Friday, June 8, 2012

To Blog Or Not To Blog, Is That The Question?

Writers have been busy building blogs, platforms and improving their marketing skills but some are reaching a decision time. The fever pitch with which they have been operating under is causing them to drop like flies is taking its toll.

            To post blogs 2 or 3 times a week, or not, that is the question.

Well respected Anne R. Allen came out the other day and talked about slow-blogging where you blog less but be sure you have a good post when you do. Quality always wins over quantity, but does that mean we should give up trying to build/create a blog people want to visit by decreasing our presence with less blogs?

Do we want to throw our hands up and say, see—Anne Allen thinks we should slow blog, so now I have the perfect excuse to give up I’m going to stop trying so hard.

Stop for a moment, writers. Think what it is you want and how you plan on getting there. Was KristenLamb wrong when she said we need to blog 2 or 3 times a week to build brand? I know I decided months ago that I couldn’t write 3 blogs in a week; that was too much for me. But even with 2 blogs a week, I still can’t find time to write on my own writing projects, so maybe Anne is right. 

Or, am I still learning to effectively use my time learning to write quicker, smarter, more creatively? Is there a learning curve here and should I keep on blogging at 2 times a week?

I wanted to have the perfect solution for you so I could appear smart and amaze you. I don’t have the answer; I only have the answer for me—for today.

I know this subject is going to raise a lot of discussion so I dipped into the electic cool-aid and found a video that might help us put blogging into perspective. It is about mind, quantum physics and what we create from the top scientists and thinkers who have given this subject much exploration and thought.  It might help. 

Thoughts to consider:
  • Do you write blog posts that take too long to write, and no one wants to read because they gag because when they see all those words (tighly packed together with no space between paragraphs)?
  • Have you found your voice?
  • Should you write one blog a month (and still not have found your voice), only now no one comes around any more to even read that one blog?
  • Do you drive people away with short, meaningless posts?
  • Do people stop coming around because you have nothing to say but you keep blogging the same things anyway?
  • Should you keep blogging to find your voice, your audience, your own subject matter that will matter?
  • Has all your blogging time been building a following? So should you make a change or keep doing what you are doing?

Your comments might help us all make up our minds or at least reach a temporary solution, so comment away. Your opinion is valuable.


Jodi Lea Stewart said...

Cora, again you bring to us a subject that piques our interest and stirs up an emotional response. I believe many of us are at the blog-intensity crossroad. I, for one, have much to mull and decide. Am I any different from others building their social media platform when I say I want to work smarter and not harder? Surely not. We've been into the blogging world (some of us) about six months. It only stands to reason that it's time to evaluate and decide our blogging strengths, weaknesses and future direction.

Cora said...

Exactly! I am doing the same thing. Thanks for commenting.

Sunny Frazier said...

Okay, here's my take.

I refuse to have a personal blog. When I guest blog, I want it to be an event. I KNOW I have something important to say and the blog site owners know it too. I'm sought after to do blogs. I pick and choose where I'm going to get the most bang for my words. Absence makes the heart grow stronger and holding off on blogging makes people interested to hear what I have to say.

I'm controversial. I open up topics some would rather remain off-limits. I call people out. My voice is strong, funny, caustic and informative. I don't do blog tours because not only do I not want to wear myself out, I don't want to wear out my welcome.

I don't have time to read blogs that don't expand my awareness of the writing industry. I don't send my Posse over to blogs that waste their time. Time is the most precious and limited commodity for all of us. While the Internet has expanded communication, there's a whole lot of nothing being said. (I feel the same way about cell phones, but that's a whole other topic).

So, thanks bloggers for the pretty pictures, the info on your favorite hobby, your family insights but I don't need them and I don't have time. I'm on the fast track but I'm taking it slow.

Lorna Collins - said...

I blog, but only once a month. Otherwise, I'd never get to my WIP. For me, that's enough!

Carrie Daws said...

I'm still blogging three times a week, but the vast majority of my blogs are audience specific. I'm working to build a following of people who have or will read my books. Other than the every-other-Friday book review I do on a book within my genre, it's rare that a blog I write doesn't mention some event or character within my books. I'm even now creating mini-stories that amplify my books that post on alternating Fridays from the book reviews.

I know this won't draw a large crowd right now and it doesn't interest a lot of writers. I'm okay with that. There are certainly a lot more authors out there that know lots more about writing or publishing than I do. That's not my purpose. My purpose is to connect with my readers. I want them to see the heart behind the writing.

I've thought about going back to twice a week. But ... I don't know. I think that's more about my laziness or my busyness than what I'm really supposed to do.

Anonymous said...

I think it's incredibly important for any bit of writing to do a few things, and this goes to blogging as well.

