Adding more value to your Blog: How to write a Digest

Beth Kanter asks in the comments form today’s Social Networking Strategy:

I’m remembering Robin Good’s piece on news mastering techniques — this is what you’re doing here. So, any tips or secrets you want to share with other people who looking a large volume of web information from many different sources?

I love to share my tips and learnings, they really are not a lot of secrets, I want you to succeed at what you do too.


You already write a blog about a particular segment or focus, and you already consume a lot of content. Also, your market is crowded with excess content and noise.

Add value for your community by summarizing the noise in the market, add your insight and demonstrate thought leadership.

Find a Vertical/Topic
Try to pick a market where there’s excess information, depending on the noise in your vertical, you could go for a weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly summary. For the social networking vertical, there’s plenty of content for a weekly digest. Try to find a vertical where this isn’t already being done.

I may be rare, but I’m consuming a lot of information in my reader, and other aggregators. I make mental notes to filter and scan the vertical that I’ve chosen. During the week, I collect these links and drop them into a draft file or post, I actually complete the paragraph I write about then in real time, going back to do them at once is painful. I do the formatting then too. I try to find links to the original source of the news.

Add Value

Collecting a bunch of links isn’t helpful, in fact there’s tons of websites that already do that from Techmeme to Delicious. What’s valuable is adding your insight, analysis, and opinion. Learn to summarize and take a stand.

In addition, group content in certain tags, in my case, I put the category in the subtitle such as “Money: Title”, this further makes skimming easier, as clear concise headlines save time for readers. Consider creating a unique tag or category for this digest.

I create the Web Strategy summary at the top, highlighting the most important information

Get Feedback
Ask for feedback, defer to your customers for input, thoughts and opinion.

Benefits for the writer

This is good practice for me, I really, really know this industry since I’ve been doing this exercise. This is also good practice as an Industry Analyst (although that’s not why I started it). Lastly it’s a good reference, I can click on the digest tab at any point and instantly see all my notes.

Benefits for readers
Save them time, help them to understand quickly, and will return to your site. I noticed the attention is ok on these posts (a few hundred views) but few comments, I guess that’s a sign that it’s being used the right way –consumed. (Although I just love comments, even if you don’t agree.)

So there you go Beth, now give it a shot!

(Written on my break during training)