Platform Building 206: Decide Your Blog Topic and Style

Janalyn Voigt continues her series on Platform Building.

When it comes to deciding a topic for your blog, do you feel as perplexed as a person attempting to cross a swollen stream in the springtime? Stepping into blogging can be overwhelming. As soon as you make the decision to blog, you’re faced with a series of further decisions. Blog through an online host or through your website? What should you blog about? What style of blog? How often should you blog? What fonts, backgrounds and colors are best?

My purpose in this series is not to provide a detailed instructional for blogging but rather to point the way and give you a boost in the right direction. Some things come through trial and error, and finding your groove in blogging tends to be one of them. I can provide a little guidance, however, and point out the stepping stones across that seemingly impassable stream.

We’ve already covered the blog hosting issue here. I suggest you blog two or three times a week.  My blog traffic stays high for about two days, then falls away if I don’t post again. I track traffic to my blog free through http://www.google.com/analytics/. You can monitor real-time feedback through http://sitemeter.com.

I recommend you install a site monitor of some kind or you will feel like you are talking to yourself. It’s important to know if and when others read your blog posts, and not everyone will leave a comment. Your fonts, colors and backgrounds should reflect both your blog’s topic and style.

  • Personal: This style focuses on your personal life. Such an approach can work for a writer, especially one who writes fiction, because fans are curious about the personal lives of writers. Cautions: First, it’s easy to disclose more about yourself than you should. (Jody Hedlund posted on this subject: click here .) Second, talking endlessly about yourself might bore even you.

  • Collaborative: You blog with others, usually along a preset theme. This has obvious time advantages and also adds the strength of more than one perspective to your topic. Author Haven is, more or less, a collaborative blog. I have more ownership of it than most collaborative blogs, and do all the background maintenance, but as far as posting goes, others lend their hands to mine.
  • Videocast: (vlogging) A video, often a tutorial or other teaching, videocasting offers many of the same benefits for writers that podcasting does. It also helps a writer train for television interviews. More about videocasting in advanced platform building (300 series).
  • Topical: This type of blog is about a particular topic. It could discuss hot trends in the publishing industry as many agent blogs do. Book Readers Central is an example of a topical blog. It covers books and targets readers.
  • Podcast: A podcast is an audio blog. Many bloggers offer a podcast version of a text post. Others let the podcast stand alone. Podcasting offers a number of benefits for writers, including advanced placement of blogs in search engines and practice for radio interviews. We’ll get into podcasting when we move to advanced platform building (300 series).

Remember that your blog is one plank of a platform to support your writing goals. Knowing your purposes and identifying goals will inform your choices in all things, including blog topic.

Homework
Decide your blog topic and type. If you haven’t already identified your purposes and goals, do that first. Now, ask yourself some questions. What defines you? What do you feel passionate about? What could you talk about at length and not weary of hearing yourself speak? What do others seem to want most from you? What subject (or subjects) will take you closer to your goals?

How about you? What style of blog draws you most?

© 2010 Janalyn Voigt

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This post appeared February 16, 2010 on Author Haven. Used by kind permission.

Janalyn Voigt writes  novel books.

“Flower of Life” by Janalyn Voigt, in THE BOOK OF SYLVARI, Summer 2011.

DAWNSINGER, book one of her TALES OF FAERAVEN trilogy, will release with Port Yonder press in Autumn 2011.

Other publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press and Pentecostal Evangel. Janalyn is affiliated with ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and has been a NCWA member since 2008.  Visit her website.

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