When it comes to writing, we are not too bad. Words help us to keep ourselves connected with the world around us. Our inner joys, sorrows, trials, triumphs take the shape of blogs which we keep posting at regular intervals. We can’t help ourselves but write. In other words, we are a bunch of declared Blogaholics. We have no intentions of getting rid of this addiction. And we do not wish to remain anonymous!
Writing is like an internal cleaning process for us. Some of us use it to unburden the soul; some others for spreading cheer. Some of us are here to promote our books, whether present, upcoming or still in the realm of our pious intentions. Some of us are here to make money. Quite a few of us are here simply to educate, entertain and amuse.
We have good days and we have bad days. Often, we are disappointed. A post which we thought was very clever and had the potential to go viral sinks without a trace. Once in a while, a surfer comes across our island of thoughts in the Blogging Ocean and finds it of immense interest. We find a sudden spurt in our views. We gain a follower.
We crave publicity. We crave recognition. We find it hard to come by. We twiddle our thumbs wondering what we are doing wrong. We dread becoming a member of the Blogaholics Anonymous, drifting along aimlessly in a global ocean of ideas, words and sentences, with no shimmering sand of popular recognition in sight.
What can we do to avoid becoming a member of the Blogaholics Anonymous? With all humility at my command, allow me to share with you what I have learnt so far.
Not Ignoring Statistics
It helps to keep an eye on our blog statistics. Which topics have we written about that are the most popular? Can we be more vocal on these topics? Can we bring in our personal experience in these areas which could be shared in further detail?
Is there a pattern we notice, related to, say, the day of our having hit the ‘publish’ button? Does it help to increase the frequency of our posts? May be, making them shorter and crisper instead of long winding ones? How can we leverage this insight to make our blog site scale greater heights in the days to come?
WordPress has an excellent feedback mechanism. Perhaps some of us can use it better.
Keeping an Ear to the Ground
What are our followers saying? What are they writing about? Reading up others’ blogs, related articles and books helps us to narrow the bandwidth of our outpourings.
Blabbering about whatever appears on the mental horizon without adequate back up research often does us in. It is all about interactions with live people with similar hopes and aspirations. If we respect them by reacting to their ideas, they would return the favour.
Being a Long Term Gymnast
Why are we into blogging? Do we have a long term goal? If so, do we have a plan to work upon? This is quite relevant for those who are here with either a promotional or a commercial goal.
If we are here to have fun, we can afford the luxury of going with the flow. Our blog site then sounds and smells like a fresh bouquet. Yes, if there are roses tucked in there of a primary area of our expertise, the aroma is even more invigorating. Our followers broadly know what to expect from us, but could get pleasant surprises once in a while!
Thinking of giving up the blogging sprint midway? No way! One, our self-respect will take a blow. Our absence will never get noticed by others. Only our continued presence will make us a long term gymnast.
Avoiding Carbon Emissions
We have the democratic right to rant. But before making that a habit, we need to think. Could our carbon emissions be someone else’s oxygen? They may empathize and they may relate to it for some time. But they could soon melt away.
Some of us do go a step further and touch upon a sensitive subject. By deliberately courting controversy, we may gain higher circulation for some time. Whether it would last in the long run would depend on three things – the inherent merit in the argument, our own conviction in the matter and our ability to keep our followers’ interest alive and ticking.
Quality over Quantity
Do we prefer to have a multitude of faceless followers? Or, would we be happy instead to have a few regular ones who would be like a well-knit group of friends traveling along with us? This is an individual choice that we make.
Our followers would typically fall in three brackets – casual, serious and passionate. Casual ones would not mind hearing from us three times in a day. Serious ones would be looking for a deeper meaning in our posts. The passionate ones would themselves be subject experts – they would expect range as well as depth in our posts. Just like in life, we can’t please them all.
In any case, all of them are here either to learn something new, or to relish a chuckle or two, or to get entertained. If we work on providing a fresh perspective to the subject we excel in, or keep touching on areas which concern them, their tribe would only multiply.
Structure, Title and Publicizing
I guess we are smart enough and have already figured this out. But I believe what is worth communicating is surely worth over-communicating!
If I were to sum up in three simple words the traits a blogger must have, I would say: Commitment, Curiosity and Content.
This does not claim to be an exhaustive list of what can be done. In order to make our blogging voyage more pleasurable, you may like to add few more points which I might have overlooked.
(Related post: http://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/the-confessions-of-an-armchair-blogger)