She is an award-winning
writer, author, editor, poet, teacher and publisher currently living in
Melbourne. I subscribe to her newsletter
because I like that she writes about a lot of different things but mostly I
follow her because she radiates warmth.
Lately I have been consumed by
thoughts about this blog. What can improve this blog? This is a question that plays over and over
in my mind along with others like why don’t more people subscribe or even just
make comments? Are we missing something
in our blog? How do other bloggers succeed
so well? Are there things that can be done to make things better? Karen’s
newsletter arrived and as I do most mornings I read my emails and mark ones
that offer ideas for a closer look when I have more time. This morning however I did not do that with
this particular newsletter. How could I
when the words better blogger were jumping from the page. See the thing to
understand and probably don’t like to admit is that if you aren’t getting
results you have to look at yourself.
This post is to do just that, look
at myself. On my first read of the Ten
Tips Karen talks about I surprised myself with my subconscious diligence in
adhering to the ideas discussed. On the
surface it appears I deserve a pat on the head but, and notice there is always
a but, doing and doing well are two separate issues. I need to look at whether I do this consciously
with my full attention and heart because if I am doing it unknowingly I am just
bloody lucky and sooner or later luck runs out. We get so blasé about life
these days and forget to focus on the whole picture and the details needed to
maintain it. We accept limited time as
an excuse to give less so easily. Our busy lives shouldn’t mean we give less
otherwise that same whole picture is like a piece of knitting with a dropped
stitch – a potential for disaster. We
need to look at all the bits and pieces and ensure that they are in working
Back to this blog and more
specifically this post I knew I needed to verbalise what it was I wanted first
before moving forward. If I have been questioning things then I have to
understand where I was coming from or this post would serve no purpose. The answer is not something complex at all. I want a successful blog and that entails
more readers, happy readers and to have that I have to work harder consciously.
Karen’s tips are a timely
reminder to check that I am willing to do what is necessary to have that
successful blog. Her first tip is Passion. It is a key, a vital key. People feel it and respond to it. Years ago
in my Real Estate career, I managed to talk my way into being an exclusive
agent for a house that every agent in the area had fought to have on their
books. I had to ask why. Please don’t
think it was because I felt insecure as I loved my job and was good at it but
the truth was I had pipped agents with a proven reputation at the post, and I
needed to know how I had done that in order to keep doing it. Her answer made a deep impression. She said I
had shown passion for her home, real passion in the way I looked at everything
the house had to offer. She knew without
doubt I would bring her the right buyer and with it the right money. I did.
Have I then invested in this
blog with passion? I mean a passion
that will go the distance so that my readers can trust in me not to walk
away. Does this sound like a
relationship? Guess what? It is exactly that. In all honesty I have that passion but I may
need to demonstrate that better by stretching me more. My lack of confidence in technology stops me
giving readers a better experience and I can work on this. There is also a mention that having the
courage to be personal demonstrates passion and this had to be considered
carefully. You either decide to commit fully
or you don’t. There is an excellent quote in Karen’s post about having the
courage to be seen. A writer owes this
to their reader.
The second tip is action.
If you have the passion follow it up by reading, using media,
subscribing, talking, in short doing whatever it takes to reflect your passion.
This is time consuming but it is the way to find your voice or what can be
described as the ability to say what you want the way that you want but in a
way that still allows your audience distance to understand and proximity to
connect. If you express doubt for instance, own it as your own. It is the reader who chooses to resonate.
Don’t lose the purpose of the blog.
Don’t write just to blog. For
instance I am writing this post because I want to clarify what I need to do to
improve the blog for my readers. If they
read this they hopefully may even have suggestions that keep me on track. This is why I try and vary what I write
about. I want it to resonate on many
levels just as Karen’s post has resonated in me. So far so good I am thinking
and then I come to the next tip - great
content is essential and in a flash my confidence starts to quiver and shake
and I feel a jelly moment. It’s
subjective. I may think it is great but I am me, what about you? What do you think?
There are as you know three of
us that contribute to this blog. We act
as individuals but agree on trying to make material as timely, relevant, useful
and engaging as possible but it is subjective. We want to be compelling
reading, entertaining reading; we want to please our readers. The three of us are fledgling writers who
blog to learn more about our readers, and what they need from us. To do this properly we need reader
input? To get this we need to be better
at blogging. It is a cycle; an endless
spinning cycle and I say thank goodness for our next tip that says we are allowed to get tired. It’s
a creative process and that burns energy, physical, mental, emotional and
spiritual. Being reminded I can step
away is a welcome relief. And, it renews the passion.
By now you have probably
concluded that the tips are very basic and simple ideas that we are already
acquainted with. You’re absolutely right
but humans are contrary beings that need reminding and prompting about things
we know. I personally like being reminded
of things. I have to be truthful and
admit I do sacrifice quality at times for quantity. Ironically it leads us to the next tip - it’s
good to be regular. That last phrase is calling out for a smart comment but
I will refrain. How often should you
blog? Some say weekly, monthly, every day, make it shorter or make it
longer....????????? Will quality be the sacrifice to maintain a regular
consistency? I like keeping in regular touch so if as readers you disagree
please let me know because I agree with Karen.
I like consistency with my friends, family and colleagues so why not
with readers and never at the cost of quality.
Readers and their input keep us honest to our goal just as input in our
lives gives us movement to grow in strength.
And this fits in beautifully with our next tip - don’t be afraid of change.
Keeping consistency and opening up to change is a fine balance but reader
input would keep the blog fresh. Changing together keeps us together.
Everything so far is pointing
to the next tip - value your readers. Give us a chance to show you by taking a
chance and commenting or making suggestions because we will reply. It is something I have seen all good bloggers
do no matter the blog subject but for writers it is even more vital. Your words
make writers better so appreciating you is not hard at all and in fact can only
be bettered by our eighth tip which says we should get to know your readers. I
need to check my blog traffic more so I know what you like and then it is
easier to give the content that is most enjoyed. What can we add? Let us know!
Tell us something about you and what you want to hear about. And, this may be a rash promise but I for one
will make a better effort to use the
vast array of blogging tools to improve the experience. But if you don’t mind, please be patient as I
am just a baby at all of this.
So now we are ready for our
tenth and last tip. Karen’s says a good
blogger creates a vision for
themselves. She says there “was
a time when I wanted to create a vision for myself on the blog, a place where I
could openly – and don’t forget publically – declare what I wanted to achieve
in my life. This vision became my Living List.“
When you first read this you question how this you makes a better
blogger? It seems quite selfish but when you look deeper you realise it makes
good sense, or it did to me. My vision
is to grow my audience by providing them with reasons to come back to me. This
is about them and not me even if it is my vision. I like this idea a lot. Now comes the hard
part – being a better blogger.