What’s the sign that something is wrong with a blog? Does a lack of comments mean we’re writing boring posts? Can a drop in traffic mean that we’re not doing enough to make our blogs appealing?
Author Mike Duran recently wrote a post, “One Reason Your Blog Sucks.” And the post got me thinking, as most of Mike’s posts do (thanks, Mike!). He said this, “Like it or not, one gauge of a blog’s reach is the number of comments it consistently generates.” Mike says that a lot of writer blogs end up “parroting the mainstream, defending turf and rebutting dissent, rather than encouraging discussion.”
While I don’t agree completely with everything in Mike’s post, I do agree that many of our blogs end up parroting one another. There are a lot of writer blogs that sound and look very similar. Whether we do it intentionally or not, we often end up copying one another.
For example, if I tried to pattern my blog posts after Mike’s “hot button issues” that “generate buzz” then I run the risk of mimicking him. If you try to write your posts to replicate my style, you risk sounding like me. Blogging like Mike won’t guarantee that I’ll generate more comments anymore than blogging like me will give you more.
Instead of trying to mimic what others are doing, we would be wise to look at our individual uniquenesses and strengths. Isn’t that what we’re trying to accomplish in our books anyway? We’re hoping to craft stories that stand out from others, stories that bring forth the sound of our unique writer voices.
If we’re using our voices in our books, why not on our blogs too? Why would we want our posts to parrot others? Shouldn’t we aim to give our writing (no matter the medium) our particular texture, flavor, and sound?
In other words, I don’t need to blog like you, and you don’t need to blog like me. Instead we have to look at what makes our writing stand apart from others and let our individual writer voices shine forth in our posts.
With that said, I do think there are some common blogging basics for any writer hoping to use their blog to develop a platform. Just as there are basic fiction writing techniques that will help us craft our stories so our voices are even more distinct and appealing, there are some common principles that can help in blogging.
1. Engage the Reader: Ultimately, whether in our books or our posts, we want to make a connection to our readers in some way. Perhaps we won’t stir up a controversial discussion or dish out enlightening information with each post, but we can still write with our readers in mind, rather than making our posts all about us.
2. Maintain a professional appearance: I’ve already discussed this in other posts: Maintaining a Professional Blog and 3 Blogging Blunders. Remember if we’re pursing publication, then we’re hoping to be seen as professionals by industry personnel. Whether we write humor or horror (or whatever), we don’t have to compromise our uniquenesses by maintaining a level of professionalism.
3. Blog with consistency: I like what author Kristen Lamb recently said about blogging, “You need to blog (minimum) once a week. If you are blogging once a month or when the fancy strikes you, that’s just wasted effort toward building a platform. Readers need to be able to count on you/your blog.” Check out her blog for more witty social media advice.
4. Participate in the blogging community. Blogging is a form of social media, and for our posts to generate traffic and get comments, we have to socialize with others. We can’t publish a post, sit back, and wait for masses of adoring fans to flock to our site to read our brilliant words. Most of us who’ve been blogging a while have had to work really hard to develop our followings.
Yes, there are blogging basics that can help all of us improve our blogs, generate more traffic, and increase our comments. However, through it all, we need to be mindful of our uniquenesses. Copying someone else who seems to have a successful blog is no way to bring ourselves success anymore than copying the writing of Rowlings or King will make our books hit the bestseller lists.
So, have you struggled with trying to find your unique blogging voice? Have you been trying to copy others, thinking that would bring you success? Or are you working at making your posts stand out in your own unique way and if so, how?