15 January 2009

Blogging Tips : Don’t be afraid to be a little Bossy on Your Blog.

Over the weekend I was reminded that sometimes readers just like being told what to do.

In my post How to Launch a Blog and Have Fresh Content for Weeks I was asked by a reader for advice on how much content to write before launching a blog.

When I sat down to write that post I had two choices:

1. I could have written a post with fairly general advice filled with good principles. The main headings would have gone something like:

  • Have Some Posts Already Published on Your Blog
  • Have a Few Posts Saved as Drafts
  • Have a List of Topics/Titles that You can Write in Future

This post would have gone pretty well. The advice is sound and readers would have been able to take it and apply it to their own situation.

2. I could have written a post with specific instructions - telling readers what to do. In fact this is what I did - the main headings were:

  • 5 Posts Already Published
  • 5 Draft Posts
  • 20 Post Ideas

This post had the same ‘principles’ and teaching that the more general post would have had - but it also had specific instructions on how many posts I would advise starting a new blog with.

While I encouraged readers to take the numbers and adapt them to their own situations having the numbers of posts seemed to really connect with readers both in comments and the emails I received over the weekend. One email read:

“Thanks for your post on starting a blog. I am about to launch a blog and now have a blueprint for preparing my content. I no longer feel that I’m stumbling around in the dark.”

This sentiment was echoed in a number of emails. What struck me about it is that my first draft of the post was not specific at all. It followed option #1 above and was quite general.

My natural inclination is to write about general principles and let readers interpret them for their own situation - but I’m constantly reminded that many readers like to be told what to do and how to do it - they respond to specifics.

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