Yesterday, I discussed some issues I was having editing my writer’s handbook. I thought I had entered a proofreading phase and it turns out, I’m still adding content in a number of places.
That realization led to me pondering, when is enough content enough?
Today, I’m considering that question as it relates to bloggers. (Sure, I’m a novelist, and my blog is for fellow novelists, but we’re all supposed to blog as well. And I LOVE running my blog for many reasons I discussed in a earlier post.)
IT’S ALL ABOUT A GOAL, RIGHT?
Yesterday, discussing a lengthy work of nonfiction, I proposed that we, as writers, know that enough is enough because we’ve set a goal in mind for the piece we’re writing, and we’ve met that goal.
It’s all about the goal.
When it comes to blogging, your goals are very different than other kinds of writing.
- You want to structure your post–content-wise and visually–according to the pattern you’ve established for yourself.
- You have a word range goal. Mine is generally 500-800 words.
- You have something you want to explain or describe, or a question you want to answer, and you want to explore the subject but you don’t have to explore it completely.
Maybe this is oversimplifying, but I separate bloggers into two categories. Both styles can be equally effective; it’s a matter of what kind of time you have and how you like to write.
Some bloggers, like me, publish shorter posts more frequently that aren’t crazy organized, but do what they’re meant to do.
Other bloggers publish longer, more detailed, more “professional” posts less frequently. They might take the same content I would cover in a series of 3 or 4 related posts and publish it as one.
If you blog the way I do, then you get what I mean when I say “you don’t have to answer the question completely.” You can give a full explanation of part of the answer now, and then give more information, answering from a different angle, in a later post.
In fact, it’s sometimes great not to answer the question in full, but to leave part of it unanswered, on purpose, to provoke commentary and discussion among your community. Blogging is all about the community, after all.
Therefore, I more or less judge that I’ve got enough content for a post when:
- I have posed a question or exposed a challenge related to writing or marketing fiction
- I have explained my thoughts on that question or challenge
- I have explained why I feel that way
- I have met my word count range
OH, THE FORMALITY!
What I love about blogging is how free it is. How fast and loose it is. There are absolutely no rules and no requirements. Are there certain tactics that work better than others as a general rule?
Sure. But as a general rule, blogging is always about letting who you are shine through, about sharing your knowledge and experience with others to start a conversation.
Blogging is so informal compared to, say, any kind of printed publication. My rules and my goals about having enough content are much stricter when I plan to ask people to pay for that content.
If one blog post isn’t my best, that’s all right. I publish a post daily, and no one’s giving me anything but the minute or two they need to read my ramblings.
When people are making a true investment of time and money to read my books, I feel a much greater weight of responsibility to make sure my content merits that investment.
I guess my point is:
WHERE BLOGGING IS CONCERNED, DON’T SWEAT IT TOO MUCH
Sure, you want great posts. And you’ll learn how to write them. Every blogger starts out by experimenting with different styles and lengths of posts, to find his or her groove. And that’s great!
My best piece of advice concerning “when is enough content for a blog post enough?” is this: Don’t waste your precious time worrying about it.
If it strikes you in the future that you could have said more, you can always, always, write a followup post continuing the discussion and linking back to the original.
So, there you go: my thoughts on this particular question related to writing. What do you think? What’s your guide for cutting off content in a blog post? Do you generally write longer or shorter posts?
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