Week Four: Focusing on Your Content
So now that you're embracing the blogger title, there are some conversations that can play out like this:
V: I'm doing a PhD but I'm also a blogger, it's something that I enjoy doing on the side.
X: Oh really! What type of blogger are you?
I usually say travel/lifestyle blogger. I really don't know. I often reprimand myself for using 'lifestyle' too loosely. I'm becoming more conscious to not treat it like a miscellaneous category. Oh, it doesn't fit in the other 5 categories? Oh that's okay, just put it under lifestyle.
What have I been doing to clarify the type of blogger I am?
I've been looking at my content of course! Having over 300 posts to look through has been useful. I've deleted a few, I'm edited a few and I've re-posted many. Throughout which I've kept in mind my content and what sort of things I want to write about.
1) why did I write this?
2) what was I hoping my readers would take from it?
3) did I just write this for me?
I want to write things that are interesting and useful. I really want to make connections and create an interaction between myself and my readers and between my readers.
But sometimes, there are 'me' posts. Those posts that you just need to get out there. You're not sure what anyone would ever gain from reading them, but you still want to share them. I appreciate those, but I try to keep them in check. Few and far between is generally the rule that I follow for myself.
The other thing I do is look at my labels. I love labels and love having them in a cluster on my sidebar. I love it when other bloggers do it too, all I have to do is click on one label and all the related posts come up. Absolute heaven. But there is no point (in my mind) if you have hundreds of labels!
So, With regards to labels, I'm :
1) working hard to reduce them
2) trying to make them more descriptive
I label and re-label and in doing that I've been able to focus my content. When I have a new blog post idea I go back to my labels and ask myself, How does that fit with what I normally write about? Of course, sometimes we come up with something genius and we must include it but we also don't want to stray too far from the core of what we (and our blog) are about. I've decided to pick a number of labels to display. There was no reason, no real justification behind the number, I just pulled one out of thin air - 10. (They aren't done yet, they are a work in progress, constant progress, as I try to focus my content)
Is it easier if you start a blog with a clear idea of what type of blogger you want to be and what you'll write about? I don't know. The idea is appealing though. Think through it, come up with a concept, and start anew. It's very appealing. I've even considered starting a new blog. It might work, if you're clear about what you want. But I think you might be limiting yourself and your audience. If you start specific, you might draw a specific audience. On the other hand, writing generally and having a wider audience to fall in love with you first - and hopefully one that will remain faithful even if you change your focus a little, might work to your advantage. Just make sure it's not a sudden and complete about turn that leaves your audience wondering what has just happened!
Talk to other bloggers and other people. I find others views to be very enlightening when trying to define my blog and the type of blogger I am. Just a few weeks ago when talking to fellow bloggers about this issue, I made the comment that I was not a fashion blogger. My sense of fashion (or lack thereof) pretty much determines that I cannot be a fashion blogger but my dear friend Stephanie said "You're not a fashion blogger, you're not an outfit blogger, you're a style blogger..." She made my blogging year! So maybe you don't have a clear idea but others might, and they might see things that you don't. So I'll leave you to ponder this whilst I go and get comfortable with the concept of being a 'style blogger'!
So what type of blogger are you?
What's your default category?
This year, I'm going to be focusing on one blogging related aspect each week to help me really develop my blog. By develop and grow (in the title), I'm referring to quality (content, photos, interaction), not quantity (followers, statistics). See previous posts in this series here.