Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Five W's of Popular Blogging

So you've decided that you have opinions and information that you simply must get out to the rest of the world. You simply know that what you have to offer is original enough that there will be people clamoring for your wit and wisdom, but you're simply not sure how to get started, and once you get started; you're not sure how to get people to start reading.

There's an old adage in journalism that when you set out to write a story, you need to cover the five W's: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. That adage certainly applies to blogs as well, though it might be slightly adaptive considering the blogosphere as a whole, and the challenges that meet any young blogger just looking to get on their feet.

The first W - Who - covers you. Who are you, why are you doing this, and what makes you stand out to prospective readers. Blogs are generally considered far more personal than newspaper articles, people don't come to blogs for dry information or an Associated Press release. They want your personality to shine through in your blog posts.

The second W - What - is fairly self explanatory. The way the internet is set up, you can blog about literally anything, but make sure to establish an identity. Don't blog about quilting for a week, and then change topic and start blogging about how to establish peace in the Middle East the next. Unless you can find a way to blend the two. If you can combine two widely different topics, you might be able to establish yourself that way, but it's a task that may prove unsuccessful.

The third W - When - is more about when you post, then the time frame of the subject you're covering. It's important to be as prolific as possible when blogging in order to keep whatever audience you've managed to build. Posting once every two months isn't enough. Do it at least once a day.

The Fourth W - Where - applies to where you choose to market your particular blog. You could be the foremost expert on a subject, but if you're unable to get out the word on your blog, no one will ever read it. Message boards that cover your topic are a good place to start, as well as specialized sections of social media such as Digg will gain readers, as long as you're topical.

The final W - Why - is also fairly self explanatory. Why are you blogging? What drives you to continue to post? If you're in it for an economic gain, realize that it may be quite a while before you see any real return. If you're doing it simply to share you enjoyment, or disdain for a certain topic, know there will still be a struggle before you see your blog take off, but if you stick to the five W's sooner or later, the formula will pay off.

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