[The following is edited from a post that I originally wrote about for Hollaback and it's an incredibly important concept. I refer back to it regularly as I work with people on blogging and Tweeting, especially for the sake of their career.]
When thinking about creating good content, one of the ideas I love is the idea of “mindcasting” and “lifecasting.” These words come from the mind of NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen and really apply to social media — specifically Twitter. But I think about them a lot when it comes to blogging or really any type of web presnce.
Mindcasting is sharing ideas. For a health blogger, it might be recipes, articles, links, or really just any commentary. I also think of mindcasting as instruction or information; an entire post on, say, fiber, or horseback riding.
Lifecasting is sharing your life. It’s pictures of your food, your dog, your family; stories of your workout or your trip to the winery.
I believe that a great web presence combines both mindcasting and lifecasting. The more mindcasting you do, the more you’re offering a service to people and presenting yourself as an expert.
And while, yes, your day-to-day existence can show ways you are an expert (I know many of us cook better food after seeing good food pictures or are inspired to sign up for a to run in a race hearing about one), there’s also so much more you — we! — can offer.
If you have a blog, more mindcasting posts are awesome. Your mindcasting can still be about your life, but it’s more than that. (“How I Decided to Run for a Marathon” can affect more people than “Recap of My Marathon.”) I truly believe those are the best posts because we really get to know the blogger and we’re inspired to comment! It’s really hard to comment on lifecasting. Like, “Oh, that food looks amazing! Just like it did yesterday!!”? Yeah…I guess. But it’s also great to be able to have a real discussion.
And if you want to network, you need to mindcast. If you say, “I can’t be on Twitter; my life is boring,” it’s because you’re thinking of lifecasting. Plus, Twitter would be a hell of lot better if more people mindcasted. (It would also have a better reputation.)
See, mindcasting is thought-provoking. It will get your posts more comments. It will get more people Tweeting @ you. People like things that make them think; be the person who makes people think.
I say aim for more mindcasting and less lifecasting — or even just doing 50-50. Personally, the more I write and the stronger I get, the less lifecasting I do. And I also don’t lifecast unless I truly have something to say. I don’t lifecast pictures of leftovers or a workout that was the same as yesterday’s. I never post pictures of my breakfast. Why? Because I eat the same thing every day! What’s the point? Just to say something? Nah — no point. So even when you lifecast, find a way to make it better. This doesn’t mean more pictures or more smiley faces; it means more thoughts and words.
And don’t think you have nothing to mindcast. I bet you do! And it’s really important to recognize that you do. Don’t rely on lifecasting because you’re afraid to have an opinion or point of view — people will appreciate your POV! I’d rather disagree with someone than just have nothing to say about a blog. I love those days when I read a post that’s so on point (or off point, for that matter), I have to comment or I want to re-tweet it. That’s the kind of blog post I strive to write and those are the blog posts I love to read. So what if you’ve been lifecasting for six months? We know what your breakfast looks like; now show us your brain, your heart, your opinion, your thoughts!