The Who, What, Where and When of Blogging

handsBlogging is personal and interactive. Knowing who your audience is and what they want is the key to developing quality content. Once you are in the know you have a focus for your writing and social networking. Instead of thinking, “What should I blog about today?” you will have the beginnings of a blogging plan.*

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Who are you writing for and what is your message?

For your blog to be successful, you must fulfill the needs and expectations of those you are writing for ie. your target audience. Identifying your target audience, what they already know, what they need to know, and the best way to deliver your message is critical to blogging success.

  1.  How would you describe the type of readers you hope to attract?
  2. What do you know about the writing and reading skills and backgrounds of the type of readers you hope to attract?
  3. What is most important to them?
  4. What are they least likely to care about?
  5. What do you want them to think, learn, or assume about you?
  6. What impression do you want your writing to convey to them?

Where is your target audience?

heartmediabar
Social Media is a fusion of sociology and technology, that transforms one-to-one communication into one-to-many communication. If you’re new social media I recommend Social Media and Social Networking Plain and Simple.

 “Strategic Listening” is integral to our lives and becoming better listeners is integral to creating interesting fresh content and a vibrant blog discussion climate. You can use both your skills and online tools to listen what’s being said about any topic before you write about it and publish. – Blog It Ideas Checklist Renewed

People of all ages use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus — their interaction is an integral part of their social and business lives. If you connect and interact with your audience by using the social networking sites and tools they are using, then with a single click or tap they can share this with their entire network of friends.

You will never “find” time for anything. If you want time, you must make it. — Charles Bruxton

7.  How much time do you have to locate similar sites and comment meaningfully (daily, weekly, monthly)?
8.  Where are your desired readers currently gathering online?
9.  What opportunities do those locations offer for you to build your presence there?
10. How much time do you have to promote your blog via social networking (daily, weekly, monthly)?

What is your publishing schedule?

desktopYour writing focus can be easily lost when things you have yet to do are on your mind. Most often, there is no way to get those things out of your mind so you can concentrate on content creation unless you organize them and schedule them. Likewise your writing focus can also be easily lost if you get caught up in social networking unless you organize, create a schedule and stick to it.

 

Read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and convince yourself of the value of scheduling your blogging. The best promotion and the best chance of success you can give yourself is to publish quality work on a regular basis. As Pressfield says, “It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write”.

Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. — M. Scott Peck

Only when you value your time and invest it wisely will you be free to

  • write freely about what you have a passion for;
  • write freely about what you have professional experience or expertise in;
  • write freely about something you’ve learned and want to teach to others;
  • write freely about something new you are doing.

Getting organized

datebookThe more organized you are, the better you manage your time, and the more effective you can become. Whether you use Google calendar, a wall calendar, a whiteboard, or a day planner – you need a place to schedule your date-sensitive information. Consider a spreadsheet template that lets you print out a planner page for every day of the year, or make one with lots or room for notes.

The key is in not spending time, but in investing it. — Stephen R. Covey

Determine what you want to accomplish in each month, week and day and create an editorial calendar. Set your goals for the month. Decide how frequently you intend to publish on a weekly basis, and determine the tasks necessary to achieve them. Prioritize the tasks. Create a timeline schedule allowing for the time you need for research, content creation, commenting and social networking. Add a little “padding” to your timeline and avoid leaving the writing of a blog post until the day it’s due to be published. Try to be at least a day ahead of schedule, so when the unexpected happens you still make your schedule.

Before you begin to blog, answering  the 10 key questions is this article focused on who you are blogging for, what you intend to express, where to find your target audience, and when to publish are key to your success.

* This post has been updated and republished. It was originally published on December 29, 2011 as Key Questions for Bloggers.

Related posts:
Creating an Effective Blog Tagline
Why About Pages are Essential
Creating an Effective Blog Description
6 Traits of Successful Bloggers
8 Tips for Effective Blogging
Better Blogging: Powerful, Persuasive Writing
Top 5 Informative Writing Tips for Bloggers
Finding Blogs with Similar Content
9 Guides for Beginning Your New Blog

38 thoughts on “The Who, What, Where and When of Blogging

  1. I think it’s human nature to “start shooting” without a target– no wonder we waste so much time. Thanks for reminding us of a vital truth: have a purpose before jumping into anything.

