"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

5 Blogging Tips

Recently, I seem to be getting the same question again and again. “How do you come up with topics to blog about?”
I answer honestly with, “I just share whatever I’m thinking about at the time. Sometimes I’m reviewing lessons from teaching, other times I blog about research or other projects I’m working to complete.”
This answer seems to dissatisfy them. It feels like they are looking for the magic formula, but there isn’t one. A lot of them have been blogging much longer than I have and should be more qualified to answer this question. So why does it keep coming up?
We've all seen it happen: a writer gets fired up about a new blog, posts every day for a few weeks, and then ... just stops. Maybe they post once a month or every other month, but does this help? Bloggers gets busy, lose interest, burn out, or just run out of ideas and abandon the blog. Just like any other endeavor in our lives, it happens.

But it doesn't have to happen to your blog. Use these five tips to avoid burnout and maintain a steady stream of useful posts, even when things get hectic or your muse disappears.

1. Batch your blog posts - I usually work on multiple posts at a time, because once I get into the blogging mindset I can crank out several posts in one session. Then I don't have to think about blogging for several more days. I can focus on other projects. It's a useful way to manage your time, and since you're working ahead, you have a bit of a cushion when life gets in the way of blogging.

2. Set a realistic schedule - Some bloggers update daily, but I've found that my own preference is once every few days. Readers don't forget about my blog, and I don't go crazy trying to come up with a new post every day. I suspect many of you with busy lives would have trouble keeping up with daily posts anyway. Sticking to a blogging schedule is helpful. It gets you into a rhythm. However, it's also important to be realistic about posting frequency so you don't push yourself too hard and get frustrated.

3. Use peer pressure - Some people enlist the help of a blogging buddy or a small group to keep them accountable and cheer them on. They commit to a group blog where they are only responsible for posting once a week or even once a month. Another option is to join in blogfests. It creates a deadline with a specific topic to aid you in blogging and keep you motivated.

4. Create a backlog - Revisit old posts and ideas. That way if you get stuck, you can update your ideas or flesh out new examples from your old posts. Also, in addition to #1, whenever I get an idea for a blog post, I start a draft in Word, even if I don't have time to write the whole thing. That way I don't worry about forgetting the idea and have some posts waiting in the wings when things get busy or I'm feeling uninspired.

5. Keep it simple - Remember, blog posts don't have to be long or in-depth. A post could be as simple as a photo with an inspirational quote or a YouTube video embedded with a quick caption underneath. It could be a short paragraph with a link to something you've written or an article someone else wrote that you found particularly interesting. It could be a Q & A with someone you admire or a roundup of links from your blog. Or it could be a guest post from another blogger. There are many ways to post an update without spending hours at your keyboard. Vary up the length and format to see what appeals most to your readers.

Do you struggle with posting consistently? Please share how you maintain momentum on your own blog.


Susan Oloier said...

Great tips, Sylvia. I am like you, I just blog about what comes to mind. Although, I have maintained a consistent theme to blog about on Mondays and Fridays.

J.L. Campbell said...

Writing is advance is a good idea, for people like me who are pressed for time. I just need to get around to doing it. I do get ideas from blog posts I wrote a while back, so that helps. Good tips - thanks.

Lindz Pagel said...

Great tips!

Aimée Jodoin said...

Wow, I do all of those things, except maybe #3. I write most of my posts in advance, but all those silly short ones are when I don't have anything prepared and I don't have time to say something interesting... :)

Unknown said...

I read this post earlier and meant to comment but hadn't had the time but, because of this post I've been thinking all day about how to make my blogging easier. I think I'm going to try the batch blogging idea. Thank you!

Kari Marie said...

These are helpful links. I especially agree with #5. I think we often forget a post doesn't have to be a 300 word discussion. It can be a writing prompt or a thoughtful quote. Sometimes it's better to KISS. I've set up my schedule so I can write my posts on the weekends. I know I've got the time to commit to writing them.

The Sisterhood said...

Since I just started blogging in the fall, it is really helpful to be part of a group blog with three other writers. We each have a schedule to post and we only have to do it once a month, which gives us plenty of time to think about what we're going to write, revise it, etc. I admire bloggers that post with more frequency. (I imagine it becomes easier with time.) I'll keep these tips in mind. Thanks, Sylvia!


Paula Martin said...

I'm in a group blog with 4 other writers (Heroines with Hearts). We decide a month in advance what the topics we're going to have each week and then we all have our own approinted day. It's worked for 18 months now and we still keep coming up with new topics, all related to some aspect of writing. I find some topics easy, while others are a real challenge and make me think hard! It's fascinating to get the others' insights into the topics too.
I've just revived my personal blog and am trying to get into the habit of posting something new each Sunday.

Marianne (Mare) Baker Ball said...

just found your blog, it is very helpful! Thanks for all the tips and encouragement! New follower!