Blogging Q&A: Can a blog be meaningful and successful?

Table of contents for Blogging success

I received an email the other day with some very good questions and observations about blogging. Because I thought other people probably had the same questions, and because I wanted to get more than just my take on the answers (and also because my email reply bounced!), I’ve decided to respond here.

I need to post more.

Not necessarily. Sometimes posting frequently can help to maintain your audience—but sometimes posting frequently overwhelms them or turns them off. It’s better to have a regular posting schedule, and in general I’d advise a minimum of one post a week.

I have concerns about my blog causing issues in my professional life and I feel this detracts from the quality of my posts.

I’ll be honest—this has happened before. Being dismissed from your job because of your blog is called being “Dooced” because that’s what happened to the author of the popular blog Dooce, Heather B. Armstrong.

However, this happens so infrequently that it’s almost always news when it does happen. Generally, the only things that you need to be worried about blogging about in respect to keeping your job would be blogging about your work itself, including your coworkers. Don’t do that, even anonymously.

If the concern is about your personal brand or reputation, that’s a little different. Are potential clients going to be repulsed because you have a mommy blog or a religious blog or a political blog? Perhaps. And perhaps each of us should ponder whether the people that turn away from us for having a blog—or having opinions and beliefs—are the kind of people we need to do business with anyway.

I want my posts to be meaningful. I don’t just want to talk for the sake of talking. How do I do this and keep an audience?

I’m going to assume you’re not saying that I’m talking just for the sake of talking (although this month, since I’m trying to do NaBloPoMo, it probably seems that way!) 😉 .

I don’t think that meaningful posts and keeping an audience should be or even are mutually exclusive. Usually, the only people that I care to read about what their kids are doing ad nauseam are people who I know in real life. Most of the blogs I subscribe to I read because the author at least occasionally makes meaningful posts. Those posts are what keeps me coming back—and I really hope that MamaBlogga readers get something out of my more meaningful posts, too.

I tend to think pretty deeply and over-analyze my writing. How do I keep this from holding me back?

Thinking deeply shouldn’t keep you from writing (unless you get so lost in thought that you can’t find your way back 😉 )—but over-analyzing your writing can stop you dead in your tracks whether you’re writing a novel, a blog post, or an email.

Almost all writers have to make a conscious effort to ignore the harsh inner critic while writing (sometimes outlining a post or an argument can help with that, too). The inner critic can be useful when we go back and edit—but not if you’re so hard on yourself that you end up deleting everything.

Is there a place on the web for this kind of meaningful content?

I hope so! While MamaBlogga chronicles the adventures of raising my family, its real “purpose” is to help other moms (and me) find the fulfillment that society tries to tell us being “just a mom” can’t give.

In the end, though, it’s the readers that decide whether or not it’s meaningful, of course. There’s room on the web for everyone to voice their thoughts, though. Even if you’re your only reader, I think you accomplish something by publishing your thoughts..

How do you get people interested enough to comment and why should they care about what I have to say?

I’ve written about encouraging comments before, and I still think one of the best ways to encourage comments is to end with a question—usually “what do you think?” or “how have you seen this in your life?”.

Another great idea I read about a long time ago (so long ago I can’t remember when don’t remember who said it!) is to not “finish” your post. The reasoning behind this advice was that if you tie up all the loose ends and present a neat, tidy package of an essay, there’s no room left for your readers to contribute. But if you don’t have all the answers, your readers have a role to play in your blog, and it becomes less of a soap box and more of a collaborative community.

As for why your readers should care—again, in the end, that’s up to them. I like to believe (and would be happy if anyone would like to validate this!) that people subscribe to “meaningful” blogs because something they’ve read resonates with them, and they’d like to see more of that.

And as with every time I talk about “success” for a blog, it’s important to note, too, that blogging success means different things to different people&mdahs;and we each have to set our own blogging goals to define our own success. Some goals, such as reaching people’s hearts, are not as easy to measure (but if I’ve done that before and you’d like to speak up now, please do!).

I know we have some great bloggers among us, and I’d love to hear any thoughts on anything above. What makes you subscribe to a blog? What makes a blog “meaningful”? Can a blog be meaningful and successful? Why does it seem that people don’t comment on “meaningful” blogs as much?

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3 thoughts on “Blogging Q&A: Can a blog be meaningful and successful?

  1. Great responses, especially the one about not finishing the post. Leaving loose ends is difficult; it’s like a dissonant chord at the end of a song that doesn’t resolve. Now that you’ve said it, I’ve noticed this fact in teaching also. If you comment too much, or don’t let questions hang in the air for a bit, people don’t respond because they believe you will just have the answer.

    Your comments are thoughtful and encouraging. Thanks for taking the time.

  2. Glad to help, Eyvonne! It is really hard to get used to doing that, but that’s a perfect analogy. (In fact, I just recently came across a teaching rule of thumb: give a class three full seconds to contemplate a question before answering it yourself.)

  3. Hi, thanks for the great articles! I am not a mom, but I am so new to blogging and your insight is very helpful. Happy New Year.

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