Writing for a blog is like writing for any other form, you have highs and lows in terms of producing content. What’s important is that you remain consistent in the numbers and length of posts that you produce. People are far more likely to respond positively to what you have to say if they have some idea of what they can expect from you.
This doesn’t mean you have to pigeonhole yourself into producing only certain types of posts. What it does mean is that you have an obligation to be smart about how you use the content you produce to create a better experience for your readers.
For example, I would definitely describe myself as a bipolar blogger. That is, I have manic episodes of producing stacks and stacks of content – my mind is buzzing with ideas for posts, I’ve got the time to get them written, I don’t have too many distractions. But there are also times when I’ve got blogger’s block and can’t bring myself to produce anything. The trick is to try and manage the ebb and flow of my content creation to try and appear more consistent, even if I’m not.
It helps that the blogging I do can be split into two main categories. Firstly, there are posts like this one, longer, maybe more thoughtful and most importantly, time unspecific. Quite frankly I could post this entry today, or next week, or next month, and it wouldn’t lose (or gain) relevance as a result.
The second type of blogging I do is more news based, whether it be reviews of new services, reports of goings-on in the world of web 2.0 gleaned from sources like TechCrunch which are shorter, to the point and very time specific.
If I am in a manic writing mood, I try and get as many of the longer posts written as possible, and save them on my desktop PC for use later on. I don’t post them all in one go – it would be a waste because, if nothing else, readers won’t pay attention if ten massive articles appear on one day in their reader. Instead, I hoard the non-time critical articles for blogging slumps, when I might be struggling for time or concentration to write them.
WordPress, the blogging platform I use here, provides two ways in which I can store the blog hoard online. One is simply to add posts and save them as drafts, only clicking the publish button when the time is right. Another option, which is great if you are going away, is to publish a post with a future date on it. This means the post will only hit the front page on the date one specifies, thus automating the publishing process to a certain extent.
As for the time specific news posts, well, I consider them to be non-critical to the blog. Most people that read DavePress will read other blogs too, and while my efforts to put my own spin on them might help people see how they could use certain technologies or why developments are relevant to them, I don’t think folk would miss them if the bigger bits are still being produced. So, when I am terribly busy, good quality content is still being produced, albeit it’s all of a longer nature than the short bursts of news.
Of course, it’s quite possible that trying to manage my bipolar blogging will break down at some point – like an extended period of struggling to find the time to write – but by stretching out the longer posts over time, I can hopefully make this a less likely occurrence.
What about your blogging? Are you a bipolar blogger – or can you achieve effortless consistency (if so, then I hate you)?