Key Questions for Bloggers

This post has been updated and republished in The Who, What, Where and When of Blogging.

 

Your writing focus can be easily lost when things you have yet to do are on your mind. Most often, there is no way to get those things out of your mind so you can concentrate on content creation unless you organize them and schedule them.  Likewise your writing focus can also be easily lost if you get caught up in social networking unless you organize, create a schedule and stick to it.

Read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and convince yourself of the value of scheduling your blogging.  The best promotion and the best chance of success you can give yourself is to publish quality work on a regular basis.  As Pressfield says, “It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write”.

Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. — M. Scott Peck

Only when you value your time and invest it wisely will you be free to

  • write freely about what you have a passion for;
  • write freely about what you have professional experience or expertise in;
  • write freely about  something you’ve learned and want to teach to others;
  • write freely about something new you are doing.

Connecting

Part of the appeal of blogging is that it’s personal and interactive. Knowing who your audience is and what they want is the key to developing quality content. Once you know your audience you have a focus for your writing and social networking activity.  Instead of thinking each day, “What should I blog about today?” you will have the beginnings of a blogging plan.

The key is in not spending time, but in investing it. — Stephen R. Covey

Who are you writing for?

For your blog to be successful, you must fulfill the needs and expectations of your target audience. Identifying who you are writing for will help you focus your content and what you can do to address their needs and wants.

  1. How would you describe the type of readers you hope to attract?
  2. What do you know about the writing and reading skills and backgrounds of the type of readers you hope to attract?
  3. What is most important to them?
  4. What are they least likely to care about?
  5. What do you want them to think, learn, or assume about you?
  6. What impression do you want your writing to convey to them?

Where is your audience?

Social Media is  a fusion of sociology and technology, that transforms one-to-one communication  into one-to-many communication.  If you’re new social media I recommend Social Media and Social Networking Plain and Simple.

People of all ages use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus — their interaction is an integral part of their social and business lives. If  you connect and interact with your audience by using the social networking sites and tools they are using, then with a single click or tap they can share this with their entire network of friends.

7. How much time do you have to locate similar sites and comment meaningfully (daily, weekly, monthly)?
8.  Where are your desired readers currently gathering online?
9.  What opportunities do those locations offer for you to build your presence there?
10.  How much time do you have to promote your blog via social networking (daily, weekly, monthly)?

You will never “find” time for anything. If you want time, you must make it. –  Charles Bruxton

What is your publishing schedule?

The more organized you are, the better you manage your time, and the more effective you can become. Whether you use Google calendar, a wall calendar, a whiteboard, or a day planner – you need a place to schedule your date-sensitive information. Consider a spreadsheet template that lets you print out a planner page for every day of the year, or make one with lots or room for notes.

Set your goals for the month.  Decide how frequently you intend to publish on a weekly basis, and determine the tasks  necessary to achieve them.  Prioritize the tasks.  Create a timeline schedule allowing for the time you need for research,  content creation, commenting and social networking. Add a little “padding” to your timeline and avoid leaving the writing of a blog post until the day it’s due to be published. Try to be at least a day ahead of schedule, so when the unexpected happens you still make your schedule.

Related posts:
6 Traits of Successful Bloggers
8 Tips for Effective Blogging
Better Blogging: Powerful, Persuasive Writing 
Top 5 Informative Writing Tips for Bloggers

28 thoughts on “Key Questions for Bloggers

  1. Love this piece – have shared it to read again later and spread to others :) I too really like the M. Scott Peck quote – so very apt! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience with us. I’ve only just started blogging and reading posts such as this really do inspire and motivate me to keep going.

  2. i am also an introvert,especially with people i dont know.but afterwords i can become quite the opposite,and the blog helps a lot!some posts more than others can get a lot of audience and my followers can now chat among them selves!!!

  3. Timethief, I have a question that I haven’t seen asked before, but it probably has been… any ideas for how slightly more “introverted” people might come to terms with interacting/commenting etc on other people’s blogs…and how, during periods of times of feeling quieter or more pensive, how to not lose connections among fellow bloggers. I notice that when I’m a bit less interactive, people seem to not come around as much. (although it might be other people’s loss of interest in the posts, not the lack of my interacting) I love to read, study, create”pages,” ponder, reflect, share ideas I come up with with others…but I feel fragmented when I go to lots of blogs and try to keep up with so many ideas etc…even though they’re wonderful.

