Veteran freelance writer Jennifer Brown Banks of Pen and Prosper joins us today in the final post for the Good Friends Old and New Blogoversary series. Jennifer is one smart lady, and I count it a blessing each time she shares her wisdom with us.
Before You Hit "Publish" - Four Questions Every Writer Should Ask
by Jennifer Brown Banks
“Knowledge is power.”---
Blogging blindly can be counterproductive and a waste of time for you and your potential audience.
And I should know. As someone who does a good deal of online surfing, daily, weekly, yearly, I encounter quite a few spots where I am convinced that some owners have no clear direction where they’re going or where they want to take their readers. And though I do enjoy the occasional “joy ride,” I don’t typically like it in my reading travels.
Unfortunately, when this happens, it sometimes comes across as if these individuals are more perfunctory than passionate in their blogging efforts. Or for some, perhaps it’s just the inability to objectively assess how posts are being received. Don’t make the same mistake.
Quality blogging is what we owe readers in exchange for their time, loyalty, and interaction. With a mind-boggling number of sites from which to choose, it really is a compliment when they spend time with us and our thoughts.
Blogging is not just about being “heard”; it’s about building connections. It’s about constructing a sense of community and facilitating lively discussion and debate.
With this in mind here are the four most important questions you must ask yourself before sharing your words with the world.
1. Who is the target audience? Some Bloggers make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people. Their topics are very broadly based with no real focus or consistency. Readers never know what to expect from week to week. There’s no real connection. Approaching blogging in this manner is akin to traveling far, unknown distances without a road map. Though you may ultimately stumble upon where you want to be, it will take much longer, and provide a lot of unnecessary detours on the road to success.
Are your intended readers baby boomers? Writers? Stay at home moms? Your out of town relatives? Your target audience determines your tone, language and level of intimacy. Identify it and embrace it!
2. What's your blog's image? How do you wish for your blog to be viewed? Is it serious? Playful? Spiritual? Persuasive? Professional or recreational? Your colors, design, theme, voice and presentation should reflect this.
3. What's your purpose? What is your contribution to the blogosphere? How would you like to be “received.” Is your purpose to entertain? To gain support for an important cause? To share your writing knowledge? To make money? To make a difference? Of course, on various days it could be some or all of these goals. But, the less confused you are overall about your intentions, the clearer your readers will be.
4. What's the take away value? At the conclusion of your post, what will readers take away as a “parting gift“? Will you leave them with deep thoughts to ponder? Resources to pursue? An answer to a plaguing problem? A smile to brighten their day? Make sure that their blog experience is complete by considering and addressing these key questions.
You’ll find that these four questions are applicable regardless as to your niche or theme. Keep them in mind and follow them as the ultimate blueprint for building a successful blog!
Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, pro blogger, relationship columnist, and word nerd. She teaches classes at the Coffeehouse for Writers and blogs at Pen and Prosper. Her blog was recently chosen as a finalist for Write to Done’s Top 10 Writing Blogs in 2011.
Thank you, Jennifer! :)
What grabs your attention when you visit a blog? What's your most valuable tip for great blog posts?
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