We live in a world that puts a high premium on what people think. This is both a fortunate development and an unfortunate reality (some people's inner thoughts are best kept to themselves.). What better way to let the whole world know how you feel about a topic or range of topics than starting a blog? Putting your feelings, ideas, and notions about the inner-workings of the world on the public chopping block. The idea itself is harmless and pretty much mindless. Find a topic of interest, -a theme if you will; a trendy blogger site to host your content, rack your brain for a witty title and WUA-LA! You've got a blog. Why then is there is such a high blogger attrition rate? And by attrition rate I mean, a decrease in the numbers of people, everyday people who don't blog for a living, writing blogs. Without loosing much sleep over this particular enigma, I decided to take a look at what it REALLY takes to run a successful blog. NOTE: These suggestions come from perusing lots and lots of blogs, I don't consider my blog to be among those considered "successful."
1) Convictions and Boldness- Ha! Herein lies the #1 reason-besides time- that people don't blog. They are intimiated by their own thoughts. Because with convictions and boldness come vulnerability. We THINK that if we only had an opportunity and a platform to give people a piece of our minds, we would. Truth is, many us are SCARED to submit their thoughts and ideas to public judgement. To be an effective blogger, you must go where no man has gone, talk about something that none is talking about....yet. Either because it's a controversial issue or because some folks just don't have the right words. You'd be surprised how many people are waiting to say AMEN to something they were afraid to say in the first place.
2) A Denial of Self- There are certain parts of yourself that will be exposed either consciously or subconsciously when you write a blog. Be prepared to have your subconscious leaked on paper. Some things that need to be said have nothing to do with you, other times, something that needs to be said causes you to disagree with yourself.
3) REGULARITY!- Unless you run a food blog, no one wants to know what you ate for breakfast, or which sidewalk your dog pooped on during your daily walk... unless, of course you're Kim Kardashian. Write with the sense of urgency, that the world needs to hear what you Having said that, your readers should expect to hear from you with some level of frequency.
4) Relevance: The best writers, and I'm sure this has been said before, are those who read. I read-not as much as I'd like to- everything from Cosmo to CNN online to a number of other blogs. It's funny how reading an article or some trivial piece of gossip can spark a 4 paragraph dissertation on what's wrong with the world.
5) A Unique Voice- There are lots of blogs out there. And unfortunately, alot of people talking about the same thing, with no real distinct voice. Taking a side on an issue, stating an ambition, or using your background (cultural, economic, or educational) to defend your position puts an inherently interesting spin on things. What's your vantage point?
6) Passion- Starting a blog because everyone else is doing it pretty much ensures that your blog will be around for about 3 months. Find a REASON to write and make sure that it's some that you are passionate about. I'd say that to be a blogger you have to be passionate about writing, but I'd probably disagree with myself. It's your topic that you must be passionate about.
7) Measure success on your own terms- You don't have to write a post everyday, and every entry doesn't have to be a ground breaking solution to the world's problems. You don't have to have 100 followers, you don't even have to have 10. Measure the effectiveness of your blog my what you aim to accomplish. Is it spotlighting new restaurants in Atlanta? Following fashion trends in culture? Or is it sparking dialogue about tough societal issues and trends? Whatever your aim, go at it! And you can consider yourself successful!
**Notice that I didn't list excellent technical writing skills or natzi-like attention to grammar** A basic understanding of such things is, of course, necessary; however, skilled writing takes time. So, for all of you out there considering joining the blogosphere or picking up where the blog entry that you wrote 10 years ago left off, welcome...and welcome back! For those of you observing the world, taking it in breathing it back out into the blogosphere, BLOG on! :-)