Blogging Voice, Topics, Gifts

There are more than a million blogs and no way to hit them all; nor should you try. As a blogger, it is so hard to keep motivated and keep on publishing.

Someone paid me a huge compliment the other day about the quality of the content I publish, and it brings me back to these few things (probably alive and well in the echo chamber yet bears repeating):

Make Your Blog Yours

Your blog is what you make it. Only your commitment will make it successful. Doesn’t matter how many subscribers you have; peeps come because of what you say and the passion with which you write.

I have noticed many bloggers writing about life, depression, motherhood, struggle with medical issues or family woes who earn hundreds of comments and RTs. I try not to look at my less-than-10 RTs or 30 comments in comparison because it makes me wonder what’s wrong with what I’m saying and whether it has merit.

The answer is…NOTHING.

I write a specialty blog (not about life and emotion) about my profession in public relations, business, marketing, social media, and whatever strikes me in re current events and global affairs. The peeps who visit are similar or same. That’s a major point…what you write about breeds a community of likes. You will attract dog lovers if you write about dogs; you will find numbers guys if you promote analytics. More mommies will read your blog than non-parents when you write about kids every day.

Topics

When you write a blog that is a mash up of various and sundry topics, can you realistically expect your community to grow if they have no idea what they’ll get when they visit? Humans, by nature, appreciate few surprises. Goes the same with a blogging community…take a look at yours and see if you’ve been able to capture and keep 10 peeps in your community.  If I’m right, it could very well be that your content is too broad; test the waters for a few weeks and write about a theme or topic you appreciate. Watch your passion come alive and your community, too.

Motivation & Voice

Motivation and voice are huge factors to blogging success. Let no one tell you how frequently you have to blog; do what’s comfy for you. The very best tip I can offer is to strive to find your voice. I have two significant pieces on voice coming soon to Spin Sucks and Spin Sucks Pro. In one of them I say “I write like I talk and sprinkle f-bombs and flowers all over.” (That’s mostly in comments, but it’s very true.)

Do you write like you talk? I visited Jason Konopinski’s blog for the first time and was so shocked at his voice, I asked him in comments whether he always wrote in this style? My surprise came because his comments are laden with snark and cajoling; when I read his academic voice upon my first visit, I was blown away. Here’s the deal…it works for him! He’s the blogger, he owns his writing, style, voice, and ideas; so, too, do you. Have the confidence to put yourself out there because you can!

Blogging Gives Back

Blogging provides the opportunity to give back. I loved, loved the gifts I gave around Christmas inviting peeps to Share Your Blog Here and the subsequent follow-up post 50+Bloggers To Know Now. All over, peeps are saying in comments “I found your blog at Jayme’s 50 list.”

I received comments, thank you notes, tweets, a growing community, and more hidden gifts I can’t realize.  The best thing is I didn’t expect any of it!

Blogging provides these hidden rewards and the friendships you create and grow via the written word. So keep on, Friends, and if you have a question along the way, please ask. Every blogger’s journey is never smooth; when the twists and turns go straight, from there it’s a clean sail.

 

 

 

 

34 comments
Hajra
Hajra

Hey,

What I love about your blog is that you always have the personal touch. We as readers are not only able to relate but also we can actually use those for applicability. Glad to see your work! Your blog is awesome, well read, well received but most importantly, well written!

davinabrewer
davinabrewer

I like to think my blog is nothing but mine. Took a while - and yes I am 'influenced' by others - but my voice, my writing, my approach to blogging about what I blog about (say that 3 x fast) is very much, me. (BTW, thanks for the intro to Jason.) And 'Word' on not sticking to some blog frequency mandate. Offer something worth reading when you do write, find other ways to stay engaged with your audience.

I do think blogging gives a lot back - much more than just comments, RTs, 'influence' (what are we doing wrong? maybe I should whine about my emotions more?). I also think it gives back only what we put in - which is a lot of time, work, care, value. FWIW.

Mark W Schaefer
Mark W Schaefer

Very good post. One of your best. You've come a long way with your own voice and confidence in the space. Glad to see your work paying off (even if I am not one of your 50 recommended bloggers!) 

Derek Morton
Derek Morton

Jayme,

Great post. It's been amazing to me to see as I began to embrace my quirky views, and using them on my blog, and newsletter how much better of a response I received. Authenticity always counts. 

The JackB
The JackB

Suck it up Soulati and accept that your blog is powerful and well read. Comments are not currency and what the hell would you do if you received 1,982 comments per post. Hell, if it was me receiving that many comments I'd start selling major sponsorships and become a billionaire.

Derek Morton
Derek Morton

Jayme,

You are absolutely correct about using your own voice. Peoples perception of me changed completely (more good than bad) once I began to be myself on my blog. Now people look forward to seeing what random topics I can relate to marketing. 

