Friday, June 25, 2010
In this case, however, I firmly believe that people aren't sure about why they need to blog. Let's look at the common reasons, and why they are terribly flawed.
Everybody Does It
That's the reason most people use. They aren't sure why they are doing it, but they don't want to be the person who isn't. They are possibly doing more damage than good, because they are demonstrating to readers, the few that find the blog, that they have nothing to say or can't say it well. Bad reason to start blogging. Try again.
I Can Demonstrate My Writing
This is better than the reason above, but why should people buy the milk when they have free access to the cow? A sample on a website is one thing, but giving your work away several times a week dilutes the need for customers to purchase your work. Try again.
I Can Show People Who I Am
Blogs give readers access to the writer. But are you accomplished enough for anyone to care who the heck you are? Because you write does not make you a celebrity. Not these days when every Tom, Dick and Harry can publish a book. I was taught in a writing class to ask the question, "Who cares?" when I write. The same applies here. Try again.
The Real Purpose of a Blog
Your job as a writer is to serve the public, offering readers something they can put in their pocket and take home. Readers need to want to come to your site, to see what you have to offer THEM. Doling up another short story you wrote the night before is not for them . . . it's for you. It's hard to put your finger on the blog content that counts as material readers deem worthy.
I was once told by a reader that my blog stunk - back when I wrote about me. Ouch. So I slept on it and changed the nature of my blog after studying what draws people to a blog. I learned after a while of soul searching that a good blog consists of:
1. Something that aids the reader. The impression you are there to serve.
2. Good writing with personality. Readers don't need another diary.
3. The sense that the next blog post can't be missed because it might be better than the current one.
Write with Pizzazz
Instill the Urgent Need to Return
Agents, publishers and editors see a blog as a platform and marketing tool. They want to see that you have the ability to reach the population, grip them, and keep them. Does your blog pass the test?