Sunday, August 23, 2009

Writing what you want to read

It’s often hard for bloggers to come up with ideas for the next blog post, especially if you’ve been doing it for some time. When you first start, you write about what you know and hope that somebody out there will be interested. At least, that’s what I’ve been doing!

But how do you know that what you write is interesting your readers? How can you find out what makes for an interesting blog post?

As time goes by

  • you get more and more readers (I hope!);
  • people begin to leave comments (but never enough!);
  • you might have a star rating for each post (if people can be bothered!);
  • your analytics package tells you which are your most popular posts (but only if it’s a clever package!) and
  • some of your readers even begin to suggest ideas for posts (hint, hint!).

Now it becomes a little trickier to decide on blog topics. Is it enough to continue to write about what you know, essentially pleasing yourself, or should you begin to take into account what your readers want? And if you do that, how best to go about it? How do you find out what your readers want if they don’t tell you directly?

Some of my posts get a 5-star rating. That makes me very happy! But often the rating comes from just two or three people. Not a very good reflection of my overall readership!

Some people leave comments on my posts. Not as often as I’d like, but often enough for me to believe (rashly?) that someone is actually reading the thing! But I notice that it’s often the same four or five people who comment. Again, not a very good reflection of my overall readership.

Then very, very occasionally (even though I ask people often), someone might offer a suggestion for a post. But is that just something that will interest them, a single reader, or will it be of wider interest?

What if I just go ploughing on and writing what I want to write? After all, that’s what I started out doing and it seems to have attracted some readers. Never enough, of course, but there are some people out there who seem to like what I’m writing.

But I’m not the same person as I was when I started and maybe I’m writing differently or on different topics. Perhaps I’ve lost loads of readers because I’m not delivering what they want. Even though I look at my stats and RSS subscriber figures, my readership is too small to notice any significant trends. Maybe I should take more notice of the readers and adapt my style and content?

Hang on a minute!! Now I remember why I first started writing. Not only did I want to share my thoughts, but the discipline of writing every week helps me to formulate what I really think about a subject. More importantly I wanted to start a dialogue and debate with other people. What do you think about these subjects? Have you come across the same issues? Do you have different or better solutions and ideas?

So I’m going to stick to my first principles. I will gladly take note of my most popular posts and possibly write something along similar lines in the future. I will take on board any suggestions or comments that my readers make. But the bottom line is, that I need to be true to myself and the intentions of my blog. If I don’t write what I am interested in and passionate about, then there’s not much point in writing, and the posts won’t be much good any way.

So I won’t ignore you lovely readers out there, but I will try to stay true to myself.

I’d be really interested to hear from all you imaginary friends out there, especially those of you who read regularly but never comment. Come on – it’s easy and not at all frightening! I’d be happy to if you just drop by and say “hello”. It doesn’t have to be anything profound. I’d also be extremely happy if you could let me know what you like and dislike about my blog, what subjects you’d like me to tackle in the future, what topics you’d like me to revisit.

I really, really want to make this blog more of a dialogue. I learn an enormous amount from you singers and choir leaders out there. I’d love to hear some personal stories about how you stumbled into singing or choir leading, what your high (and low) points have been, if you have any tricks or tips you’d like to share, and, of course, if you fancy using this opportunity to write a guest post of your own!

Just to let you know, here are some topics I’ve got planned for the next few weeks when the ‘holiday’s are over:

  • Where does our audience come from – is it just friends and family?
  • It’s festival season but they all seem to want loud, danceable music – where do we fit in?
  • How can you tell if a singing workshop leader is good or bad – is it just personal taste?
  • How do you know if you’re singing in tune?

I hope those of you in the northern hemisphere continue to have a good summer! I’m off down to the south coast for a week of fun and frolics. See you next week.


Chris Rowbury's website:

Chris Rowbury


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