What happened to storytelling, to writing a narrative? One Blogger asked this question in a recent post about the direction of blogging. She’d come across a blogger recommending other bloggers attract more readers by offering their readers useful advice:
…figure out what our unique niche is and paint ourselves as an authority, offering them something every time you ask for something back.thesnowmeltssomewhere
List Format Blog Posts and Finding Your Blogging Tribe
Do you write advice posts or entertaining ones? Is the goal, for the reader, to find info that makes life a little easier for them? After all, home hints and time-saving tips are generous, giving and sought after by many. And yet, Snow suggests list-style formats are not so dissimilar from TV reality show: repetitive, unoriginal and uninspiring, proposing there just might be, “too many self-proclaimed experts out there.” She’d prefer a blog that is just for entertainment, or storytelling.
Thinking about this, I wondered whether a story is more valuable than a post dispensing advice? I think that might depend on what kind of person the reader is. Perhaps we need both kinds of posts? Sometimes one and sometimes the other. Diversity is a good buzzword for that, isn’t it?
When I want information – the list format of writing a post helps me find salient information faster. However, posts titled, ‘The Top Ten Places to See in Europe,’ is a style of post I’d read once, but hardly another in the same vein. It is becoming a trite and hackneyed format, short on meatier content, and meatier content is what I personally seek, as a reader.
It seems that if we want, (or for monetizing bloggers, – need), people to read our blogs, we might write in this way early on in our blogging life, to filter and find our blog tribe; our community; those few like-minded souls who follow us and begin to comment regularly so that a fulsome discussion or blogging friendship might develop. Without a few of those list posts to begin with, how can we build that community so many of us enjoy? Would we still find a tribe of like-minded blog readers another way?
Don’t we want any or all varieties of readers?
Diversity dictates that we need differing opinions and readers from all walks of life.
Blogging Stats and SEO
Whilst I don’t read list posts anymore, I do try to use headings when writing a blog post, supposedly it is good SEO. I don’t understand a whole lot about SEO and SEO tips seems to change rapidly. Once upon a time we were told to use 10 tags, for good SEO, now it is not more than 5. It is hard to keep up with so fickle a technological beast.
Are we all getting sucked into looking at stats and levels of engagement? I remember a blogger who posted about getting back to the real reason why she blogged and not looking at stats, or checking for new followers. Great, I thought. To my surprise, she stopped blogging shortly after! I never found out why.
Likes and Comments
I dislike the thought that someone would write to receive likes alone. Fixating on that, to the detriment of our mental health, could render our blogging platform meaningless. You’d do better to mutter a few grudge sentences on Facebook – that will give you ‘likes,’ and save yourself some time.
What would change if I disabled the like button on my posts?
Nothing? Would there be fewer signs of engagement?
This begs the question: would I still be blogging if I had not received any comments? Perhaps. I hazard a guess I would still write, but not be posting as frequently.
The Blogging Audience
Diarist bloggers who inform about the week that was, without crafting a story, are perhaps still learning to make writing interesting. That level of self-expression, in Marie Kondo style, must bring them joy and could be all they need from writing? We’re all different and we all seek out and write different sorts of posts.
One Blogger [Manja], said she seeks friends in blogging, not an audience. Another thought all bloggers are looking for an audience for without it, they reach no one. This highlights a divide between the intentions of bloggers.
Some bloggers are out to make money and need that audience to do that. That is not always art. Others – those who have an urge to write or tell stories, through photos or words, enjoy their art, interact with their audience and along the way, make friends.
Monetizing a Blog
Am I interested in making money off my blog?
No, not really. If a few dollars come my way, I’d be silly to knock it back, but I also won’t put my focus in this direction and spend time and effort chasing it. Already I am slightly embarrassed about reviewing places for some small kickback, such as a free sample.
I wonder how I can write impartially when I receive a kickback from the thing I am writing about? However, I am told of certain readers that do value and appreciate reading product reviews, so I relent a little and try to tap my inner Buddha and again seek the middle path.
Becoming a Writer
Many bloggers have the goal to publish a book, but that’s not on my to-do list either. I do have a book idea, or two, rather lofty ones, but writing my blog posts with that intention does not form part of the reason I am here.
Writing a blog post feels innate, it’s in my blood. For around four centuries that I know of, there have been writers in my family, not famous, nor polished, but writers nonetheless. I could say it’s tradition, but my writing doesn’t come from any sense of historical obligation.
For me, writing just happens when the mood hits or I should do so. It might come out as rubbish, but it is my rubbish and not contrived just to receive ‘likes.’ I once tried to write ‘like’ that (to suit an audience), and the result was bland and boring.
Writing comes from both my heart and my head. I write when I feel inclined to do so, but more often than not, as I sit at the keyboard, words erupt like the meltwater in a glacial stream at Springtime.
The words tumble and run out, splashing around obstacles in their path, anxious to appear on the computer screen lest they be washed downstream and away, (ie. before I forget what I was intending to say).
Finding More Readers for a Blog.
But aren’t we skirting around the crux of this issue? If we only write for ourselves and from our hearts and heads, why do we want more exposure and more readers? Only to find more like-minds and interesting conversations via comments? Surely there is more to it, than that?
For me, the reward of blogging is the joy that comes from robust self-expression.
Any friendship that arises, from that, is a bonus and the result of two people connecting. The internet is not constraining of geographic boundaries – connection is what blogging gives back to us.
Fundamentally, I am here to learn, and to express, with a little bit of entertainment thrown in. I might find an interesting blogger to read or follow and if I wasn’t here, I’d miss that opportunity to further my knowledge and discuss topics via the readers’ comments.
Blogging is not wasting anyone’s time, it is the best classroom in the world, and the sky is the limit.
I ‘like’ that.
With much thanks to Snow for inspiring this post.