by Guest Blogger, Lena West
Blog shame is a term I use to describe people who feel the need to explain their absence from posting to their blog in (mostly) self-depreciating terms.
To save these people from even more shame, I won't post to any 'shamee's' here but, I'm sure we've all seen these posts on blogs written by people whose opinions and viewpoints we appreciate and respect.
Blog shame posts usually go something like this:
"I've been really bad about posting to the blog. Sorry. There's a lot going on right now and I needed to focus on some other things for a moment. I really wish I could post more often...if only there were 27 hours in a day. Blather, blather, blather..."
Nobody wants to read that...and I don't know about you but I don't want to think that I'm reading the advice from someone who's ruled by shame and doesn't have the bare minimum of basic planning skills.
Here's how the blog shame post translates to anyone who reads your blog on a regular basis:
"This blog is not a priority. The fact that you take time out of your busy schedule to come here (or subscribe) and read my blog means nothing to me. The fact that I suggested something as absurd as a 27-hour day should make you pity me and make me feel better about the fact that I bailed on providing you with quality content. I hope you waste your time and come back to read this blog when I get ready to post again."
Here's the big message: blogging is not supposed to take over your life - personal or professional. The whole point of blogging is to enhance what you're already doing in/for your business. Kinda like makeup can't create beauty - it can only enhance it. And, when a woman uses makeup to try to create beauty, it looks like crap. Same deal with blogs. I digress...
I always tell my clients that starting a blog is essentially executing an unwritten contract of sorts between you and your readership. That contract loosely states that you'll do a few things:
- Honor your reader's trust and make sure your opinions and views are not for sale.
- Focus less on writing a thinly-veiled sales pitch through each post.
- Focus more on writing consistent, quality-laden content that is helpful and shares a unique point of view.
- Accept challenging comments with the same vim and vigor you do the good comments.
Whomever is helping you to set-up or maintain your blog should be informing you of all the little nuances to make sure you understand how to make your blog work for you - and avoid being a slave to your blog. If they're not, then you should consider looking elsewhere for the guidance you need to not just make ends meet but to make blogging fruitful and pleasureable for you and your readers.
You can avoid sounding like a shameful victim by simply being prepared:
- Pre-write your blog posts. Take one day a week and do all your writing for the month. Most blogging software will allow you to set a post to 'go live' on a certain date in the future. Your readership doesn't know if you wrote your blog post two weeks ago or two-minutes ago - unless you do something foolish like mention a current event. You can always 'pre-empt' yourself if there's 'breaking news' in your industry or something you just absolutely HAVE to write about.
- Line up guest bloggers who can deliver quality content. Why do you think I post to this blog about social media and technology every Monday? Because Yvonne wanted more time to do whatever she wanted to do and still maintain her 'unwitten contract' with you. Take a hint from the best.
- Take an announced hiatus. Let your readers know ahead of time that you're not planning to post for X amount of days. And, when you come back make sure you have something special for them to download or experience as a thank you for their understanding.
Run your blog like an adult. No one says you have to be ready to write to your blog all week, every week but, once you start a blog/ezine/podcast/online community, you do have a responsibility to maintain it - or risk looking like a complete flake. Hey, right now, I'm probably on a plane to Miami...but, this post still went live today. Checkmate.