Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Ideal Blogger (#2) Content and Consistency

Before I start off with this, I thought I'd let you guys know that I added one last section to the previous post titled "Utilize Social Media". Click here for the previous part.

Okay, let's get started (:


First off- content. This is what people judge your blog by. And this is what you should ask yourself when you open up your blog in your browser tab. "Are my blog posts actually interesting? Have I written these posts sincerely enough to catch the eye of someone who doesn't know me and probably has different interests? Is there something in the posts that a general majority should be able to relate to?"

If you're writing a personal blog, ask yourself these questons. "When I document these feelings and events, does this help me in any sort of way? Will I be able to refer back to my blog, like a diary, for these memories? Will I be able to look back at my blog to see how much has changed? Have I written sincerely enough for other people to see what my life looks like?"

The first point I'm trying to make is not about content- not yet. It's about the sincerity and depth of your writing. You can write about a circus (which is really exciting in real life) but if you don't put your heart into your words, the event will seem bland and boring on your blog- no matter how many paragraphs and lines you type away. You could write about a stroll in your neighborhood (which could be something extremely normal) but if you decide to write it sincerely and focus on the best, it can turn out to be something that your followers found worth reading.

"It is an old and true maxim that "a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall"
 So remember- you must write sincerely, whether you write for yourself or for your followers or for both. Give yourself time to do this. It's better to write one post with your heart than to write ten with your fingers. Trust me, quality over quantity.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

What are blogs usually about? If you look through most of your blogroll/blogfeed, you'll see that the majority of blogs that teenagers follow are written by teenagers. What does this tell you? It tells you that the target audience is related to blog content. You can't write a blog about your personal life and expect business/fashion blogs to follow you because your blog just isn't their thing. What you have to do is realize what your target audience is.

"... I happened to be excited about boats and the visitor discussed the subject in a way that seemed to me particularly interesting. After he left, I spoke of him with enthusiasm..... My aunt informed me he was a New York lawyer; that he cared nothing whatsoever about boats.... "But why then did he talk all the time about boats?... "Because he is a gentleman. He saw you were interested in boats and he talked about the things he knew would interest and please you. He made himself agreeable""
Fortunately, you, as a blogger, do not have to bend your back so far as to start blogging about something that doesn't even interest you (do you know what this means? This means that teenagers are interested in teenagers. Whatever you write will appeal to 70% of teenage bloggers). But what you do need to realize is that there are lots of teen bloggers out there and that most of your interests and blog content will overlap. Teenagers- especially those with personal blogs like this one- will write about a variety of subjects which would include

  • School related subjects, for example rants/studyblrs/stationary/note-taking
  • Relationships, whether it's about your parents, your siblings, your friends, your relatives, your classmates, your teachers
  • Writing, for example poetry, short stories, book reviews, fandom reviews, other rants, discussions, arguments, informative articles
  • Photography, which is a really popular subject among a great majority of teenage blogs and should be classified as separate from art.
  • Art, whether it's drawing, sculpting, painting, singing, designing, fashion
It's not so hard writing on a personal blog (a category which quite a few bloggers are in and it is these bloggers I'm focusing on). But what you need to do is to present the same information in a unique kind of way. You need to make your blog creative so it stands out from the rest of the blogging world. You need to create your own niche.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The next most important thing about content after your subject is how you present it, also known as, how creative you are with your posts. Standard posts tend to involve images or gifs, but we want your post to burst with something special! How can we achieve that?

For starters, check out tumblr for images. This is a website which is overflowing with unique ideas and text posts. You know those famous "teenager posts" and "that's so relateable posts" that are a hit on Facebook? Those all came from tumblr. Imagine what else you could find there. Literally everything, including fandom related stuff. One of my favorite personal posts was created from tumblr's vast data base of images and that post quickly made it on the "Most Popular Post" widget on the sidebar. You can check it out here.

Since you're aiming at a teenage audience, ideas like that will most probably make itself a hit.

