A quote often attributed to Robert Frost reads, “If there is no discovery for the writer, there is none for the reader.” Indeed, blogging is tremendously rewarding on a number of levels. But blogging is largely a labor of love. Only a relatively small subset of bloggers generate any substantial revenue from their advertisements. Even fewer bloggers have loyal readership.
On the other hand, “successful” bloggers face a different demon – how to continue to be successful. They must constantly produce content that is insightful or face being tossed back into the deep dark unknown of the millions of blogs in the ever growing blogosphere.
Thus, no blogger is safe from “blogging burnout”. Blogging burnout is best exemplified at the point where a blogger is guilted enough to write “Sorry for not posting in a while”. It is indicative of the blogger who is compelled to post on something just because everyone else is writing about it. Blogging burnout has peaked with the blogger who considers blogging a chore.
The good news is that blogging burnout can be avoided. Whether an “A list” blogger or a relative unknown, just follow these 7 ways to avoid feeling obsolete or overwhelmed because of your blog:
Stick to your guns
Each blogger has their own voice. If you aren’t a big time blogger, don’t mimic those who are. The “A list” blogger became an A-lister because they brought a unique perspective to the table. Stay on point with your blogging. If you feel that you have something relevant to add to a particular discussion, then jump in – but don’t chime in on a topic simply for the sake of “the meme”.
Develop a content strategy
If you are serious with your blogging, you should have a content strategy. It doesn’t have to be planned out for three months in advance and in most cases it can’t be since blogs are typically time sensitive. Your content strategy can be as simple as sitting down at the start of the week to map out what you might blog about.
Giving thought to your content will help you stick to your guns. It might also enable you to lengthen ideas to a series of blog posts like my Why Web 2.0 Matters to your Business or Opportunities 2006 series. Steve Rubel recently did something similar with his 2006 Trends to Watch, which was broken up into seven posts.
Write down ideas when you get them
Want an easy way to develop your content strategy? Write down new ideas as you get them. There is no better feeling than to actually select which ideas you want to write about versus staring at blank screen and forcing yourself to throw something up on your blog.
Think before posting
Blogging enables one-click publishing and can often condone a “first to print” mentality. Each, however, can become your worst enemy. Don’t post in a fit of rage or sorrow or you may regret it. Don’t post just because you think you are going to break a story because in all likelihood you won’t be.
Give some thought to your pieces. There is nothing wrong with working on a particular post over the course of days or even weeks. Dave Taylor once wrote about this idea in my e-mail interview with him, “That’s why you’ll see I often write about subjects a week or two after the “quick off the mark” bloggers have written and forgotten about them. I believe that thinking about things rather than reacting to them is underrated.”
An easy way to think before posting is to work offline. As I detailed in my Offline Efficiency in an Online World post, technology can sometimes hamper our ability to focus. Writing requires focus – at least good writing does. Working offline might include the time you develop your content strategy or in fleshing out an idea for a more substantial post.
Schedule some time off
Yes, there is a real world outside of the blogosphere! Go enjoy nature, check out a movie, visit a museum, be inspired by some architecture, or take in a play, concert, or sporting event. Get involved in your community or spend some much needed time with family and friends.
Taking some time off from your blog is beneficial. If you are extremely concerned about losing momentum or dropping down in Technorati rankings, take advantage of your blogging platform’s advanced publishing features, which will allow you to publish content while you are away. You can also get a guest blogger that you know and trust to fill in for you. Time off will re-energize you and give you fresh eyes and fresh ideas.
Don’t be ruled by your blog. Blogging should be fun. Write on the topics that you are most passionate about or when you are inspired. Find your niche and become the expert on a particular topic.
If you’ve lost that loving feeling with your blog, your readers will know – and they’ll soon lose that feeling for you and your blog too.