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Overheard on #Blogchat: Start a New Blog (@lizstrauss)

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Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night (or Monday morning), I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This Week’s Theme: How to Write for Multiple Blogs (w/ co-host Liz Strauss)

The topic of writing for multiple blogs is one near and dear to my heart, since, like this week’s co-host Liz Strauss, I also write for multiple blogs. When I’m not here at BlogWorld, I also blog on my own career nonsense blog, write for JobMonkey, and even run an anonymous blog. Oh, and I co-founded a video game blog, have previously worked at three different blogs for b5Media, and help Consumer Media Network with guest posting. You might say I’m addicted to blogging. I love it!

Anyway, I wasn’t able to be super active at #blogchat this week due to other responsibilities, but I wanted to make sure to make note of some of the wisdom coming from the mouth of Liz Strauss, who I consider to be one of the indisputable queens of the blogging world. Here’s one of the tweets I loved from tonight:

@lizstrauss: How can I tell when it is time to start a new blog? When you want to write to a new audience or write something new!

As someone who has written for a number of blogs over the years, Liz’s advice makes a lot of sense to me because I think people hold on to a single blog for too long sometimes. Often, it makes sense to have more than one blog.

The key phrase here is “new audience.” It’s kind of a no-brainer that you should probably start a new blog if you currently write about celebrities and also want to write about gardening. Sometimes, though, your topic doesn’t change much, but you’re not connecting with your audience because you’re trying to please too many people.

For example, let’s say you write about Twitter. Other bloggers who are learning to use Twitter have different needs than small business owners who are learning to use Twitter. There might be some overlap, but a lot of your content will be irrelevant to half of your readers if you’re trying to blog for both of these groups of people.

Instead, it might make sense to think about running two different blogs – Twitter for bloggers and Twitter for small business owners – or to just focus on a single group and continue running one blog. You’ll cut your audience in half, but you’ll be more relevant to every reader with every post – and that’s a good thing, much better than have a broad audience who only cares about half (or even less) of you content.

Of course, you do want to make sure that your blogs are very distinct. Just like you don’t want to be blogging about two different subjects at the same blog, you also don’t want to be sending readers to multiple locations to read your posts. If you’re going to run multiple blogs, they need to be distinctly different if not in niche, in audience/tone/content.

Starting a new blog is scary, but don’t be too afraid to consider it. Yes, running more than one blog is a lot of work, but it isn’t as daunting of a task as you may think to add another blog to the party. Proceed with caution – but proceed. Having a second blog if you’re passionate about sharing your thoughts and experience about a topic might be one of the best decisions you ever made.

And remember, you can always close a blog if you find it to be too much work or it is otherwise not working out…but until you try, you’ll never know!

This was a #blogchat that I was sad to miss. Here are some other great pieces of advice from Liz throughout the night that I wanted to highlight:

  • “Collect ideas at one sitting. Write at another. Start blog posts that are unfinished so you can pick them up later.”
  • “Invite folks who leave great comments to write on that subject for your blog.”
  • “Your authentic voice might reflect the audience. We speak differently for CEOs than for teachers or accountants.”
  • “Blog your experiences not just information. Tell what YOU found interesting about the topic.”
  • “We compete with 200 billion blogs for visibility. A clear niche is important. For 2+ blogs, defining the difference is crucial.”
  • “Information is everywhere. You are the difference. People read your blog for you. Be there!”

If you were at #blogchat, I’d love to know your favorite tweets from the night too, both from Liz and from other tweeters of the night!

Blogging and the Candy Corn Problem

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Like most kids, I always got super excited for Halloween. By far, my favorite treat was candy corn. I’d start getting excited for candy corn as soon as summer started fading away. After all, you can get candy bars and lollipops any time of the year, but you can only get candy corn during October and, if you’ve lucky, in the clearance bin during the first few weeks of November. 

I’d get super hyped up for candy corn, and then, finally, the big day would arrive – Halloween parties, dressing up for school, trick-or-treating, and, for sure, tons of candy corn. Better still, all parents seem to look the other way during Halloween, letting their kids eat more sweets than normal.

Finally, I’d have my first handful of that sugary-sweet orange and yellow treat. Imagine me as a five-year-old, stuffing my face with candy corn, because it inevitably happened every single year as soon as I saw a bowl full of it available for the taking. And every year, half-way through chewing I would remember something.

Candy corn isn’t very good.

Don’t get me wrong; I like candy corn. But really, it doesn’t taste like much, just really chewy sugar. For some reason, though, I somehow would convince myself every year that I love candy corn. Every year, without fail, the actual candy corn wouldn’t live up to the hype I had created for it in my mind. Halloween fail.

Luckily, candy corn isn’t much of a problem, even to a kid. It was easy enough to move on to caramel apples, cupcakes with orange icing, and chocolate bars. I never had a bad Halloween because I was disappointed about candy corn.

Some adults treat blogs like candy corn.

As bloggers, we often forget just how hard it is to build up a new blog from scratch. We’ve moved past the infancy stage with the blog we have and suddenly start to get that itch, the urge to start a new one. That was so much fun, designing a blog that you love. That was so much fun, building up a readership. That was so much fun, carving out a place in a niche.

Yeah, that was so much fun. But have you forgotten how much work it was as well?

Have you forgotten how many late nights you spent tweaking your css or php to get the theme to look perfect? Have you forgotten being the new kid on the block, having to prove yourself as an authority among bloggers who are already established in the niche? Have you forgotten how it feels not to have your authority built up with search engines yet? Or about how you don’t make money right away? Or how you have no one on your list to buy your product? Or how advertisers aren’t interested yet?

Like my love affair with candy corn, if you are removed from something, like starting a new blog, you sometimes forget all the bad things and hype it up in your mind. It seems like it’s a good idea until you have a mouthful of sugary candy that you realize is actually not that great.

If you do start a new blog (or your first blog), please take some time to think about what you’re committing to do. Like with any business, it takes time to get a project off the ground, so be prepared for the time and dedication a baby blog needs to succeed.

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