As much as I hate to say it, most people aren’t as interested in the blogger as much as the blog. It’s true. Unless you have a larger than life personality or some fame in your own right (especially geek fame like being the head of an open source project) you really want to pick a theme and run with it. Straying from a core theme will only degrade the value of your blog by alienating readers unless you have a very close relationship with your readers.
For me the focus on this blog is tech and social media. I’ve been writing about social media a lot since it’s really the only way to put your website on the map in a short span of time so I wanted to learn more about it. Going from a passive user to active submitter was enough work that it gave me some insights I could blog about.
The original purpose of this blog was to see if I could write a moderately popular blog on tech and maybe use it as a platform to launch a web app that I’m working on (an invitation app) and document the business side of that. Unfortunately, I’m learning how to program as I do this so it may or may not happen. Plus, writing a blog is a lot of work too.
Do One Thing and Do It Good
Right now there are millions of blogs out there competing for attention. People aren’t going to comeback unless it really stops them in the tracks with consistent content. Consistence is not only about frequency but also quality and general subject area. It might seem contradictory but it also means changing things up a bit and entertaining your readership. If you narrow the focus too much you suffocate yourself and others. You don’t want to be predictable ever. Think of yourself as a major league slugger. You’ll get a good hit every couple of times at bat and even home runs no matter what the pitcher throws your way. That’s my idea of consistency.
If you’re writing a tech blog and suddenly start posting nude pictures then nobody’s coming back. They may even get angered by it. The same would be true if you were running a nude blog and suddenly started writing tech.
This is something to keep in mind if you’re blogging anonymously too. The more people know about you and your life through the about page or postings the more they’re willing to stick with you as long as it fits in with what you represent. However, this requires a commitment on your part to establish a rapport with the audience.
In most cases it’s best to find a focus.
Some of you might be lost to find a focus for your blog. “But I’m not a specialist at anything!”, you say. Well, think again. If you really can’t figure out what to write about just follow these steps:
- Write about whatever crosses your mind (just don’t go bonkers or go bonkers a lot)
- Take note of reader comments
- See what kind of theme emerges and focus on those
- Rinse and repeat
It’s just like the saying goes, “everybody has one good song inside them”. You have one good theme inside you. Who cares if you can’t compete with the best out there? You can use the blog to write and grow with your audience. The beauty of it is with the world wide web, you will always have a nice audience waiting for you. It might not bring you internet fame or money but if you really like blogging and stay true to yourself it will be a very satisfying experience.
Resisting the Urge
Yesterday I was dying to blog about Britney Spears shaving her head. Before that it was the death of Anna Nicole Smith. You might want to lash out in a personal rant. Whatever the case, be aware of yourself when you feel that you’re diverging from your core subject.
Here are some strategies to cope when you want to take your blog off the deep end.
Go to Sleep
Maybe even write a tiny outline or draft but don’t publish it. Just go to sleep. Look at your post when you wake up and ask yourself if you really want to post it. The funny thing about letting posts sit in draft limbo is that only the good ones stay and become real posts. The rest go stale or lose meaning. Just delete them.
Put it in Your Link Blog
I coped with the Britney urge by putting it in my link blog. The little blurb that accompanies the link is my outlet of 255 words max.
Approach it from a Different Angle
Sometimes you can try to approach the subject from a different angle that wont alienate your audience. I resisted the urge to write about Anna Nicole Smith by writing Celebrity Inflation in the Digital Age. It took off the personal edge that would have been there if I was writing exclusively about Smith but it did quell my urge even if it wasn’t my best.
Put it in an Anything Goes Blog
Just go create a blog on any of the popular services like Blogger and run wild. Nobody’s going to stop you and you’ll feel better. Then come back and write your real blog.
Maintaining focus in a blog can be sometimes hard. It’s best if you live and breath the subject matter but if not, you can still maintain focus with a little training and build the blog with your audience.
Unless you’re charismatic in your own right simply focusing on yourself might only alienate your readers. Find your voice, find your audience, and build off of that feedback.