    So, the question…ummm….hard to figure out what it is… do you think it’s possible to be a blogger, with content that people come to view and that hopefully is of interest and value to others, without being out there in the blogging world in an ongoing, outgoing manner.

    I do add posts to reddit and usually get a significant number of views (a lot ) from there, but I don’t have a sense of what that’s about. And I don’t use facebook…a bit too much for me there. Does this question make any sense to you? I’m having trouble putting it into words.

    • Hi there,

      do you think it’s possible to be a blogger, with content that people come to view and that hopefully is of interest and value to others, without being out there in the blogging world in an ongoing, outgoing manner.

      Yes! I hear you. I too am an introvert. Though blogging has brought me out more this is as far as I am willing to go. I work and this last year I have struggled to make the time to blog. I even considered packing it in due to stress and lack of time.

      I don’t have a Facebook account. I don’t spend hours promoting my posts. I love the followers I have and I treasure every comment.

      I have pensive times too. I read many posts but only comment on a few. It’s the way I work. I read a post and want to think about it before commenting. I read the comments and only post one if I feel I have something meaningful to say. I may get lost in my thoughts on a theme in a post I read for days or even weeks and not comment at all but that doesn’t mean the post I read was not valuable – it means quite the opposite!

      When I began blogging there were only a few bloggers. These days it seems everyone is blogging. As we blog for pleasure I think it makes sense that we remain free to blog in our own way.

      • Oh, thank you so much for replying and for sharing your experience and ideas. Your ideas are so helpful…and I’m so relieved that I’m not the only one with such reflections, ponderings, delays etc… I had no idea there were others like that….thank you so much. I did a screen capture of your response and will print it and put it somewhere where I can see and reflect on it..and maybe learn to become more relaxed and comfortable about “ways” I “am” or “seem to be”……thank you so much….kathy

        • Hi again,
          Though we are both introverted we are different. I sense that you are shy and gentle. I’ve never been shy. I have always been awkward. I tend to blurt out stuff without thinking things through when I’m emotional, so I am learning to guard my words very carefully lest I offend. You are a dear blogging friend. I love you just as you are and I like your blog very much too. Its content and your style are unique and it takes courage to share acquired wisdom. Though you may feel pressured to conform I don’t think you should try to be anyone other than who you are and to blog in any way that does not suit you. “To think own self be true”.

      • Thank you for that additional reassurance… I really appreciate your ideas. Yes, I tend to be a bit shy and gentle…but quietly friendly when I’m comfortable. It has taken tremendous courage to post the pages and ideas that I share…I do it in case there might be others who are having some confusions etc….or happinesses…and who might relate to ideas or gain some benefit from them.

        I have a deep and sincere inner commitment to only post ideas, or pages I make, that are very meaningful to me on each particular day that I post them. Due to that, I never know what I might post, or even whether I will post on any particular day…it’s spontaneous and unplanned. It’s a strange sense to wonder if there will be posts/creating “pages” that day or the next…or whether the impetus will arise or maybe even go away…it’s like being part of a mystery…or a mysterious process… I don’t know where it comes from…but it seems to come when it does. Thank you again so much for your ideas and reassurance…I’m filled with appreciation. kathy

        • Hi Kathy,
          I just spent some time in your blog again. The concepts and themes you explore speak to me and inspire me. Thanks so much for being you and doing what you do.
          Love,
          TiTi

  4. I saw you were trying to help someone in the forum http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/blog-post-not-publishing?replies=10#post-878605
    I am having the same issue with my posts saying they are published and then not showing up under the Reader so no one sees them. I tried the one bloggers (raincoaster) suggestion to “Go to your Dashboard->Settings->Writing and select “WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML” and save. Then go to Dashboard->Posts and set all your most recent posts to Draft. Then make them Public again. That should fix the HTML errors, and that might make the posting issue go away.”
    It did not work. I have been looking all over your blog to see if you had a suggestion, but have not been able to find one. Do you know how else to try to fix this issue. Any help on this forum we would greatly apperciate. Thanks :)

  5. Thanks for the great blog. I really like the emphasis around getting organized, using time wisely and analyzing and targeting the audience….business like approach. Well written.