Leon Noone
Leon Noone

G'Day Jayme,
Thanks for this. For what it's worth, I couldn't agree more. There's nothing particularly worthy about blogging. It's writing. That's all: a means to an end. Focus, focus, focus: and learn how to write well. Understand that writing is about the reader, not the writer. And for heaven's sake, don't use the blogosphere to write ego tripping disclosures  about your "innermost thoughts."

If it aint fun to write, don't write it.

Regards
Leon

Jenn Whinnem
Jenn Whinnem

First of all, thank you for not writing about life and emotions. I am not interested in those things. I have life and emotions outside of this blogging world and that's where I like to enjoy them.

Which leads me to my second point - I pounded my fist on my desk about the "don't confuse your audience by offering different topics every time" because I agree! I recently had the startling experience of reading someone who used to be a business blogger...but here he was pontificating about very personal choices that women make. I was very angry until I realized his blog had flipped personas and was no longer relevant to me.

I have a dim awareness that certain "high-powered" bloggers are pushing for people to be more honest and real on their blogs. I'm not really sure what that's about. What does "honest" and "real" mean in this context? I have to tell you about my problems in order to be taken seriously when I talk about business topics? I think this does the opposite. For those of these bloggers who applaud those who offer occasional glimpses behind the curtain - how naive are you that you think that's not entirely calculated? And what does telling you my problems do for me, exactly? Do I become a circus sideshow like a particular blogger I'm thinking of? What's the ROI of people gossiping about you?

In sum, I do care about your life and emotions my friend Jayme! You are part of a wonderful community of people I consider real friends. But if we're going to talk personal, let's talk on the phone or meet for coffee. That goes for the rest of you too.

Life, for instance
Life, for instance

:-) I like this Jayme! You've got to know who you are and be true to that. Nothing else matters for long because if you stick with it (and I'm banking on this) it will all work out. 
Well said!
Lori

Kaarina Dillabough
Kaarina Dillabough

Jayme, I want to thank you again for including me on your list. I've seen many places whereby someone has been "found" because you gave a link to them here. I'm most appreciative. My favourite paragraph is "Make your blog yours". It's akin to Bill Dorman's recent "Chopped Liver" post, and I think we all can, on occasion, feel like "what's wrong with what I'm saying?" You're spot on: there's nothing wrong. When we create our niche and target our audience, stay true to our course and speak in our own "authentic" voice, the results will take care of themselves. Cheers! Kaarina

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Here's the thing. We're human beings and, by nature, we want to keep up with the Jones's. So it's one thing to say the numbers don't matter and another to actually believe it. 
When I started out in business, I had NO IDEA the difference between revenues and profits. I thought the end goal was to build a big firm with millions of dollars on the top line and lots of employees. After all, that was the measure of success in America, right?

I did that. I had $3.7MM firm. And I made less that year (myself) than I did when I was 28 and working for Rhea & Kaiser. It sucked. Now we're a third of that and our focus is on the things that get us to our vision, not what other people perceive as success.

I relate that story because it's very, very important not only to find your blogging voice, but to figure out what your vision is and how you'll measure your success instead of letting someone else do it for you.

Jason Konopinski
Jason Konopinski

Thanks so much for the mention, Jayme! For me, my authorial voice is influenced by context (as it should, I reckon) and I take it as a great compliment when someone with whom I've built an online relationship comments at that first IRL meeting that "You're exactly how I imagined!". 

Of course, my content varies from the introspective to the actionable to the theoretical. :) 

Soulati
Soulati

There's a reason I miss you, even though you're not gone. You #RockHot. #ThatIsAll

Soulati
Soulati

So fab to see you here, Mr. Schaefer! Thank you! The bloggers on the 50 list were all invited to "Share Your Blog Here" and that's how the list was compiled.  No purposeful exclusions! Promise! (Heck, for sure you'd be smack at the top if I was doing a list myself!)  Thank you for the compliments; very appreciated!

Soulati
Soulati

Really, Dude? You come in my house speaking to me like that? Sniff. Now, I'm gonna rethink my blog post I wrote in the Philly airport this a.m. at dawn crack just b/c you told me to suck it up. Did you see The Sales Lion today? He said Gini almost went bankrupt in her biz in 2011 but her blogging comments didn't bring her $$. He says comments are nada and community same.

Can any of us REALLY make $$ blogging?

Soulati
Soulati

It takes awhile, though, Derek, to find your comfy shoes!

