I attended BlogHer Business (and a couple of BlogHer parties) a few weeks ago. The experience has had me thinking a lot about what it means to be a blogger, who is a blogger these days, and what it takes to maintain one or more blogs.
BlogHer, and I imagine, other blogger gatherings like it has this empowering effect. There’s nothing more fist-pumping awesome than to stand in a room with several hundred other people who do what you do and who are passionate about it. I’m sure BlogHer was founded in 2005 because of that feeling; I felt it when I attended in 2007, too.
Today, however, I know lots of people with blogs. It would not be an exaggeration to say that most of my friends are bloggers. It’s far less special to be a blogger when there are millions doing it. There are standouts, of course; those who have been at it for an extended period of time, are downright prolific and who show no sign of flagging in their efforts.
There are others who blog because they have to — it’s become a requirement as part of their job. Who would have thought that would happen back in the days when Heather Armstrong’s experience coined a term that meant “to be fired for one’s blog.”
We’ve learned a lot since the days of LiveJournal. There are new bloggers, however, who don’t have the benefit of that experience. New bloggers who fail at context because they don’t read many other blogs. Bloggers who, frankly, aren’t really bloggers — they’re merely posting content to a blog, or contributing to a corporate blog as part of their job responsibilities.
I hear people complain about blogging all the time. I hear how difficult it is to continue to produce content for a website; how there’s never enough time or ideas or interesting things to write about.
More than 95 percent of all blogs are abandoned and good riddance, I say! I’d like to rid the internet of all the “bloggers” and turn down the volume of crappy content drowning out all the good, thoughtful stuff out there. For all the people half-assing it out there, just stop. If you don’t feel it, don’t write it, film it, shoot it, record it, etc. and for goodness sakes don’t publish it.
We’ll all be better off if there are more blog readers than bloggers.
The question of how often to post — to a blog, to Facebook, to Twitter — is frequently asked. Those new to blogging don’t always fully understand the commitment needed for social media engagement and often think blogging every day will be “no big deal.”
More typically, people face blogging for business with a more realistic sense of dread. Is once a month OK, they ask hopefully. Can we tweet three times a week? How about Facebook? How often do we have to post something there?
The very nature of that question, the tone, is disheartening; “how often do we have to . . . “
I generally try not to answer a question with a question — it’s poor form and all that — but here, it’s appropriate.
How successful do you want to be?
There’s a lot of internet sound with the multiplication of platforms and steady increase of users. To stay in the search game, good, thoughtful content, frequently published and shared with additional unique lead-in content is critical. Auto posting across platforms is possible, but making sure you’re treating fans, followers and friends as such. These are the people who have voluntarily opted in to your content. Provide value to them and make them feel special.
So how often should we post, you ask, still, you ever-persistent people!
- Blog 3x a week
- Facebook 12x a week
- Twitter 24x a week
Give that formula a whirl and let me know if you see your traffic increase (you will; I just like to hear it.)
More than 95 percent of blogs are abandoned! By virtue of sticking it out, staying in the game and continuing to blog, you (and I) become leaders in the blogosphere. Here are six ways to keep up the blog:
1. Schedule your time to write. What time can you give to your blogging efforts? 20 minutes a day when you’ve turned everything else off and you’re in a chair tapping away at a keyboard will do the trick. Are you a better writer in the morning or evening? Put that time on your calendar and protect it like it’s your child.
2. Get a blogging partner – keep one another accountable by reading and commenting on each other’s posts.
3. Guest post for someone else – sometimes a deadline on someone else’s schedule will kick your butt into gear.
4. Institute a bribe (or get your partner to do it. ) I will share with you that I just offered my teammates for the collaborative corporate blog I manage an opportunity to win a Jar of Pie. Suddenly everyone is enthusiastic.
5. Join a group of other local bloggers and meet them for coffee, lunch, drinks — whatever — just get together in person periodically to talk about the blogging process, to learn from one another and be inspired.
6. Think about why you started your blog. Why was it important to you? What is the blog’s purpose? Write that down and stick it on the wall or the fridge or somewhere you’ll see it and it will remind you, often, of why you’re here, blogging like the rest of us nut jobs. It’s important, and you ARE making a difference to someone.
Need more help? I highly recommend Chris Brogan’s post How to Blog Almost Every Day.