Before I get going on my post today, I wanted to let you all know that I am looking for guest bloggers. It’s pretty simple to guest blog…all you have to do is write a post, e-mail it to me and I post it…..crediting you of course.
If you are a new blogger, this might be an excellent way to get your name out there. If you are an established blogger, we can all benefit from your knowledge and it might be fun.
Since this is a mental health blog, I expect most guest blogs will deal with these issues, but I know my readers are flexible. It never hurts to have some good recipes, beautiful photography, or some poetry.
If you’d like to talk about doing a guest blog, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will help you every step of the way till we get your post just right…how YOU want it to be.
If you’re too busy now, this is an open invitation. Contact me when the time is right for you.
I am also looking for topics. I always have plenty, but if there is something you’d like to hear about, shoot me an e-mail.
Okay, for today’s post:
To what extent is your blog a place for your own self expression and creativity vs. a site designed to attract readers? How do you balance that? If sticking to certain topics and types of posts meant your readership would triple, would you do it?
Wow, I guess I’d have to go back to the beginning of my blog. I was on a psychology site…you know the kind where they have topics and threads of people answering them. I noticed that a great poster bpnurse.com had her own blog. I asked her about doing one. I didn’t really know what a blog was, but it sounded like it fit in with journaling, which everyone insists you do when you are mentally ill.
I set up my blog which was a miracle as I am totally computer illiterate. But it wasn’t too hard. I had no idea what followers or stats were. As a matter of fact, I thought I might get one or two readers. I was doing this anonymously so I couldn’t invite friends and family to read. I sort of thought I could use this as an online diary.
And blog I did. I wrote about all kinds of “fascinating” things. If you don’t believe they were lame, check the archives. But I sort of fell into a rhythm and came up with some good topics. I still didn’t have many readers, but that was okay by me.
I remember the excitement when I got my first comment! It was pretty thrilling. I think it was from someone bpnurse knew. Her readers were very friendly and tried to get me going. (They are still some of my most faithful readers today.)
Now I started picking up followers. If you’re a new blogger you might wonder how I did this. Honestly, there is no secret. You’ve got to be a friend to gain followers. You’ve got to get people over to your blog to read your stuff. And the way I did this was one at a time….reading their blog and commenting. Pretty soon, they’d show up on mine and read. I guess some of them liked it and followed. That was how it worked for me. I would read ANY kind of blog….it didn’t need to be mental health. And you know what? I still have such a good time today reading other blogs. It never gets old.
When I started writing I wrote for myself. I just sort of talked about what was going on in my life. I also posted some old fiction I had written. So I got the creativity bug from that. I never really thought about what my readers wanted to read…I figured if they liked it they’d read and if they didn’t they’d skip it. And I had so few followers it really wasn’t an issue. But as time went on, I realized I had an audience out there.
I think one thing I started writing about was stigma. I wanted to do what I could to help slow it down. And if that meant telling some of my crazy stories of bipolar that was okay. I think it helped people to see that a “regular” person could survive and even thrive with mental illness. And that we look and live a lot like other people.
I’d like to think that my site is designed to attract readers. That doesn’t mean that I spend all of my writing time thinking about what readers want, because I don’t. But I DO try to make my site accessible to people who want to read. I’ve worked hard on the look of the blog. I like that when you open my blog, you get the latest post right up in your face. You don’t have to click around six times to find something to read. I’ve tried not to have too much “junk” on the page. It’s not the best blog I’ve seen, but it’s definitely an improvement over when I started.
Yesterday we gained our 900th follower! That feels like some responsibility I can tell you! That’s a clump of people looking to me for something about bipolar and recovery. But I just give you guys what I have. Anecdotes about my life and stories of my successes and failures. I try to be as honest as I can and the anonymous nature of the blog lets me do that.
So if I could guarantee three times the readership would I change my posts to fit the audience? I think it would be fun to have three times the readers, although I am pretty happy with the readership I have. But I’m not sure how I would change my writing to fit the audience. I am hoping that the readers are here because they like what they have read so far. And I just hope to keep producing enough pieces of life to keep you all around.