Tuesday, 10 February 2009

My blog lessons - generating an audience

I've been developing a Matthew Cain blog. As I wrote recently, it started with a wave of excitement and frustration that I had so much to say but hadn't setup the blog so far.

Post every day

I then stopped posting each day. Of course, there's no search engine reason to post every day. But I still tell people to do it because if they don't they will stop posting. It's just what happened to me.

Getting the posting habit

I started to talk about the snow in Stoke Newington. After the initial post, I needed to follow it up and did several days later. But then I found something else on my internet travels that I wanted to talk about. I'm one of the UK's few experts on political party funding.

Building an audience

I made a comment on Labour List about party funding. It didn't generate any interest. But now that I started, I got the bug. The more I post the more I want to write. So I wrote about the T-Mobile inspired flash mob. I followed my own advice and put links on 4 other sites, which generated a couple of comments - to which I replied (of course).

Generating comments

Then today, I made a quick post for the sake of putting up something new. But then I was thinking about blogging. So I posted twice more. Suddenly, I'd convinced myself that my view on George Monbiot was really important.

To build an audience, I:
1. put into Google Blog search Monbiot AND Blears
2. Clicked on the top 12 results
3. Re-wrote my headline to make it more provactive
4. Left a comment on 10 of them - 9 were anti Blears
5. Started replying to the comments

I now have 12 comments and have added those commentators blogs to my blogroll.

Key lessons
1. It's difficult to get into the habit of writing unless you do often
2. Being an active commentator on a live web issue does generate traffic and comments
3. The issue has to be of interest to a number of sites
4. Respond to the comments to open up further discussion, not close it down
5. Find ways to build the relationship with the commentator further
6. Have your analytics package configured. I didn't have - so can't measure the success of this!

I'm not trying to suggest this is best practice - but it's my experience and I'll record how I build on this.


Shamik said...

Quality not quantity; there's no need to post every day!

Matthew Cain said...

Shamik - you are right that quality is more important than quantity. BUT - what I've found is that if you don't do it every day, you stop doing it (I find the same with going to the gym, incidentally, so it might just be me).

Also, every time I post my traffic goes up. But there's nothing worse than those 'SEO experts' who post 4/5 times a day with recycled rubbish.

So yes, I agree that you've got to write good stuff but there's a balance somewhere between the two.

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