There are at least two types of blog posts. One addresses a current issue, and the issue and the post are likely to be here today and gone tomorrow. This includes most of the blogs in which individuals tell you what happened to them that day ― which are really just extensions of social media sites like Twitter and Reddit, or are places people can write their thoughts with some hope of copyright protection, now that FaceBook seems to own (or at least retain) everything we post over there. They also include posts in which pundits tell you about the latest techno development, the latest way to use Search Engine Optimization, how to prepare your taxes, or what a blinking idiot Romney has been, as well as posts that have no specific purpose outside of attracting you to the blog itself (e.g., giveaways and contests).
Other kinds of posts are written to last.
I was thinking yesterday that most of the blog posts I write are in the latter category. They are intended to be strong and enduring and meaningful in a “bigger picture” kind of way. I spend hours poring over them, getting every thought and word and sentence as right as I can make it before I press “publish.” The series of posts I write on my I’m All Write blog, such as those I wrote about my trip to India, fall into this category, as do most of my Militant Writer posts.
These are the kinds of articles I might have tried a few years ago to find a magazine or newspaper to publish, but now I never much bother with the effort. Editorial staff at magazines and newspapers take way too long to reply, if they respond at all — and if they do, they tend to be dismissive, curt, even rude (not all of them, but a lot of them. They’re busy people, don’t you know?, with a whole lot of crap such as mine to read through). Even if they do publish what you’ve written, you’re only going to get paid a few dollars, if anything. Why bother going to all that trouble? I’ve got as many people coming to my blogs now as would probably read my articles in a magazine, and from very diverse audiences and geographies. I love the feedback I get from them.
I’d rather have all of my writing on my own blogs (in addition to the Militant Writer, which I consider my “flagship” blog, I have several others, including I’m All Write, a book review/essay blog and Blogging Tips where this article originally appeared). More and more people have become regular readers of my blogs and if they are reading me on my own blog page and liking what they read, that will — I hope — bring them back to my blog for more, lead them to my other blogs, attract them to my businesses (one of which — btw — is helping people write really effective grant applications, and another is helping people write really effective books and articles), and ultimately — I hope — the solid writing in my posts will interest them in reading my books (next one — The Whole Clove Diet — coming soon!).
When you are writing blog posts that are intended to last, it is worth the effort to make the language “sing.” I try to keep in mind that someone might be reading what I’ve written two or three or 20 years down the road. My blog post, ‘The Talent Killers: How Literary Agents are Destroying Literature and What Publishers Can Do To Stop Them” is almost three years old, but it attracts new readers to my Militant Writer blog every day. The only difference between then and now is that whereas three years ago, most of the new readers were dumping on me for that post (check out the early Comments, LOL!), today most of them agree with me. Times have changed.
If you’re writing daily updates just to attract people to your blog, you need to post regularly or they’ll stop coming back. If you are writing something meaningful and useful, you can post once a week or once every six months, because readers will subscribe to your feed or to your blog and they will come back on their own.
It is the greatest feeling in the world to develop a loyal following of readers, and even though it does take a lot of work over a period of several years — as I’ve invested in mine, and always with great pleasure — I find it’s a lot easier to do that with my very own series of blog posts than if I am writing for various magazines. This way, people know who I am, and they know where to find me.
Thank you for finding me. :)