Jayme
Jayme

Spot on and all that jazz, Dear Leon. #ThatIsAll great seeing you. I had to ask just after new year if you had surfaced from your down under festivities. Alas, there was a sighting. <3

Jenn Whinnem
Jenn Whinnem

Amen, Aussie I don't know too well (sorry about that).

davinabrewer
davinabrewer

Have to comment bomb to tell you Jenn, I really love this. When do we meet for coffee?! :)

Jayme
Jayme

Whippersnapper. You are nothing more than a whippersnapper! #ThatIsAll. PS thank you for showing your face around these parts!

Jayme
Jayme

Thanks for coming over today, Lori. Appreciate the thoughts from someone who has built a heckuva community.

Jayme
Jayme

I wonder when I will get serious about this blogging thing? If I could bring myself to find the commitment to devote to the back end and learn my obstacles then who knows how I can grow?

For now, I am enjoying the gifts...and the results. My friends are so dear and together we will move the needle. Thanks Lady!

Kaarina Dillabough
Kaarina Dillabough

P.S. I don't know why I couldn't create paragraph breaks above.

It's working here. Oh well...

Jayme
Jayme

I love this. And it comes through sweat and tears with huge ponderings. Thank you. And if anyone thinks they can emulate you without twice the workload they are sadly mistaken.

Kaarina Dillabough
Kaarina Dillabough

@ginidietrich:disqus , your candor and your sharing has provided immense value and reality-based perspective to us all. By sharing your own path and challenges, it creates a reality check for everyone to see that how things "look" might not equate to how things "are". I liken it to the "overnight success" comment, whereby someone is touted as an overnight success, and they respond, "Yeah, and it only took 28 years". No one really knows the struggles/challenges we go through on our road to success, and by sharing our stories, it makes the journey that much more supported.

You are the real-meal-deal, my friend, and we luv you for it:) Cheers! Kaarina

Jayme
Jayme

I am going toread you more in earnest and then we shall tawk!

The JackB
The JackB

Yep, I commented on that post. I was half awake at the time and uninterested in picking that post apart but I am not convinced that there is a relationship between Gini's biz and comments.

Fact is that if you can demonstrate to brands that your blog reaches the eyeballs that they want to get in front of then you can make money blogging. It happens and any one of us have the opportunity to make it happen.

It might not make sense for some of us to pursue that path but the opportunity is there. 

Let's circle back to comments and community. You and I have talked about this but for those who haven't heard I'll repeat that I don't see comments as being currency. They aren't always useful social proof for whether a blog is popular, influential etc.

But that doesn't apply across the board. Fact is that many of the people that speak at Blog conferences get their posts because of their community and the comments. It is not impossible to get a gig without, but it is much easier when you have it.

Data mining is useful for bloggers. When you start to break down who your readers are you can learn all sorts of interesting things. During the past four days more than 4k uniques took a moment to read (http://www.thejackb.com/2011/02/25/one-slightly-used-pump-for-sale/) my post.

Two PR agencies and several brands were camped out on that post for extended periods of time. I don't believe that they hung out there solely because they loved the writing. There is something more going on. My job is to figure out why. Maybe it is because they are looking for a writer or maybe it set off a keyword alert, but I'll put money down that there is a money making opportunity tied into it.

Let's circle back to the question of can you make money and approach it in a more direct manner. Let's pretend that blogger XYZ has a product/service that they sell and that there is a valid value proposition tied into it.

Blogger XYZ needs to learn how to close. Ask for the order. Stop pussy footing around with "you might be interested or want" and ask for the sale. Remember Alec Baldwin in Glen Garry Glen Ross- "Always Be Closing."

Excuse me while I reconnect the IV, the coffee drip just ran out.

Jayme
Jayme

Leon, I vouch for her!

Jenn Whinnem
Jenn Whinnem

So I'm young...am I a fool about this though? I'm open to your opinion!
My thought though is, if you really want to know me, be my Facebook friend, although you'll probably hide me after my first post.

The JackB
The JackB

I can. Just you watch I am going to build a blog called "The Other Side of Spin" and it will be ridiculously successful..

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Ah thanks, love! You're right - people need to remember there is no such thing as an overnight success.

Soulati
Soulati

OH, Boy, The Jack...Permission to use this as a post, please? Awesome nonsense, if I do say so myself!

Jayme
Jayme

Absolutely kidding you. I am not in the know about whom you speak, but I prefer not to cloud my business brand with serious personal issues that could cloud my authority. You know more than most the decision you made to be forthright about a personal issue and how that may have put adjustments to your relationships.

What this all boils to is that bloggers have a purpose and when it changes up to be personally oriented it can turn off an existing community and turn on an entirely new one.

Here's the crux...it is entirely the reader's choice whether to read a blog or not. If someone honks you off, express your dismay and go choose from the other 999,999,999 bloggers !

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