Thursday 7 June 2012

What I Know About Blogging

1. Be Yourself. 

Sounds obvious. But most of the time everyone is trying to be everyone else. Trying to shape their reviews to sound like that guy from The Guardian, or they're trying to replicate the style of already established magazines/websites (perhaps in the hope of getting a job). The blogosphere is flooded, there are too many of us. The only way you stand out is to be YOURSELF.

2. Being Yourself Is What Brings You Your CORE AUDIENCE.

Your core audience are those people who comment on all your posts. Who read every article. Who feel you like are an extension of THEM in some way. Your CORE AUDIENCE is never big. After a few months of blogging, you may have ONE. After two years you may have NINE. But these are the people you're writing for. And I don't mean you have to try to write specifically for them, you just have to truly write for yourself; by being yourself. That stuff resonates, and that is the kind of writing which makes people stick around. Your core audience will grow gradually in time.

3. Focus on the Specifics. 

I once wrote articles solely about 'The Apartment' for a week. By the end I had a valuable insight, that even though many of my readers didn't care for it, 1% were PASSIONATE about it. It became a motto of mine; write for the 1%. The 1% who truly GET IT. They'll share the articles, they'll tweet about them, they'll tell their friends. When we ALL write about the latest Tarantino movie, we become part of the flood; and nobody cares.

4. Write on Popular Topics. 

Yes I'm hypocritical. This is the exact opposite of rule number 3. But the fact of the matter is; I can write four hundred articles about unknown films and get three new visitors. Or I can write about the American Pie Franchise and get thousands of visitors. Occasionally; you should definitely write about things which are either popular or topical, because they're things the wider world are processing. And your view on them may well be unique.

BUT, if you solely blog about the things everyone else blogs about, you'll be lost in the onslaught. Pick the moments that resonate with you. I wrote about 'American Pie' because I absolutely love it.  The new visitors it brought to me were a bonus. Many of them have stuck around.

5. Don't Accept Advertising Offers For Small Amounts of Money from Unrelated Businesses. 

After you've been blogging for a while; you'll start to get offers from insurance companies and loan companies offering you $89 to put an advert on your site for six months. It seems like free money; but you're hurting yourself in the long run.

Firstly; it will annoy your readers. Secondly, Google will penalise you. Because they know when a website has integrity; they know when things are as they should be. If you're writing a blog about movies and you have links to a dodgy site about life insurance; Google will take you less seriously and no-one will ever find you in Google searches.

6. Vary Article Length. 

People want short and sharp bits of entertainment. They also want to sit down for twenty minutes to read something lengthy and intelligent. Celebrate both sides of yourself. Write at length about your passions and subjects you have expertise in, but also share errant thoughts, ideas and pictures.

7. Make Peace With The Fact That Sometimes People Do Not Care

It's like with movies; you never know what will connect and what won't. Sometimes you'll pour your heart into something, and nobody will read it. Maybe your core audience are on holiday, or maybe people are just feeling quiet, or maybe what you wrote sucked. It's just part of it. If you're going to be a writer; you have to know that sometimes people just aren't around to witness it. Make peace with that inside yourself.

8. Take a Break. 

Your writing is so much better when you've taken a rest from churning out material.

9. Be Personal 

Share your hopes. Your anxieties. Your worries. Your dreams. The internet has a way of being so impersonal; but we are here to CONNECT. If you're yourself and you connect in a personal way, people will stick around.

10. Enjoy it. 

It's only blogging. Have fun with it. If it's stressing you out, refer to rule 8.

Care to share?


  1. Love it. This screenwriting project has me refocused on writing in general. I've had more ideas for everything from blog posts to music articles.

    I love to write about connections I see in pop culture or things that inspire me. I wrote a movie review, that I haven't published yet, but I may just because it was my first one.

  2. Hmmmm interesting post, perhaps written for writers? I blog to get it out of my system, to put down in words stuff that is in my head to keep from forgetting it.

    To be honest I couldn't care less if people read it or not, I am only writing for myself really because it helps a lot on my art in a strange way. So thus I do not care if I have 8 followers or 8,000 though I think I prefer 2 :) The only stats I look at are the geographical ones, not the numbers but what countries readers are from. I find that fascinating!

    I really like 2 above. It is true isn't it. I really value those core readers so much they are my friends now and appreciate them. It is great when you get to meet too.

    I disagree with 4 though, personally speaking.

    And 10 yes indeed. Or why do it at all?

    Thanks for such a thoughtful post.

    1. Yeah, this is written for people who like to have readers! Of course if you're blogging like it's your own personal diary then yeah, do whatever you want. Perhaps even use the WingDings font! :)

  3. 'Write for my 1%' is keeps me writing.

  4. I loved your post and you are right about everything, especially about being yourself and enjoying it, those are the most important things!

  5. Great insights as always. I think Rule #1 is key as that's what separates us bloggers from the professional movie sites out there who are driven by studios or advertisers. I try to write from the heart as much as I can, even if my opinion is not popular. Thank you for this.

    1. Totally agree! The blogs I love the most are PERSONAL, you KNOW the writer!

  6. Fantastic post! I never compromise my length of reviews and articles as I have the blog to voice out my entire opinion, without compromises. It's part of 'be yourself' thing :)

  7. Ive got to admit its been tough for me lately, but I stick to many of those rules - namely writing for yourself and in the way you enjoy writing. But I have a feeling it is a niche market!

  8. Sometimes I think I follow number 9 a little too much.

  9. This is amazing. Is it OK if I share this on my blog?

    1. Yeah of course; go for it! By reference this blog in some way, if you can, thanks!

  10. One of the best articles on blogging I ever read. I'm glad I found out #10 myself - it's so true.

  11. Great insight there man. I'm guilty of a few that you mention but find I'm far more happy when I stick to what I enjoy and don't let my opinion become one if the masses.