    Loved the quotes, especially the M. Scott Peck one about needing to respect both yourself and your time. My time on your blog is always well spent, TT! : )

      1. Thanks for getting back to me; I tried the forums, but could not find anything to help–tried several different topics, but couldn’t find anything specific to my problem

        1. I’m sorry that’s the case but I’m finding it increasingly more difficult to make the time to blog in. I spend far too many hours answering support forum questions, rather than blogging. That has to change so I don’t lose my enjoyment of blogging and become tempted to quit doing both.

          1. I understand, trying to figure out the problem myself. Started by changing the address, but still didn’t work :(

            Thanks for getting back to me though–go have fun blogging :)

  2. I agree with this but I also think it is a little bit of luck, we are putting ourselves out there and people will not only fall in love with your content but with the blogger themselves, maybe this is specific to the type of blogging that I’m used to which would be fashion bloggers who grew up as teens in blogging and have over the years made a great amount of income from posting. This field is so competitive now, that I’m worried that hardly no one else who has this dream will be able to enter this world.

    I blog out of love and it’s really fun for me and that’s enough but a little part of me does want to interact with a audience who are almost like common friends who share their ideas with you back. I’m not sure but unless there is high quality content with lots of money spent these days. The type blogging that I’m into is almost impossible for a girl like me. Any tips?Anyone..?

    1. Hi Beatrice,
      Making money from blogging has never been my thing. I detest advertising on blogs so I have No-Ads upgrades to keep ads off my blogs. I do agree that competition is fierce in your niche and in others as well but I strongly believe that if you are passionate, positively focused, purposeful and productive your blog will attract a supportive readership. Once you have engaged a small number of readers they will tell their friends who tell their friends and so on. Stay strong and blog on!

  3. Great tips, timethief. I know that I’m all over the board – posting stories about movies, about my reporting days, my family and nature photos. These are all things that I feel passionate about.

    But, looking at the numbers, I’m not sure what draws people in. I will check the stats more carefully based on your advice. ;-)

    1. Your are a skilled and engaging storyteller and the brand you are creating is based on that and your experiences as a teacher and reporter, Judy. I know what to expect when visiting your blog and it’s a well told story. :)

      1. Now, timethief, that’s about the sweetest thing any one has ever said about my writing. Thank you. I’m not even sure what to expect when I sit down at the computer, but I do love to tell a story … and share some photos. ;-)

  4. Hello I needed some advice from you if you don’t mind, a big decision blogging wise to make and wanted your professional input its semi what we talked about before. x Are you around? :-)

    1. I hope you received my email and I apologize for not being available. I’m so over-extended that adding the smallest thing to my list would make the house of cards that my schedule has become fall down.

      1. It’s ok I think I did but yikes I was so tired and feeling half blind that as I was whizzing through emails on my phone and deleting them I accidentally deleted yours and couldn’t find it again then felt too embarrassed to fess up lol! It’s ok I know you are really busy :-) hugs xx

        1. I have reduced my email to the minimum. I no longer follow blogs by email. I simply cannot cope with 2 work email accounts, 1 personal account, and 2 blog related email accounts too. When I tried to keep up with all of them I became depressed so that had to end.

          1. Yes I don’t blame you, I think I need to work out how to stop posts on my email. My reader seemed to break once and I wasnt getting posts so i put alot to my email so to make sure i didnt miss anything but that def needs to change x

  5. Awesome tips – this gave me a LOT to think about in a really manageable way!
    I’m going to spend some time on how I value my time ~ I think that’s a huge key!
    Thanks for your always awesome advice!
    ~Andrea<3

  6. You always have the best information I truly enjoy reading your tips and tricks on blogging. What I find odd is I have a easier time blogging two blogs than I did blogging one and there both about photography just different types of photography. Nothing like putting the pressure on ones self to get the lead out so to speak. I think there is so much to learn and we may never know it all but I love learning new things about blogging. It is by far my favorite social networking.

    1. Hi Sonia,
      Thanks so much for the kind words. I’m so happy to know your two blog division is working well for you. I find keeping two blogs each with a different focus motivates me to get the lead out too. :) I intend to be a lifelong learner and what I learn what I share and I learn from those who do likewise. Happy Easter!

  7. Thank you that’s great. I’m trying to do an editorial calender but am finding with 3 blogs and some challenges they all cram in to the end of the week and most on Fridays, and as one knows if you post on challenges too late you are less likely to get read, so I’m trying to work out how to work this, as you have to wait until the day to get for example the prompt so can’t work on it earlier.

