4 things I’ve learned about blogging

I’ve always loved writing.

So having the ability to blog is fantastic.

I know a lot of other bloggers write for pleasure and many, like me, have a blog that supports our professional  life with some business goals attached.

This blog has evolved over the years as my career and goals have changed and I have learned a lot. When I started this blog (in Blogger) in August 2009 I wasn’t sure what it was going to be – only that as a social media professional  it’d be a good idea for me to experience blogging and keep learning. So my posts were random notes about things like Art Guilt and whether to stand at a rock concert and not necessarily about social media.

Prakky's blogging keyboard: Hipstamatic style
Prakky’s blogging keyboard: Hipstamatic style

Since 2009, here’s some interesting things I’ve learned about blogging:

  1. Readers love personal stories. And this can be difficult to achieve in a business-focused blog. But you can bring personal anecdotes into your posts, in particular in your intros, and via stories of what was happening to you when you formed the idea for a post. My most popular (and Freshly Pressed) post was quite personal and about growing up. I almost didn’t publish it. I didn’t think it fit the remit of this blog, but you know what .. lots of people loved reading it. And it’s a salient reminder that people like stories; and a reminder that we can share some of ourselves with our audiences and clients.
  2. Passion makes for easier writing, but not necessarily a more popular piece. Sometimes I’ll get sudden inspiration for a post, excitedly type for 10 fluid minutes and hit Publish and be absolutely certain that it’ll gain a lot of readers. I was so passionate about the topic, surely they would be! But I’m sad to say that’s not always the case. You could put it down to timing, or just the reality that not everyone’s passionate about the same things as you. So while the post may have been super-easy to write, that doesn’t guarantee success.
  3. You never know how people will react. This is closely related to the point above. I’ve been surprised by what works and what doesn’t work. That’s the nature of social media – compare blogs to YouTube clips for example. The content quality varies and you cannot predict what will go viral (even though you might have used ‘all the right techniques’).
  4. Your post might get a lot of readers and shares, but zero comments. This can be a downer. It’s nice to have readers and that’ a great indicator of popularity and interest. But let’s be honest: we crave comments too, don’t we? We’re here for a bit of conversation. So for example, my previous post about the parody Kevin Rudd Twitter account was a hot link on Bitly and had hundreds of views yesterday afternoon. How many comments? Zilch. I’ve learned that in some cases, people just want to read what you’ve said. They don’t have anything to add. Writing a comment is a big commitment. And that’s okay.

Are you a blogger, too? What have you learned about blogging?

It goes without saying … I’d welcome your comments!

19 thoughts on “4 things I’ve learned about blogging

  1. I find points 2 and 3 mystifying and annoying. Facebook is no different, people love twaddle but anything truly important can be ignored. But 20+ years ago I wrote what I thought was the crappiest mundane letter to a friend, but it became one of her favourites. (that made me think, wow I can write!)

    1. Me too!

      I should say, while reactions to blogs can be unpredictable, there are also some ‘ingredients for success’ like clear writing, an interesting angle, images, hyperlinks, sharing on the right platforms and so on. But then it’s always over to the readers …

  2. I feel bad now if I read this and don’t comment lol

    I don’t blog myself but were just about to introduce a company blog so Im keenly interested in reading the stories from those that already do

    Thanks for writing about your experiences

  3. I’m one of your many readers guilty of never commenting. My excuse, there’s too much wonderful content (yours included), inspiring in me comments I don’t have time to type. And, I loath rushed comments/likes etc., because too often they sound trite. All said – thanks for your insights and information sharing.

    PS – my 13 yr old son is an Alienware convert – quality graphics, a diverse range of mainstream and indie games are written for this platform

      1. Actually, our family gather to play tournaments of Super Streetfighter 4 on our son’s Alienware. Mindless fun for all : )

  4. Great article Michelle! I think more & more bloggers today are motivated more so from a business point of view, rather than a social or personal one. Even though my personal insurance blog has a business focus to it, I think you need to enjoy or love blogging otherwise it won’t show in your posts & readers will definitely pick up on that.

    I feel that my blog has evolved over time & I’ve learnt that your style changes & improves with experience. I think with blogging, you will either give up after a few weeks or blog over your life time!

  5. interesting reflections – I have also found that it is hard to predict feedback and that comments don’t always reflect stats – but isn’t it gratifying when a post you thought would be popular is as well received as you hoped (even if it is fate rather than good planning)!!!!

  6. I’ve only just started this blogging thing, and I’m fast learning (although I did suspect) that a lot of what’s popular and what isn’t is down to pure luck or randomness. It’s very difficult to find something to write about that #1 I’m passionate about, #2 people will be interested in, and #3 will be timed/worded in such a way as to grab people’s attention. Ironically I actually managed this with my very first two posts, but not since!

    Certainly when I share photographs online I often find that people really like the ones that I wasn’t very impressed with, and pretty much ignore the ones that I was actually really pleased with. I guess the lesson is, try not to have expectations!

  7. I completely agree with the fourth point. I have been blogging for a few years now, and although I have a minuscule amount of views on each post, I always feel like I’m not really connecting with anyone as no one comments. It can be really hard to continue blogging if no one interacts with you, and some times I start to wonder if there is any point in blogging if I don’t have an audience. Michelle, do you have any advice on getting people to your blog and getting them involved? 🙂

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