I've been blogging for a month and am taking a decidedly organic approach by writing about whatever issues are on my mind. This may be a bit scattershot, but it's natural to me and I am beginning to formulate thoughts about what will make the blog successful. Here are 5 things I've learned in creating an effective blog.
1. Find a Common Voice
My A.D.D. tendencies are apparent. I'm writing about a variety of topics that range from "helpful tips," to strategic perspective to personal anecdotes. It's only a matter of time before I locate the thread that will yield a common voice. I welcome comments from anyone who has a viewpoint on this.
2. Experimentation is Good
I'm experimenting with sticking with a theme for several posts, with the potential of developing a longer piece if the writing opens up possibilities. Last week, I wrote a couple of posts about Taglines, an area in which we've been successful. The week before, I experimented with a humorous piece about my favorite TV show, Mad Men. Assessing the blog every month or so will begin to yield some patterns in both theme and style.
3. Ignore the Void
I remember, in the early years of RainCastle, we won a prestigious award for a website. I found myself walking up to the stage to receive our award in front of an audience of over 1000 people. When I got to the podium and looked out, I was blinded by the lights and could see nobody. It was totally disorienting to speak to the void, a bit like a dream. Blog writing is "the void," at first. Best advice is to ignore that. This is probably good because I'll use this time to find my common voice.
4. Authenticity is Hard
Bloggers I know recommend that I look at a lot of blogs to get a feel for the language and content of established bloggers. This is useful - to a point. There are so many blogs about the web, social media, design, marketing and branding, it can be overwhelming. If you spend too much time looking, you can lose whatever is unique about your own perspective. I tend to study other blogs for tone and style and less for content. Starting a blog reminds me of when I began my graphic design career. I used to pour over Communication Arts (CA), which at the time was the designer publication cum-Bible. I noticed pretty quickly that I was starting to use CA as a crutch and stopped looking at it. Authenticity is hard. The only way to create original work or write meaningful posts is by doing the work yourself.
5. Be Aware
Writing a blog has been great so far for making me more aware of what's going on around me. Once you accept the discipline of writing, you're compelled to think more deeply about things, to work through a notion and determine if it's worthy of becoming a conclusion. I don't think you need to have an editorial calendar for ablog, but I am finding it helpful to write down one-line thoughts that are sparked from client interactions, events or conversations.
For any bloggers out there, can you share what you've learned about writing an effective blog?
For you blog readers, what makes you keep coming back to a blog?