    I’ve just migrated my lonely place blog over under the umbrella of eclectic so I’m hoping that will make life easier. As for target audience and tailoring how or what I write for them I find that hard. I wrote a specific way with my character and can’t change it and figure my followers come because they like that. Apart from my challenges many of my posts are spontaneous I can’t pre-think the stuff I want to write for the main…I wish I could but I think it would distract from me being me if that makes sense? X

    1. Hi there,
      I hear what you say about prompts and challenges. Keeping an editorial calendar is a major adjustment for those who blog spontaneously but once you have one and may find yourself in the groove and speeding right along. It’s easy to get distracted as a blogger – but one thing you can’t ignore is creating content for your blog.

      To get a head start on your blogging, develop the bare bones of future posts ideas in draft posts whenever you can. Then, when the scheduled time comes to blog in you don’t have as much work to do to get them ready for publication. http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2009/11/18/blogging-focus-on-content-creation/

  8. all good points, even if the only purpose of your blog is for enjoyment … scheduling time (or limiting time) can be an effective impetus to spark time-specific blog posts

    of course, the same principles can be applied for any writing that is being done outside of a blogging platform as well … scheduling the time, and specifically, doing it in a recognizable format like using a day planner, helps underline that writing, just like any other job, requires dedicated hours devoted entirely to that task … all good points, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject

    1. I have purchased no-ads upgrades for both my blogs as I have no interest in blogging for anything but to share what I know and experience in my blogging life and personal life.

      Though I blog for pleasure and without obligation I think ti’s good to let your audience know how frequently you intend to publish. What you say about scheduling time for any writing also resonates. I work in our business. I also do technical writing and if I were not organized then I wouldn’t make the time to blog. :)

  9. I very much appreciate the advice in this article.

    Two things come to mind when I think about these things:

    1. It seems to me that finding out who your audience is could be seen as a “chicken or the egg” situation. Do you decide up front what you are going to write in order to attract a specific audience, or do you just write what you think people want to see in order to determine who your audience is?

    Up to this point, I’ve been writing about the things that strike me as worthy topics without having a target audience in mind…although I can at least loosely categorize my blog as personal creative non-fiction – I write about my life. But I know that countless others are doing the same thing, and I do wonder often whether or not my life is really all that interesting to others.

    2. Regarding publishing schedules – if you have an audience who enjoys your writing style and whatever it is that you write about, do you really have to worry about adhering to a schedule…? I know that if I find a blog that really resonates with me, I will either “manually” check it quite often, or sign up for the email updates – and I don’t worry about whether I see the posts on a Monday rather than a Wednesday. It seems to me that as long as a blogger is consistent with posts – I’d venture at least once or twice a week – and has the talent and the appeal, then a specified schedule wouldn’t much matter.

    Anyway, I know that there are lots and lots of much smarter bloggers out there than I, so maybe this is just my relative “newbie-ness” showing itself….. ;-)

    1. Hi Jules,
      Determining who your target audience is as exactly as you surmise ie. a perplexing chicken and egg situation. In a personal blog we may publish posts over a broad range of subjects but if we look closely at what we are publishing or intend to publish about we can isolate general topical themes. After publishing pillar posts on those themes we have feedback from like button clicks and from comments that can help us determine who is reading what we publish. Visiting the blogs of those who reader what we publish and reading what they blog about, as well as, connecting with them where they hang out ie. Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, etc. can help us deepen out relationship with them and expand our reach to new readers too.

      I have blogged here for 8 years now so one could make the argument to worry about adhering to a schedule and I could simply blog spontaneously. But as this is a blogging tips blog I do aim to attract new readers as well as retaining those who are subscribed. On my About page I reveal that my aim is to publish twice weekly and I usually do. As I said in my response to ntexas99, although I do blog without obligation, it’s my experience that if I do not schedule time to blog in – blogging doesn’t happen.

      1. I see what you mean here. And I guess in a way, these two threads are actually related….identifying your target audience in turn shapes the tone and purpose of your blog…and that purpose may very well determine your schedule, especially with blogs similar to yours.

        I must say, though, it must be a lot easier for you to hammer out your editorial calendar (being a “tips and tricks” blog), since “real-life” situations such as I write about rarely occur with any sort of regularity!

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