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Monday, September 2, 2013

Bla-Bla Blog

One of the questions that came up in the comment thread in the post "I Stopped Reading You Today" was deciding what to blog about.

A lot depends on your blog's focus. If you want to draw other authors, definitely talk about writing, publishing, and books. But if you want to reach potential fans, put yourself in the fan's shoes first. What would you like to read about if YOU were the fan?

Let's preface this with "fans who don't want to be authors" because we all know we follow other authors just to glean some of their wisdom. For the sake of argument though, let's concentrate on fans and followers who think the lives of writers are devastatingly interesting.

To appeal to a wide audience, I don't think it's necessary to be topic-centric. It's okay to have a lot of interests and talk about them.

I used to fret about this a lot in the beginning. I wondered if I should start a separate blog for all my interests, but I realized it would be too hard to keep up with them. Besides, what if I wanted to talk about goats one day and my core readers expected to read about the publishing industry?

I made a decision then and there to talk about what interested me first. My theory was that if I talked about what I liked, eventually I'd find others with similar interests. Water finds its own level, right? My other hunch was that if I had fans who enjoyed my writing, they might also enjoy a glimpse into my everyday life.

But this brings up another important point. 

Don't try to be everything to everyone. I have no interest (or experience) in gaming, singing, or reality shows. When people blog about those things, I choose not to comment that day. 

If that's all they talk about, I probably won't be following their blogs. But if they blog about a lot of different topics, they'll probably net a visit from me on some other day.

Regardless of the topic, the only demands on you is to make it interesting. And that's the trick, isn't it? Your writing ability is put to the test every time you blog.

So what do you think? Do my theories seem feasible? Or do you think a blog should be very specific in its approach?

I was going to mail a get well card to Mike Keyton today, but it's Labor Day in the US and the post office is closed. If you want to add your good wishes to the comment stream here's his post. He has no internet, so I'm sure he'd love to hear from you even if you're not on a first name basis.

I missed August's State of the Homestead update, so I'll do one this Thursday. Wait until you see the scorpion picture. You will not believe your eyes.


Anne Gallagher said...

Oh the blog topics... I never know what to talk about lately. Hence my whine this morning.

But I guess that job is the big thing on my mind this week. And that seems to be how I'm blogging these days. Whatever is most prevalent on my mind.

I'll trade you your scorpion for my spider. ewwww

Maria Zannini said...

Anne: Unfortunately, I've got plenty of spiders too. What I need is a fennec fox. I'm told they love to eat scorpions.

Angela Brown said...

As you may remember, I was very hesitant about starting a blog for a long while because I didn't think I'd really have much to say. But since starting, I've not lacked in the jaw-jabbering department lol!

I've tended toward varying topics but mostly about books, my writing experiences and showcasing other stories because I love to read as well as write. I'm not super blogger status, but I've had a few folks that seem to stick around...mostly writers. I'm still in "confused on what to do" land about making it more attractive for readers who are just readers lol!

Anonymous said...

I run my blog exactly this way. Like you, I just can't break my interests up enough to keep separate blogs. I used to have three: writing, cooking, and childbirth. I was going crazy, and I kept saying to myself, "some of my writing followers will want to know about this recipe," or some such thing, and I'd go put a link in my writing blog so people could look at the cooking blog.

That got old real fast. So the heck with that idea. I'm much happier blabbering on about whatever I want and letting my followers read or ignore at will. No one has complained.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: LOL! You're a regular chatty-Cathy. You can blog about anything and people would flock to you.

Maria Zannini said...

Marlene: I don't worry about being popular or trendy. I refuse to get into that high school mentality.

If people stop liking what they're reading then it'll be time to hang up my keyboard.

Anonymous said...

I've tried to keep to theme days. I've liked it in that readers could visit on days the topics were of interest. However, the Meet the Cards series is coming to an end so it may be time to revisit the idea.

I've never understood the people with multiple blogs for different interests, it just seems exhausting to me. Different businesses, now that makes sense :)

Ref: scorpion

I'm guessing you're taking that everything is bigger in Texas to extremes again. :shudder:

Darke Conteur said...

I agree with you. I've been doing an experiment of sorts with my blog, and I think I've found something I can stick with. Posting every other day about a certain topics, but having a schedule of topics, ie every other Monday I talk about writing, every other Tuesday I do something else, etc. This way, I can (hopefully) bring a wider group of people to my blog.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Maria,
I think it's okay to write what strikes my fancy, but I have noticed that I don't write enough about things that readers would find interesting. Mostly, I stick to writing and publishing.

Jenny Schwartz said...

High school mentality - that resonates.

But whatever your topic-choice process, Maria, your blog posts always interest me :)

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: Re: scorpions

I'm not telling until Thursday. It still creeps me out.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: I noticed the pattern you set too! I think it gives your blog a more well rounded personality.

Maria Zannini said...

Hi JL and welcome!

A lot of the content is created with a certain audience in mind.

Me, I like to attract conversation from more than the writing perspective. As writers we tend to be too insulated and I want to break ranks from that.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: This is why I dislike the "follower or friend" paradigm on so many of the social networks. It puts unnecessary pressure on relationships and forces people to "compete" for followers.

People who have hundreds or thousands of "followers" have relationships with only a tiny percentage. The numbers are cranked up superficially with bloghops and Twitter-gasm campaigns.

What's wrong with having real relationships with readers?

Shelley Munro said...

I like to blog about things that interest me. Travel, food, books, pets and other random topics that I might come across during research.

That's fallen by the wayside a bit recently, since I've been away so much.

If a person blogs about something they're passionate about, their genuine love of their topic comes through. People are attracted to that.

Maria Zannini said...

Re: If a person blogs about something they're passionate about, their genuine love of their topic comes through.

Absolutely! That should be a number one rule. Because if you don't love the subject, why should anyone else?

Rula Sinara said...

I'll admit my first blog posts centered more on writing. Now, it varies. Sometimes it's interviews, sometimes it's recipes or just 'this is me and my day' stuff. Topics can be tough, but like you said, the desire to 'be there' should come through.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I think that if you didn't talk about what interested you, the blog would feel forced. I like reading your blog (and others) because it feels like having a conversation. I can tell that you care about what you're talking about.

Maria Zannini said...

Rula: I can't speak for anyone else, but I can tell if a blogger is phoning it in.

I don't blame them. Blogging can be hard. Better to take a hiatus than blog just to put something out there.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: And conversation is what I look for too. This blog isn't a pulpit. It's a commune of ideas and perspectives.