--It has to be of interest to the readers. So the audience needs to be targeted.

--It should engage the readers so they're not just passively reading but mentally engaged and excited or even angry or joyfyl. When that happens, they'll react and respond, and once they respond, they have buy in. I think this does what Sunny is talking about above.

Anyway, this particular blog is great to my mind because it does those things.

So slow blogging? If the choice is between active engagement and volume, I'd go with active engagement, but this might be a false dilemma.

--John Brantingham, author of Mann of War forthcoming from Oak Tree Press.

Marja said...

I blog once a week, and that works for me. Sometimes I blog about writing, and other times I blog about characters or situations or whatever strikes me at the time, but I try (for the most part) to keep it entertaining. This week I blogged about animals in books. Maybe not everyone is interested, but it was entertaining. I'd like my blogs to reach readers and writers.

I figure out blogs are a place to showcase our talents and style. Works for me.

Stephen L. Brayton said...

I don't mind reading a weekly blog. In fact, on the different sites where I post my weekly blog, I always take time to look at other members acheck out their postings if they have any of interest. Weekly is good. Weekly at about the same time/day. For instance I usually post Fridays, but I posted Thursday because I knew my schedule would be cramped. Weekly is good because it gives you time to have a quality type posting. I've seen daily stuff that is nothing more than an extended Facebook posting. There's nothing of substance.

Shalanna said...

I have been blogging for some time now, and mostly that has been on a personal journal-style blog. I haven't ever posted daily the way some people have recommended, and some weeks I don't post three times. Still, because I've done some back-and-forth commenting, I've garnered a following on LiveJournal. Now what I'm doing is professional-novelist blogging, which means I'll have more sanitized and standardized content.

I've made friends this way. I have bought these people's books and have attended their signings. They dang well better reciprocate when NICE WORK comes out, or I'll put a curse on their toenails. Well, only a LITTLE one. But still.

What you must have in order to keep people coming back is:
Unique or personalized content. If you know most of your readers are also writers, for example, you blog about craft and what you've learned. If you know they're filmgoers, you talk about film past and present. Sometimes you can interest people in some aspect of your personal life or personal philosophy. But you have to have content that is NOT "buy my book" or "my book just came out." This type of advertorial (advertising/editorial) stuff is eventually going to turn people off and even make them hostile. I've dropped a few blogs because the authors would go on and on about their book tours and their books and would post the SAME cover for weeks on end. Sheesh! Is this an Amway convention or a friendly discussion?

You must also have a voice. Now, I have TOO MUCH voice--voice to spare--voice that is so distinctive that my teachers used to be able to pick out my essays from a stack, that it charms some and grates upon others, that is sometimes Benchleyesque and sometimes more like Dorothy Parker. (I only wish I could be Bradburyesque.) But I prefer to write in my own voice. If I flattened it all out the way some recommend that I do, I wouldn't be proud of it because it would be in the No-Style Style and it would no longer be something I'd want to read. Write what you like to read, and birdies of a feather will flock there.

Give them a freebie or a Fun Fact fairly often. What I mean by this is--give a writing prompt; post a snippet you are working on; ask them to tell you which is scarier (sharks, nuns with rulers, lawyers) so that you can choose a horrible thing for your heroine; tell them about William Howard Taft getting stuck in the White House bathtub; talk about how you believe Jimi Hendrix is the greatest rock guitarist ever (Eddie Van Halen being second, and George Harrison a very VERY respectable third) and ask if anyone out there now can compare; give links to cool videos or websites that tell you how to do arcane magic. Something like that. Something they don't get everywhere else.

A photo or one of your sketches now and then can be a cool accent. I haven't tried a travel photo blog, but those can really be fun. Hogs the space and the screen, though.

Just don't do boring stuff such as "I just ate a taco" the way they do on Twitter. I don't even look at Twitter most days because ugh. Facebook is better. I need to remember to hoosh up our OTP page more often.

Publish or perish! *click*

Cora said...

I think you hit on an important point--targeting your audience. After all, if we hope to use a blog to sell books, then we need to go after the interests of the audience we seek, or in some way engage them.
Thanks for commenting.

Cora said...

Thanks for your thorough comments (I'm taking notes on your blogging ideas-very cool).

Regarding book tours and book blogs, I have to agree, I'm turned off by repeated pushing of books. The only way I buy a book from reading a blog is if the blog reveals the voice of the blogger and it is one I'm interested in--or the subject matter is of interest to me and through the blog I surmise the writer will have a good product.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tami Clayton said...

