If you’ve been blogging for any appreciable length of time, you’ve probably experienced the joy of ripping the wrapper off your brand new blog and imagining the places you’ll go. You’ve probably also experienced the feeling of sitting before the blog and wondering, “Now what?”
Of all the issues facing the enterprising blogger, perhaps the most daunting is frequency; it’s one thing to say you’re going to write every day and be more interesting on Wednesday than Tuesday, but actually doing it is another matter. Here are a few tips to find the blogging “sweet spot,” the place where you’ll find it easiest to write consistently and where you’ll be reaping the greatest reward.
From solely a motivational standpoint, the writing you enjoy most will probably be the writing you can do most often, and that’s a large part of the “sweet spot.” It’s easy to get off course, especially if financial incentives are waved in front of you to branch off into something with which you’re not really comfortable. But, you do need to draw a crowd too.
Understand Your News Cycle
After ascertaining what topic you can write easily and consistently, you need to understand the “news cycle” of your blog. Obviously, the high traffic movers are going to be politics, entertainment, and sports, because there are events nearly every day, and because readers already have an expectation of that news cycle. Websites like HuffPo and RealClearPolitics are updated within the day, sometimes within the hour, and the editors of these sites need fresh content to keep readers clicking. Bloggers for sites like these, and the ones that are linked to them, are presumed to have up to the minute knowledge to share.
Other bloggers enjoy less hectic news cycles. If your blog is about smart phones, there will be news around product introductions, and the hacks following the introductions. But Apple may not have an introduction for six months at a time, so you’ll need material that draws a crowd, even if it’s a long stretch between product launches
If you’re writing about nanotechnology, you’re looking at a much less frequent news cycle, though this is not to say you couldn’t write about nanotech every day; your job will be to make sure that the blogs are so captivating that the crowd’s enthusiasm for the topic matches your own.
Blogging can be a powerful tool, but the audience has to be motivated enough to check in, because they think you’re the authority.
Leading from Behind
If you’re stuck for ideas, let the audience be your guide. For example, let’s say your blog concerns collectibles, and each entry you write gets a steady response of 22 comments. Now let’s say you write an entry about collecting baseball cards, and comments
soar to 500. This would seem to call for a series of baseball card blogs to take advantage of that interest. You might test it by doing a slightly different take on the topic–would football cards draw as much interest, how about Justin Bieber cards?
If the sweet spot has already been established–you enjoy writing about 19th century classical music and there’s a crowd that will support it–you can move a bit from side to side to see if the sweet spot can be enlarged. How do they respond to posts about 20th century classical music, or to Ravi Shankar?
By choosing topic areas that are a bit to one side or the other of the sweet spot, you can get a sense of how much you can lead your readers to new areas, and how much you are willing to be led by them. This analysis can go a long way to finding a sweet spot that you can blog about consistently, and finding an audience who will follow wherever you decide to lead.
Richard Joseph is Author and Brand Manager for Promotionalpromos.com, leading online supplier of promotional gifts.