How to get your blog discovered – the hard way

A blogger, here in New Zealand, recently had to move his family after receiving death threats. The blog was also subject to a DOS attack. It was all reportedly triggered by comments about a car crash victim, which made a regional newspaper.

Hmmn

Hmmn

Readership’s all about discovery, these days, but for me this highlights a pitfall. Some bloggers make controversy part of their brand. But in general I doubt that building a repute as ‘shock jock’, breakfast radio style, is a way to build a sustained audience.

That also begs questions about image, brand and repute. What brand do you want, as a blogger? It’s a tough one. Blogs are international these days. Content that might attract an audience in one country can also turn an audience straight off in another.

Blogging also doesn’t necessarily mean tell-all stories – a practise that might well be disrespectful of the dignity of others. A blog is a public place, you have to treat anything on it as permanent and public  – and not all of us want to splash our family photos, names and every other detail of our lives, finances, medical adventures, home and work lives around the world. Nor is it wise to air our latest gripe about some transient issue that will be forgotten tomorrow  – though the fact that you publicly ranted about it won’t.

To me the key word is professionalism.

I wrote feature articles for decades before I got into blogging, including regular columns. For me, the blog is an extension of the skill and subject to the same parameters – including the scrabble for content. It involves the same brand. I blog specifically on a selected range of subjects.  Largely because it interests me – and I hope you find what I write interesting too.

How do you approach your blog? What sort of feedback do you get?

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2014

Coming up: writing tips, history, science and general mayhem. Maybe. Watch this space.

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22 comments on “How to get your blog discovered – the hard way

  1. I make introducing new (to me) Authors the kingpin of my blog, with writing /editing tips thrown in, interspersed with humour. But the underlying theme is fun, for authors and visitors alike – I actually only rarely make a personal appearance LOL :)

    • Fun is good. I think a large part of the attraction of blogs is their fun quotient – I think people go to them to be entertained as much as challenged or informed; and being informed in a fun way offers the best of both worlds. (Note to self – must up the fun quotient in mine…)

  2. Ensis says:

    This is a lesson I had to learn.
    I review books on my blog and, not placing much merit in a star system personally, I held a pass/fail standard–the fail option would be me recommending that people “DON’T READ” the books.
    As a result of learning from others and participating in discussions, I realized how inappropriate it was for me to discourage reading in any form.

    So I changed up the format–now I post things I like about a book and things I thought could be improved, and I leave out any form of result, encouraging others to pick up the book if what I’ve showed them sounds good to them.
    I’ve also been going back over old posts and deleting my ‘recommendations’ whether positive or negative.

    I ultimately feel better about it, and I feel others do too.

  3. jjspina says:

    I like what you write about especially to do with publishing, being an author, writing, etc. That is what my blog is about too. Your helpful hints and info into publishing has helped me in many ways.

    I have been blogging since December 2012 and still working and trying to figure out how to get more followers. I find I receive more traffic if I write about awards or my books and or when I share more about myself. I guess people like to know you better so want to learn about your personal life. I share what I think is important to my writing and not all the other stuff. Lol!

    • Thank you – and much appreciated! It’s difficult to figure out how to improve traffic. I am fairly certain the rules keep changing; but probably the biggest challenge is the ‘noise’ issue. We all have the same promotional tools and ‘volume’. Everything gets swamped. Stuff that goes viral does so for many reasons, none obvious ahead of time or, sometimes, afterwards. I haven’t figured out the answer to that one yet (and, given that the smartest marketing minds on the planet are working on it and haven’t found the solution, it’s pretty certain I never will…)

  4. I’ve decided to use my blog as a simple creative outlet. To have fun with it. If people read it, wonderful. If not, so be it. I’m no longer going to “sweat it” as they say.

    • And that decision has made your blog absolutely wonderful to read! Quality will out, and I think you’ll attract an audience. It’ll take time, but it’ll happen. I also think that the blogging game isn’t wholly about numbers; and if you can attract a core of interested, dimensional readers who engage with you – well, that’s an achievement that is not to be sniffed at. For myself, I find regular readers who I can engage with as people – who I can discuss things with – of far higher worth than anonymous ‘hits’ that register on my WordPress stats (some of which, I know, have to be bots). It’s all good.

  5. EagleAye says:

    For me, I hope I have a rep as a storyteller. Sometimes my political views, and thoughts about politicians, bleed into the stories. Generally I’ve avoided all that at the encouragement of my wife. I may not be widely known, but at least I’m not getting any DOSes either.

  6. L. Palmer says:

    Timelessness, respect for others, and professionalism are three things I aspire to in my blog. I try to write about things that will interest the audience I am going for, but also keep the topics positive, respectful, and fun. When I stumble on a blog with ‘shock’ content, I just close the tab and move on. There are a bajillion (approximate number) other blogs to go spend my time on.

    • All good values to blog with, which I share. Like you I never did understand the ‘troll’ or ‘shock persona’ approach. It works to create a brand… But notoriety is always a transient tool in the scrabble for profile. And like you, I don’t read that sort of stuff by choice.

  7. I love this topic. Fine thoughts, as usual, Matthew!

    I’m a big believer in authenticity; when we write what we’re compelled to, quality readers and growth will come. Yeah, borderline cheesy horoscope-sounding, but I believe it. :) Brand, for artists, IMO, is simply who we are – just as our writing voices are unique, so should out content be.

    • Thank you. I agree. I think the audience definitely engage better when the author shares something of themselves. This doesn’t necessarily mean personal details or the narrative of every aspect of their lives. But it does mean a genuineness of thought. Bloggers (and journalists) who construct a persona that is not them, I think, don’t have the same ring of authenticity. I think reason and reasonableness play a large part in the mix.

  8. Aside from my sharing artistic writing like stories and poetry I also address personal issues as they relate to me and allow those with similar interests to find me. Their finding me is a slow process, but that’s okay since blogging isn’t my primary function here. The feedback I receive varies, but it isn’t a lot. On the other hand, I’ve enjoyed a steady stream of new followers so that pleases me. If those who follow me are a quiet bunch that’s okay. :)

  9. Right now I don’t do any heavy blog marketing. I just regularly write posts that are helpful (in my view) for writers both drafting and editing. So far it hasn’t grown the audience much, and while I think the content is there to “back up” any promotion I do, I don’t know how to go about promoting.

    • Promotions are difficult even for major publishers with big advertising budgets. A few years ago a book of mine was published by Random House and pushed. It shot to the top 5 on the best seller list here in NZ. Part of that was the fantastic job the publisher did on promotion. But part was also national engagement with that promotion and then the book. This last is something that cannot be so easily predicted.

  10. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    I would hope those that find something offensive or rude in any blog, would question it. Since I’m not well-traveled out of the US, how am I to know what might upset an Englishman or Australian? It is never my intent to be rude or insulting, but I’m not going to try to please everyone. That would be impossible.

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