Friday May 20

Likeability and consistency in blogging

It's been asked numerous times before in numerous places, but the questions still persist: how often should you blog and how many times a day. From a branding point of view, the key issue is trust. Trust in blogging is made of two parts: likeability and consistency of the posts. In other words, how often you post is not an issue. Rather, it is more important whether your target readership likes your posts and whether the consistency of posting meets their expectations.

To manage likeability of posts, you need to first select a readership group. And you need to understand them a bit and how they relate to you. What are their likes and dislikes. How old are they. Their attitudes toward your blog subjects and content. Why do they like your blog. No research is required. Once you have a readership in mind, if you blog consistently for them, they will find you. Having a target readership in mind also does wonders for blogging inspiration. The better you know your target readership, the more you'll be able to see how things that are happening in your life will be of interest to them. And the more you'll be able to write to them in a way that they will relate to better and improve their likeability of your blog. I'm not saying you should change your posts to suit a target readership, but you ought to bear them in mind if you ever find yourself debating whether you ought to post a certain entry (and every once in a while you will have that debate). Incidentally, if you ever find yourself wondering why you even have a blog in the first place, there's a good chance that your targeting is wrong. Changing your target readership by changing your style of writing and your content will probably lose your current readership, but it will help you keep blogging in the long run.

Which brings me to the point of consistency. You can post ten times a day or one time a week. It doesn't matter as long as you set up some readership expectations and continuously meet them. This issue is linked to how blogging fits into your real life. If you find you can't meet expectations or if you find yourself worrying about an empty blog, then you're in a rut. The fit is with your life is obviously not a good one and its time to make a change. But there are a few techniques you can use to manage the fit. You can post what journalists call filler articles that make up the space but don't require a lot of thinking. Try to find filler-type articles that by your choices also tells your readership something about you -- what you like to do or read about. And not just what you think they want to read. A lot of what I post are internet news and things I find of interest on the internet. These short articles fill in the space for me until something occurs to me to write about. I even maintain a backlog of news items of up to three days worth which my blog CMS releases at the time I specify it to. Having a backlog has the extra benefit of giving you breathing room to improve your posts through editing. It often occurs to me at some point that I can turn a phrase better and I go back to my post and improve it, thus improving my readership likeability at the same time. With a backlog I can edit it even before the post gets displayed on the blog.

As any celebrity agent will tell you, you are the brand. Whether you post anonymously or not, your readership will return for what they believe you and your posts represent to them. And for your readers to continuously return, you have to be both likeable to them and behave consistently toward them so as to earn their trust and their loyalty.

While I was researching this article, I came across this piece about consistency and finding your groove. Enjoy!

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