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Open Book: Is Blogging Overrated?

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment

After blogging for a couple of years now, I am wondering if blogging is overrated.  Yes, as a writer, you would think that this process is a no brainer and enjoyable.  But in truth, it steals time from my day, from my other writing and reading, and although pleasurable, may or may not be all that productive from a return on investment viewpoint.

In another blog written not long ago (http://www.corichu.com/blog/2011/08/22/create-blog-written/), I took the position that blogging is an activity that helps a new writer.  The blog is free self promotion, a foundation for building a loyal fan base when that first novel gets published.

I was struggling last week to come up with something worthy of writing.  I realize that “worthy” is subjective, but I wouldn’t want to read a blog if I didn’t expect to come away with a new idea, a different point of view, or at least a bit of humor.  Geesh, my time is worth something…and that’s what this blog is all about.  Is blogging overrated?  Am I getting something out of my time investment? 

Blog posts are not quick, easy breezy well-written snippets. I think more  like a journalist; someone who reports or makes sense out of a series of facts.  I just happened to pick the topic of writing, but I could be writing a blog about baseball fashion or nutrition, or focus on the aging baby boomer body.  I read other writing blogs, who have covered the grammar topic, the how-to topics very thoughtfully and thoroughly and wonder if I should just make this blog a series of great links that I found.  After all, the nuts and bolts of the writing process doesn’t change enough to warrant me to re-invent the wheel just because I can’t think of something to publish in my blog. 

Blogging pressure can be annoying. Besides, even though I write fairly quickly (and I do have opinions), I find that I just can’t  spew out anything that comes to mind.  I have to have a topic that I find interesting, come up with an outline, and then research the fine points.  All this is time consuming.  I don’t write my blog because I have a passion for it, and certainly I don’t like that I am adding to more deadlines on my to-do list.  Even though this is self induced, it is nevertheless annoying and pressure.

Marketing component. Also, what people fail to realize is a blog is a product.  Like any product to get the readership up, there is a marketing component.  If you create a blog, how many hours do you expect to spend reading, commenting and linking to other blogs….other social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter?

More time consumed? I hear that we are a nation of non-readers.  I can hardly believe that, but if it is true, then the vlog (video blogging) is the next big marketing platform.  And how much time are you going to invest in vlogging when blogging becomes passe? 

Money making blogs. If you are blogging because you think you are going to make money from affiliate programs, realize this venture has its own pecularities.  First, you will need a great niche…one that will have pull, even when you skip a few days.  (A good example is a celebrity watch blog.) Second, be prepared.  This as a full time job, even though it seems like a part time occupation—one that insidiously steals your time from you.  Third, Technorati reports that only about 10 percent of blogs are money producers.  Some are wildly successful, but most are not making more than $20K a year.  I have been reading about the success stories.  They are inspiring. 

Final Thoughts.  Eh, am I still going to blog?  Yup, I am. I don’t know why though.  It seems to boil down to my need to share.  I am on Facebook and Twitter, but for some reason I don’t post often. 

You will have to weigh the pros and cons for yourself.  Just remember what you devote to this activity usurps the time on another writing project, with the family, with friends or another activity.

Light bulb moment!  Hmmm, maybe I should be sharing and getting paid for it? LOL

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Open Book: Quick Ways to Get Your Blog Read

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment

The writer…the teacher…the marketing guru in you emerges in a spanking  new blog.

I was told that if you write, the followers will come.  True to some degree; however, your success will be measurably better if you write coherently and have something interesting to share (your opinion or some newsworthy mention).   Well written blogs may not always be successful blogs.  It certainly helps, but writing skill needs more to get follower retention.

To increase your followers, here are easy ways to get the word out:

1.  Your blog address is now as important as your name and phone number  in your marketing materials.  Blog address should appear on everything from business cards, signature email address, and stationary — everything printed.

2.  Write as if you were talking to your best friend.  Your voice should be conversational, but to appeal to the widest spectrum of people, refrain from using street language.

3.  Write about something that interests you.  Blogging is not a sprint, but more like a cross country run.  Pace yourself.  Don’t start off with writing a blog daily, because you will burn out.  (If this is a journal or a record of your daily musings or your day job, this might not be such a chore.)  Writing about something your passionate about comes through in the writing.

4.  Be consistent about your blog entries.  Once a week?  Twice a week?   Just think about your followers.  Would you want to read a daily blog everyday, when so many other things compete with your time?  It is best to be consistent, say maybe on a Tuesday and or Thursday.  ( Mondays are horrible, because everyone starts Monday morning with a slew of emails from the weekend.)  Too much is annoying… too little and your followers may totally forget you. 

Bottom line: Post regularly.  Two a week is minimal to help establish an affinity to you.

Blogging Tip: If you love writing blogs, store your extra blog entries, because you may not have time or go on vacation or you will have a brain freeze one day.

5.  Boring blogs don’t attract readers. Interesting ones grow by word of mouth. 

6.  Your blog entries should be more than a litany of  other people’s links.  They want to know about you and what you know that can help them make their life easier…or humorous enough that for a split moment they forget their lives totally.

7.  Comment on other similar blogs, maybe referring to a blog you wrote on the topic.  From you blog, include links to them and ask them to link back to you.

8.  Register with blog directories, so that people searching for your topic will find you.  (ie. technorati.com)  Link to your facebook page, your twitter account.

9.  Bookmark your posts on digg.com, yahoo.com, del.icio.us.com, reddit.com and stumbleupon.com.

Okay, after reading this blog, I realize that it has taken me 15 minutes to collect my thoughts and notes, another 30 minutes to write it, and maybe another 30 minutes to promote the blog using my suggestions.  Just saying, if you want to get the most out of blogging, you will be investing about 2 hours give or take each time.