Building a Better Blog- Be Authentic
“It’s easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you’re a winner, when you’re number one. What you got to have is faith and discipline when you’re not a winner.” Vince Lombardi
That clickety-clack noise you keep hearing is coming from my keyboard.Â I’m jacked up on 2,987 ounces of coffee and typing at light speed. I am banging away at these keys, punishing them for no good reason other than they have the good fortune to be Â beneath my fingertips. Fortunately keys don’t have feelings but bloggers do which is probably part of why you are reading this post. Because you my friend want to know the secret to becoming a better blogger.
Well come closer to your dear old Uncle Jack and listen carefully and I will impart the wisdom of the sages who have come before both you and I. The secret is that there is no secret. Ok, that is not entirely true but it sometimes feels like blogging is like going to back to high school again. You wander through the cyberquad and see groups of people hanging out. Every group you saw in school is here and like back then there sometimes is no explanation for why one person(s) is more popular than others.
Blogging is like the real world where it would be nice if things were based upon skills and talent but it is not. Â Life isn’t fair and neither is the blogosphere. But that shouldn’t prevent you from taking a shot to grab that brass ring so let me share a few thoughts about that.
The best blogs are authentic. Their authors inject their personalities into their writing. When they write we are given a small window into their world. It doesn’t matter what the topic is. What matters is that we are granted an opportunity to see and feel some of what it is they see and feel. The goal is to get your readers to identify with you. You want your readers to nod their heads and smile at your stories or shake them in outrage. You want them to be able to visualize them in the same place as you. It is obvious, but that is why so many people suggest that you find a community and write about the issues that matter to that community.
I used to like to describe myself as a rogue or maverick because I do things a bit differently. If you are one of the long time readers you know that I write about anything and everything. This place and the old joint are filled with posts about parenting, religion, politics, sports and weird news. I update it more frequently than a lot of other bloggers do. The experts will tell you that both of these things are wrong. Not to mention that they will tell you that the length of the posts is problematic too.
In summation, the politics/religiousÂ posts are an issue because they are hot buttons that can anger people and push them away. And then I exacerbate the situation by producing posts that are too long for the ADD addled brains of the modern reader. These things may be true, but I don’t care. I don’t care because caring would defeat my ability to be authentic. It would hurt my love for this and that love is what sustains my effort.
Remember that I have already laid out goals and ideas for what I want to achieve here and if I don’t want to be a hypocrite I need to review my plans and identify the weaknesses in it. I talk to my children about this on a regular basis. Dear old dad sits down and says that it is important to figure out if you are sabotaging your efforts to succeed. So it stands to reason that I should do the same for myself and that is part of why I write these posts.
I want to build a community here. I want to create a platform that provides an opportunity for me to convert this hobby into something that serves as aÂ significantÂ source of income. I want to write a book and a screenplay. Those last two are on the bucket list, but there is no reason to push them off until I am truly old. I have a fire in my belly that never stops burning and I am compelled to answer the echoes of the future. Â So I have to ask myself the very same questions I have laid out.
And the answers I come up with are simple. There is no one way to do this. There is no write way to make it happen but there are a long of wrong ways-for me.
Authenticity means that I won’t rely upon contests,Â gimmicksÂ and games to secure traffic. I may run any or all of them. I will do reviews here when appropriate but it will always be clear whether I like the product or not. I am currently a brand ambassador for Nintendo. They sent me a copy of Super Mario All-Stars (see disclosure) that I have been playing with my son. I dislike it. Why? Because I am getting my butt kicked by a 10 year-old boy. Yep, my ego is being bruised because I am not ready for my son to mop the screen with me.
Side note, I don’t hate the games- I just don’t like losing to my son. But we have had a lot of fun playing and that is always worth the price of admission.
If you can successfully instill a piece of yourself into your posts and if you can sustain your effort over the long haul than you have some of the key ingredients to build a better blog. Â As for me well, I am really good at blazing a trail. I can always find the road not taken, but the question is whether these lead me to my goal or lead me in circles.
My two current goals are to do a better job of promoting my best content and to keep working on building the readership here. If you are so inclined you can help by becoming a Facebook fan or by sharing this with friends and family. I am grateful and appreciative for your time and effort, including those of you who are already doing so.
subWOW January 13, 2011 at 9:29 am
*Fanned* and *Liked* 🙂
When I first started having real readers, I went into a panic mode because I was so worried about offending them and losing them. (I did lose quite a few along the way) So I started censoring myself: No politics. Then I thought: Why? The ONLY reason I even started my blog was just so I could talk about thing I can’t in real life, e.g. in the office. So censoring myself online would be totally missing the point. I may as well just shut it down and get back roughly 100+ hours of my life every week. What’s funny is that my husband actually suggested the reason why I became so political since I started blogging was because I needed topics to attract readers. Ha ha ha.
Jack January 13, 2011 at 10:21 pm
A blog is the perfect place to just lay it all out. I have lost many readers along the way for the very reasons you mentioned. I have received nasty comments and received many emails in which I was accused of being xyz or worse. It is what it is.
But when you write from the heart that reality makes a huge difference.
Cathy January 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm
I feel like I’m still trying to find my voice. I am like you – I write about a lot of things. It’s not all about the kids, it’s more about me. I think I’m am starting to get more comfortable and working into a voice, but the continuity of posting still challenges me. I just have a lot going on.
Jack January 11, 2011 at 2:36 pm
I understand that. I think that over time my voice has evolved and is continuing to do so and that is ok. Blogging takes some time and frankly it is work- even if you enjoy it. But if you do enjoy it than it becomes something to make time for.
Lance January 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm
Everytime I write about opics – sports, politics, whatever, people snooze. Everytime I write about myself, my family, and how what is happening in the world affects me, and us, the hits keep on coming, and I get feedback. The other day I received this in an email from a twitter follower/friend: “Your writing is so special. I like when you talk about your family, and write from your heart. Don’t stop doing thank.” My wife cried when she read the email. Freedom is not caring about what people think of you and being the person you want to be. You blog like that, and I think you;re find satisfaction, which is better than success.
Jack January 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm
If we are happy with what we are doing than generally we find satisfaction. I don’t think that they have to be mutually exclusive.