When I say prolific bloggers, we might think of people like Seth Godin or Heather Armstrong.
These people blog full time and have thousands of people reading every word they say, the moment they say it.
Being a famous blogger is that part recognition for a talent, part interaction with adoring fans (and not so adoring ones I’m sure). It’s what we all kind of want to be when we start blogging: fame without the paparazzi.
Being Seth or Heather though is kind of like being John Mayer or Etta James. These people have reached the top of their field and are making lots of money excelling. But there are only x number of people who get here and it’s part work, part timing, and part luck.
I know plenty of working musicians who are not household names with million dollar contracts. There is plenty of room between destitute wannabe and internationally known rock star.
And many prolific bloggers fit in an in between category. Not famous. Prolific.
While not everyone who blogs can be famous, I encourage everyone who blogs to at least try to be prolific. I try. I might not always get there but I try.
What are my guidelines for trying to be prolific, you ask?
- Is what I’m saying new? There are a million blog posts about, say, the birth of the royal baby. I’m not going to regurgitate the same basic information that’s on every news site if I have a lifestyle blog. A comparison of the royal baby to Kim Kardashian’s new baby? Or an interview with my friends Mike and Lynne who had their baby at the same time as the royal baby about how the coverage affected their birth? That’s giving the royal baby story a new angle. If you are a blogger, you are not trying to be The New York Times or CNN (unless you are breaking a crazy story you have firsthand knowledge of, in which case go for it!). You are trying to say something new. So make it new, somehow. If you can’t, there might not be enough of a story there.
- Is what I’m saying helpful? The other thing I try to do, even if I am writing some silly first-person story, is have some message or universal truth. I ask myself, can a stranger learn something from this? If the answer is no, there is always some framing I can do. The story about my father’s birthday can be tied to Youtube (they have the same birthday) and how much the internet has changed in such a short time since he passed. See, it’s still a personal story but it’s one a stranger who didn’t know my father can now read and get something out of.
- Would I link to this blog post? This question implies the blog post is interesting, not completely self centered, and also that it follows the ‘rules’ blogs have. The first two ideas there are self explanatory but what do I mean by blogging rules? I mean writing a blog in the style of a blog. Blogs people link to are as much about good formatting as subject. I’m kind of long winded for a blogger but I try to help my reader out with bold text for the important parts and at least one image per post to keep things fun and kicky.
See I told you I could show you fun and kicky on this blog. 🙂
- Is someone not like me reading this? So I don’t like overalls or Family Guy (actually I feel like more than dislike I just don’t ‘get’ either of those two things). There are other things I feel ‘meh’ about. But by writing negative blog posts about either, all I’m doing is making fans of those things angry or making the people who think ‘who cares?’ go elsewhere to be entertained. By thinking of people not like myself, I am thinking about not being 1) negative or 2) inaccessible. Inaccessible meaning trying to be too intellectual, using too many cultural references without explanation, and other things that make people read your stuff and not ‘get’ it. If someone with completely opposite religious/political/overall-wearing beliefs can read my blog, that’s a good thing.
I use these questions as an informal checklist I ask myself before I press publish on each blog.
Is there anything else you feel prolific bloggers do that I might not have included in my list? If so please share in the comments!