We’ve spoken now about blog elements. I want to turn our attention to the actual effort of blogging.
Blogging sounds very easy especially if you’re a writer. You write something, post it, and thousands of people come and love what you wrote… right?
Yeah, not so fast.
First, you have to figure out WHAT you’re going to write about. You should have been doing some of this as you came up with the name of your blog and your keywords, etc. But let’s look a minute at:
CONTENT: What are you going to write about? Don’t take this lightly because if you scatter-shot your blog posts, posting about random things, you will attract a random audience if you attract anyone at all. Think about it. Let’s say you find a blog that talks about gardening, but you don’t garden. Are you going to stick around for their random blog posts about raising kids, or about how to shop with coupons? Now all of these could fit nicely in a blog about being a mom, but it needs to be set up that way.
To get people to return, you need at least semi-regular content that is pertinent to their lives. I once heard this referred to as “bleeding neck” posts. The more critical you make your posts to your readers’ lives, the more loyal they will be. I should mention here if you write a blog post about yourself, don’t make it you-centric. Talk about how what you learned can help THEM. If all you talk about is you, you’re probably wasting your time.
HOW OFTEN: A big question when starting a blog is, “How often do I post?” My answer: “As often as you have material for.” I know some people who post only once in a long while and then promo the post extensively. I know others who post every day and promo some, relying on a subscriber base to carry their blogs and make posting worthwhile. You have to decide what works for you. Because what works for you might not be what works for someone else. For example, when I started blogging, I co-blogged with a friend of mine. I took Mondays and Thursdays, he took Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It worked out very well as if one of us was gone, the other would pick up our days.
Then my co-blogger passed away, and I had to decide if I was going to try to blog every day, four days a week. I decided I could not keep up with that schedule, nor did I have that much to say. For awhile, I filled in his days with other things I had to post, but eventually, I had to be honest with my readers that it was getting to be too much. I dropped back to Mondays and Thursdays, and I’ve been doing that for nearly 5 years now.
Another consideration is how many other things you have to write and how long one post takes you. For me, I can write a post in 20-30 minutes if I don’t get interrupted. However, I know some people who agonize for days over a post. So look at your writing personality as well and don’t sign up for something you can’t deliver. If you can only do one post every other week, then do that. But remember, this is not a month-long and it’s done in most cases. So do what you can do for the long haul.
TYPES OF CONTENT: If you are content-challenged, consider offering a day of guest blogs or interviews or reviews. As an author, all of these could be gold mines of other authors sending their traffic your way. However, some authors are better at this than others, so don’t assume that they will make your blog a success. In fact, many authors are counting on YOUR audience to help THEM, not the other way around, so be prepared.
GIVEAWAYS: I have done many contests and giveaways for other blogs. Just be careful as these can become a much bigger headache than they are worth. Yes, they do allow you a way to get people to comment and participate, but realize that each giveaway will take after-post work from you as well. Choosing the winner, notifying them and them and the author, following up. It all takes valuable time you may or may not have to devote to the blog.
I advise you to have at least a couple months worth of material if you are doing an on-going blog before you ever start. You will be amazed at how quickly days, weeks, and even whole months go by. If you don’t have enough content, consider instead guest blogging on others’ sites and sending them to your Amazon page, book page, bookshelf, or website. Just know that an on-going blog will take a lot of on-going effort and be prepared or you will find yourself missing deadlines and letting the blog slide, which is not a professional thing to do.