Creativity also includes font, paragraphing and divisions. Remember, you need your blog to be easy on the eyes. There are some fonts available on blogger that really make reading a chore. I know, because I used to use a really difficult font on my blog and I didn't even know it was so hard to read because I never looked at my blog properly. Lesson learnt? Visit your blog as a reader regularly and try to understand how it looks to a visitor.

Next is paragraphing. Split your writing into proper paragraphs because, let's be honest, no one wants to read a textbook styled essay. Even if you ARE writing an essay on your blog, paragraph each point, each example separately. Your readers are not your academic examiners. They are not under a contract to read each and every word. If you thrust too much in one go, chances are you're losing a reader.

Don't forget to divide the post. There's a feature in blog writing where you can write in a variety of modes, being Heading, Sub Heading, Minor Heading and Normal. Utilize these features! Apart from these, you can also use bullet points to categorize facts and important information- or just outline the entire post at the start or at the end. It's little things like these that make your posts reader friendly.

These were some simple ways to make your posts creative. Here are some more complex ideas.
  • Use your own photographs to make gifs
  • Create text graphics
  • Use different colors and highlights
  • Present information on images (also called infographics)
  • Add your own drawings (traditional or digital) to illustrate your post
*~*~*~*~*~*~*

You could have a beautiful blog with fantastic posts, but what's the point of following you if the last post you made was in 2012? I have seen SO MANY amazing and fantastic blogs that have been inactive for years, and it just literally kills me. It's like finding a dead tree- tall and splendid, but it's not going to grow even one more inch. Most of these blogs have final posts like "I find blogging a chore now" or "blogging isn't fun anymore" or "I'm on hiatus", giving me the impression that if blogging becomes worrisome, a blogger is inclined to simply dump the project and leave.

Now, I'm not exactly one to talk. I HAVE been blogging 2011, but I actually started and stuck to this blog since 2013. Only one and a half year. I have yet to come across a period where blogging is something I want to drop and run away from- but I DO occasionally have writers block. Here's how I combat these periods.

Create a Blogging Notebook
That's right! It won't hurt to dedicate a notebook to your blog, would it? In fact, it would actually be super helpful! I've dedicated a notebook of mine to this blog and so far, it has really benefited me. 
I've tried re-sizing this to fit in the post area but it's not working -__- 
And remember- it's for rough ideas. Throw everything in there. I even stuff in my awards here since I realized spacing them out evenly is a better idea then doing the awards as soon as they come. Write down all the memes, all the contests, all the blog trends happening- even if you have too much on your plate already- because when you're out of ideas, this is what will keep your blog afloat.

But what if you're completely blank and have no idea about what to blog about? You need to sit down and give yourself time to think about it. Brilliant ideas don't come when they're wanted- they just arrive unexpectedly and that's just their nature. There's nothing much you can do about it- but here's what you CAN do to get the process started.
  • Browse Pinterest. Here's a site that will have loads of ideas, quotes, books, projects, fashion- everything available. Just sift through all the information and find something you really like- whether it's a tutorial or a quote. Post it on your blog along with your thoughts about it- turn it into a writing exercise. (If it's a tutorial that's caught your eye, DO IT and post your results on your blog).
  • Read a book from your To Be Read pile and write a book report on it! Everybody loves book reports!
  • Browse through other interesting blogs and see if something inspires you to write your own post! There are lots of writing blogs out there that gather quite the resources for their readers. A good example of such a blog is "A Splash of Ink" by Sunny Smith.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Are you on a writing roll? Is creativity flowing out from your fingertips onto the keyboard? Let me advise you- don't post all at once. Pace yourself. You cannot write ten posts in one week and then be absolutely blank the next. Plan out your schedule- it's okay to write everything down and prepare a blogpost, but you won't gather readers effectively if you post everything within a short span of time. Use the "Schedule" option on the side of the page when you write your blogpost. It's bursts of creativity like this that will help cover up your blog when you're having a writer's block.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Everything highlighted in pink are excerpts from the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.

Part Three of this post trilogy will be Common Courtesy.

Did you find anything lacking or any new point that could be added? It would be my pleasure to add your insights and examples to this post (I'll credit you, of course).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment and leave a link.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...