Thursday, July 24, 2014

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Are You an Irregular Blogger?

by fouts

Every successful blogger or blogging coach will tell you it’s important to blog regularly to maintain the interest of your readers. How often is up to you, but often it’s helpful to set a sort of schedule to your blogging so people begin to expect to hear from you on a regular basis.

It can be disappointing to go through your feed readers and see that many of the feeds have not been updated recently. I delete a blog from my reader if it doesn’t update enough. It’s just taking up space and not adding value and there are always new blogs to add right?

So what to do if you don’t have anything to say right now? Don’t panic, it happens to everybody. That’s why I’m writing a blog post about writing a blog post! I’m actually on vacation so I’m a little distanced from my reading list and perhaps a bit less inspired than usual. So I posted a note to Twitter and asked the Twittersphere how they find inspiration for a blog post. Here are some of the responses and some of the ways I use to keep my posts interesting. (I hope so anyway!)

Start an editorial calendar
If you blog about business, processes, food or a whole host of other things wait for a day you feel a bit inspired and write out a list of everything you’ve ever thought about blogging about. Sort through it and see if a pattern unfolds. Is there a series of posts you could write and then post over time? A natural cycle of posts you can plan for? Events you know will come up you can talk about?

Write it all out on a calendar and decide when you will publish. Then either write them before your scheduled publishing date and set them to go live on time or scedule the day you will write them and publish.

Make a list
Sometimes you come up with ideas in a flurry and not know what to do with all of it. Make a list and keep it near your writing desk. When you need it scan the list quickly and see if you’re inspired by an idea or combination of ideas.

Lazyfeed
Lazyfeed is one of my favorite resources for inspiration that is timely. You can set up some keyword searches in advance and see posts almost as they are published. Watch carefully and you may see a trend developing. I’m not suggesting you should steal an idea, but listen to what others are saying and add your own take on it. Be sure to link back to the original blog or blogs and give credit where credit is due. This just encourages community discussion and give a wider point of view on the subject at hand.

Twitter
Do what I did, and ask your network on Twitter, Facebook, forums, whatever networks you belong too. Where do you see a hole in the discussion? Share your thoughts on a subject and see where it goes.

Books, magazines, trade journals, media
What are you reading? Have you developed opinions or have a review to share? Heard something on the radio or TV that made you think?

You don’t have to write a treatise
Remember that blog posts should ideally be between 300 and 500 words in length. Don’t feel like every post has to be War and Peace. Write something that asks a question of your readers and leave room for discussion. Sometimes the best part of a post is in the comments and that’s just fine. Let your readers participate and we are all richer for it.

SO. What are your tips for writing regularly? I know I could use some more..

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  • Darin Kirschner

    I love these ideas Janet. I've always been an irregular, irregular blogger. I am one of those who gets a few different ideas and tends to jam them all into one post and then not write for a month… BAD practice I realize.

    I LOVE your idea about jotting the ideas down, splitting them in to right sized chunks and developing a posting schedule calendar. Smart! I also appreciate the reminder to leave room for discussion. Asking a question to engage the readers is key. Just as with so many other media, allowing the audience a place to add their input in a welcomed way is essential!

  • http://twitter.com/Namibnat Vernon Swanepoel

    Janet, I think there are two sides to it. I have a blog where I write stories (about the African bush) and I only update it when I either have a good story to tell or I manage to squeeze one out of a guest blogger. And I have very loyal subscribers. I went through a time that I felt obligated to always update, but then I changed my mind and thought I'll rather stick to just really good posts. I have two other blogs to maintain (one for work, one personal) and they get regular posts.

    I find myself doing the exact opposite of what you suggested, when a blog posts to much I start thinking, man, I don't have time to read all that, and I un-subscribe because of to many posts. And, on the flip side, there are some irregular posters that do such fantastic stories that they are a real treat when they do post.

    So, I think if you write cracker posts, you can get by with fewer posts. Certainly you shouldn't leave it so long they think you have kicked the bucket, but this urge to post daily or so regularly isn't always necessary.

    Sorry to take up so much of your comment space, and I do appreciate the tips you gave.

  • http://janetfouts.com Janet Fouts

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. As always there isn't a ” one size fits all” answer. I agree overloading turns me off as much as under posting too. It all depends on what your goals are.

  • http://seanseo.com Sean SEO Marketer

    There are many and many blogs that we can find without the blog being updated from about months. Every blogger might start with a high intention to write and publish the blog on regular basis but they fail to do it practical. There may be many reasons behind but the base and strong reason would be their passion towards online activity, say blogging.

  • http://www.ledscreenchina.com led signs

    Very nice question. I love to use Blog to read news every day .Very Nice and Useful .

  • Allan

    I like the idea of seeing what is being talked about on TV shows or news stories related to my industry and my target audience. Makes it pretty easy to write posts this way. I like the rule of thumb to write 300-500 words. I also think it is a great idea to do video blog posts as well to mix things up.

  • Allan

    I like the idea of seeing what is being talked about on TV shows or news stories related to my industry and my target audience. Makes it pretty easy to write posts this way. I like the rule of thumb to write 300-500 words. I also think it is a great idea to do video blog posts as well to mix things up.

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