I find that I only read blogs that either entertain me or provide me with some useful information (these days that's usually writing related or a topic that somehow relates to my WIP). I still haven't found a clear focus for my blog yet and I'm mostly o.k. with that right now. I've decided blogging twice a week is my minimum and if I have something to post about for a third, then I'll do that. I don't want blogging to be a stressful thing but sometimes I find that I'm more initimately involved in my blog than my WIP. Still trying to find that balance...

Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

I blog once a week. My readers can count on the fact that I will post either an article I've written (pertaining to writing) or an interview with another writer (to help promote them and their books).
I appreciate being interviewed by other writers on their blogs and, sometimes, my blog is my way of "paying it back." And sometimes, it's my way of "paying it forward."

Anonymous said...

I'm of the "quality over quantity" mind. I don't have a personal blog but I frequently guest blog. Now that my book's been out for a while I say less about my book up front and more about other topics that might interest readers and writers. I skip over people who blog constantly everywhere or FaceBook daily about what they ate for dinner. I don't want my time wasted and I don't want to waste other people's time. Let's make our blog posts count!
Sally Carpenter

Kat Hinkson said...

I'm not a blogger yet. I read blogs that interest or teach. My time is spent either writing or dealing with personal things,and don't have time to waste on blogs that go nowhere. I strongly believe that in todays worlds none of us have the time to waste with fluff.

Kat Hinkson said...

One silly question, Who watched the full video?

Anonymous said...

I also changed up my blogging pattern recently, because of the above article and another one. Instead, I'm posting every 3 days. That works out to 5 posts in 2 weeks instead of 6. I strictly limit myself to under 500 words -- if I see myself going over, I prune. I also limit myself to doing the post in under an hour.

But I'm also experimenting with list posts and link posts. I hated the mashups KL recommended. To do them once a week took longer than it did to write a 500 word post. I had to hunt down the links, or the videos, and that was just plain time consuming. Much better for me was to do one link post in a month. For lists posts, those are easy to brainstorm out, and I can also do one once a month.

An editorial calendar has been enormously helpful. I have about 25 posts planned out, and I can easily shuffle them around if I see a title that doesn't feel ready. However, an editorial calendar only works if you've nailed your brand. I tried one a few years ago when I was brandless, and it wasn't the least bit helpful.

Barbara Forte Abate said...

I just keep trying to find my pace. Lately it's been REALLY difficult to keep on task and write the posts that are left hanging around in my head, since I haven't had time to actually write them. There are some great comments and suggestions up there over my head and this post presents some honest and thought provoking questions. I'd like to up my productivity, but until I figure out how to manufacture 72 hour days, it continues to be a struggle :-(

Mike Schulenberg said...

When I launched my blog in March, I was able to do three posts a week, but that got derailed when I moved back to Texas. Now that I'm back in school, there's no way I can keep doing that. For now I'm going to try to stick to a schedule of one good post a week, and if I can manage a second post that week, I'll do it. But if I can't, I'm going to try not to sweat it too much. I need to get back in the groove for my WIP, and I also have school now, so I can't blog as much as I was before.

Cora said...

You see my log line under my name--drinking the eclectic cool-aid? That would mean I did. Anyone else? I have no idea:))

Lesley A. Diehl said...

Voice in my blog is important to me, so when I'm writing the blog and not interviewing others or hosting another blogger on it, I try to use my signature voice, humorous with the country gal slant to engage my audience. This way I can write on writing or include an anecdote about my life-both alert the reader to what they can expect from my books.

Augie said...

Cora, thank you for the video, yes I did listen to the entirety, but I had a problem relating blogging to the conscious mind---unless what we say or think should be that writing is the unconscious mind meeting with the conscious mind and producing relative information that would benefit someone else.

Cora said...

Thank you, Augie, for considering the video.

My thoughts about it are that if all is consciousness, then there are only the limitations we put on ourselves - through our mind (through which our consciousness flows). My question is, can we blog as many as 2 or 3 times a week, if that is what we feel we need to do, to build our marketing reach and still have time to maintain all the other social media connections and still have time to write on WIP? (and have a life)

Are we looking at our limitations as permanent or can we develop the ability in ourselves to be more effective and work faster? I think we can, I just haven't found the ability to do that yet. Some people have. I'm not even sure we must. ?????

Elaine Smothers said...

I'm still trying to find balance in pretty much every area of life right now and it's proving difficult. Slow blogging and the idea of quality over quantity really resonates with me, though and if I can get over my current blogging slump, I hope to shoot for 2 posts a week. If I only manage one, I'm not going to beat myself up over it. This week though, I didn't write any, and am being a bit hard on myself.

Cora said...

Always be patient with yourself, anything else leads to stress and you don't need stress when trying to be creative. We will all work it out--or we won't, but stress only makes it worse.