Just as writers write for many different kinds of reasons, bloggers create blogs with all kinds of purposes and goals in mind: from taking the blogosphere by storm by reporting on the latest in Quantum Leap memorabilia shows to keeping Aunt Tilly and the kids up to date about barbeque shindigs up by the lake, from musing about personal crises and day-to-day events to raging against the political machine.
Guest blogger Tony Hung over at ProBlogger takes a look at five prerequisites to blogging success. Among them is the need to write and publish consistently and well, the need to publicize the blog far and wide, and to be interesting. The points that I found to be the most interesting had to do with knowing your audience and then creating a blog aimed at this group that is "focused like a laser." Particularly striking is this line: "Blogs that are wishy-washy, who don’t know who they are, who change their kind of writing 'voice' repeatedly, who vascillate [sic] on their opinions, who introduce nonsensical and unrelated topics are blogs that will find it difficult to succeed."
I suppose this hit home for me because focusing on one topic or even subject area is something that I've never had great success in doing. For some time I relegated myself to writing (mostly) about politics, television, and the doings of the Internet world. However, over time I realized that my time was too limited to hope to keep up with even these three subject areas in such a way that I could write about all of them consistently and with a level of expertise that allowed me to write something unique and compelling and valuable to readers.
I've probably also been influenced by reading some number of marketing-related blogs of late, many of which advise bloggers to come up with your "elevator pitch," the quick answer to the question, "So what's your blog-thing all about then?" Guy Kawasaki has a wonderful elevator (and life) pitch, by the way: empower entrepreneurs.
So there's always an interesting convergence between artistic expression and commerce, creativity and marketing. The Internet is a wonderful place for many things, one of which being that it's a space to ramble on into the electronic night if that's what does you. When you start to try to figure out how to write about something you're passionate about and that an audience will find interesting and follow is when the scenario gets far more interesting.
And intriguing. It's a fascinating game, one that boils down to how to do something you love (writing and the online medium) while finding people that will come along for the ride. I've long thought that writing (and all forms of creative expression, really) is an ego-driven form: you must possess the firm belief that the words that you create and get (somehow) in front of another's eyes will be something of value to that other person.
Whether I end up focusing mostly on Internet and "web 2.0" doings or encounter some mini-revelation down the road (I simply must tell the world about the latest in circus sideshow technologies!)… which, whether I like it or not, seems to happen every so often, I'll endeavor to keep some focus and do whatever it is I do consistently and well.