossip column shakedown scandal. The News and the Post are New York City's two tabloids, see, and they've been fighting it out over circulation for some time now. Zuckerman's Daily News makes a profit. Murdoch's Post loses something like $40 million a year.

Anyway, the last paragraph in that Times story is a quote from Pete Hamill, journalist, novelist, and previous editor of both the Daily News and the Post. He's talking about how to win in a battle of the tabloids:

"The way to beat the other guy is to have the best stories, have them written at the top of everyone's talent, and stay true to the tabloid tradition - to find the drama in the story," Mr. Hamill said. "You don't pick up a tabloid to find out about the sisal crop in Malaysia. The best story of any type in a tabloid is murder at a good address. You don't become a better paper than the other guy by making remarks."

And it occurred to me that there's your answer right there. That's how to increase hits on your blog. What you want is the blog equivalent of "murder at a good address". You've got to find a way to practice your own form of Tabloig Journalism. Paraphrasing Hamill, "You don't become a better blog than the other guy by making remarks."

Well, we have to amend slightly that last bit since so much of blogging is so completely about "making remarks", isn't it? That's the problem. So many blogs making so many remarks. And so many of them not of the requisite "murder at a good address" variety.

You got a remark you want to make in your blog? First find the address where your idea lives. Is it at a good address? If not, forget it. If so, find the murder. If you can't find it, move on. If you can, write about it "at the top of [your] talent".

Easier said than done, of course, especially since you really should be blogging at least once a day if your goal is to get your readership up. Worse, not all of your ideas will live up to other people's notions of what constitutes a good address, let alone a juicy murder. Oh, and I suppose I should mention here that murder doesn't have to involve violence and outrage; there are plenty that are done with grace and finesse. Your range goes from somewhere around "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" at one end to something in the neighborhood of "Arsenic and Old Lace" at the other.

So. It's easy when you break it down: Look for the good address, then look for the murder, then write the hell out of it.

The rest is just, well... "making remarks".


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