    • I’m so glad you approve of the content. My schedule was “shot all to hell” when the last pinepple express took out the power twice, etc. and I still haven’t caught up yet. Advice: leave some flexible time spots in your schedule. :)

  6. I read the excerpt from Pressfield’s The War Of Art– it was like a physical kick in the head. His image of Resistance as this implacable, impersonal force that never sleeps, that’s always working to prevent our doing any sort of creative work– that’s an image that’s going to stay with me. It’s easier to fight an enemy you can see, even if it’s only a mental image.

    The M. Scott Peck quote was very powerful as well. Great post, TT, thanks!

    • How interesting to find we had the same response to Pressfield’s The War Of Art. Previous to reading it I didn’t have an mental image of Resistance and now I do.

      “Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard or smelled. But it can be felt. It is experienced as a force field emanating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its intention is to shove the creator away, distract him, sap his energy, incapacitate him. … Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.”

      I am my own tough love parent encouraging myself to overcome Resistance and create.

  7. Pingback: Don’t Let The Perfect Become The Enemy | Libdrone's Thoughts and Musings

  8. 1.How would you describe the type of readers you hope to attract?
    I only hope that minimally it will occasionally attract readers who share the same interests reflected in the blog. Or at least, they want to learn/see something new about the world.

    2.What do you know about the writing and reading skills and backgrounds the type of readers you hope to attract?
    Admittedly I have not paid attention to varying literacy levels of potential readers. Sometimes my writing style is too convoluted. However I must off-set this a bit for some eye-catching personal photos.

    3.What is most important to them? I’m not sure, I wish more readers would tell me. I did do s mini poll among my readers: the majority didn’t care about the topic but tended to be drawn to any posts that was well-written. I’m probably not paying attention to the fact that some readers have busy lives (like I do at times) and perhaps I should shorten my posts. Again, they can content themselves looking at my photos with my um…somewhat occasional longer captions. That’s partially why I do have longer captions.

    4.What are they least likely to care about? My longer photo captions. :D But really I don’t know what they care the least.

    5.What do you want them to think, learn, or assume about you? Minimally I would like my readers to be aware that I am Canadian and born in Canada…that has a powerful influence on my life experiences, my worldview and who I have met so far in life. I am aware of this because I am addressing an international audience and even when I comment on non-North American blogs, I should be dimly aware of my biases.

    My life has been enriched by face to face cross-cultural and bilingual experiences. I do write in this area without using the term “intercultural” nor cross-cultural but several of my blog posts integrate through some topics, a life that is cross-cultural with a strong Canadian lens. Might be hard to see initially on the cycling side, but you’ll see it under topics of art, food, travel.

    6.What impression do you want your writing to convey to them? The world offers alot to learn and the most ordinary things can be conveyed anew to someone else who doesn’t see the same daily things because they live over 3,000 km away in a totally different culture. More than ever, I want my writing to reach out in breadth of audience, to those with genuinely good intentions.

    • Dear Jean,
      You do such a great job of providing honest answers. I am a fan of your photos and happen to like your photo captions a lot. Perhaps they could be a tiny bit shorter. Please do not shorten your posts – I love them because you develop them so well. If you are into it you could occasionally create and publish shorter ones in between the longer ones though. Your aim of reaching those with good intentions resonates for me.

  9. What a helpful and important post! You are so right that we as writers and bloggers can too easily overlook the importance of audience–and the value that comes with appreciating the importance of who you are and what you bring to the process–not to mention how you manage your time. Thanks so much!
    Kathy

  10. Great questions! I run more of a personal blog, so I’m rather lax about things like networking, but lately I have been wanting to challenge myself to step it up a bit so I’m not just writing something in 5 minutes- rather, developing my skills and finding an audience that appreciates it.

    Thanks!

    • Hello there,
      Thanks so much for your feedback. I intend to become more organized this year and I have heard from some of my readers that they also intend to be more organized too. Best wishes to you.

  11. Great blogging questions to consider Timethief. I love the interaction and connection both blogging and social media afford. Learning about our readers and understanding the way they view our content and delivery is important for the success of our blog. We all see ourselves differently than most people see us and that shows through loud and clear in our writing. We just have to listen closely and pay attention to comments and other interaction.

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