Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blogging is not all about YOU!

The past two weeks, I've watched the students of the Blog Book Tours class as they attempt to find their blogging voice.

Some have already nailed their topics. Some are still seeking their focus. A couple blog only about themselves and their book.

However, successful blogging is like good conversation - it's not about you, it's about the other person.

There are key elements to a good conversation - eye contact, use of the other person's name, open stance and positive body language, the asking of questions, and the refusal to chatter endlessly about oneself.

These same principles can be applied to our blog by providing quality information and enticing the reader into the conversation. It's not about US - it's about our readers!

Our readers do not visit for an endless stream of commercials. (I rarely watch TV and never listen to the radio because I hate commercials so much!) Our readers do not visit to hear us brag. Our readers don't visit to hear us whine constantly, either. Readers visit a blog for one of two reasons - because it informs or it entertains.

Now that's not to say we don't make friends along the way! But one of those two reasons attracted us in the first place. However, it is the genuine, caring human being behind the blog that entices us to return. That blogger has realized that he or she must provide something of value to their readers. That blogger has realized it's not all about HIM or HER!

For the best example of a blogger who has grasped this concept, I invite you to visit these ladies:

Helen at Straight From Hel

Elizabeth at Mystery Writing is Murder

Both of these ladies blog every single day and provide a ton of information to benefit their readers.
Elizabeth has been on tour for her latest release, and she mentioned her upcoming book at least once a week, but never lost focus of the fact that it's all about her readers.

What's your blog's focus? You, you, you? Or your readers?


Natasha said...

You could not have picked up better examples than those two ladies.

Genre specific, but my favourite in the category of 'you couldn't do better' would be Margot Kinberg's Confessions of a Mystery Novellist - http://margotkinberg.blogspot.com/

Jai Joshi said...

This is so true! When I first started blogging I told myself that I didn't want to make this blog about me but about stories and storytelling. That was going to be my focus and I hope that I've continued to follow that principle.


Will Burke said...

I'll have to be mindful of this. I read some Blogs that are just that, but are so entertaining I din't mind it.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Thanks so much, Diane! Wow, what a nice mention--and I'm honored to be up there with Helen.

You do the same thing with Spunk on a Stick--connect us all with useful information. Thanks so much!

Vicki Rocho said...

I don't really have a focus. I don't have writing words of wisdom (except for the odd epiphany now and again). There are so many other blogs out there dishing out writing advice, and doing it better than I could.

I've been to sites like you mention. It's like putting on the Home Shopping Network or an Infomercial. Self promotion never ends. I understand this to a point, but there's not much reason to visit often if the message never changes.

Mason Canyon said...

I agree with Elizabeth, your site definitely should be listed as one that is very informative and entertaining. I'd also include Margot's site too. Both of you ladies (along with Helen and Elizabeth) have provided much to the blogging community. Thanks to all.

Thoughts in Progress

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Two great choices for examples.
Some personal blogs offer great insight and humor just not about writing. ut if they didn't write well they wouldn't have the flowers they do.
You have to have a little of you because
inquiring (nosey) minds what to now. lol

Simon Hay said...

It is like having a conversation, and you have to be completely transparent. I inform on my blog and sell on my website. The posts that get the most comments are the family, funny, interesting ones. I'd rather tell a story than market myself, and that's working.

Helen is awesome. We love her down under.

Peggy Frezon said...

Great points for all of us bloggers. When writing my blog, I try to think about why I keep going back to the blogs I like. Either they make me laugh, or they have some useful info. If they can do both, then all the better!

Anonymous said...

I've always tried to make the Funhouse as little about me as possible. Yes, I run it. Yes, I promote myself. Yes, I talk about things that are happening in my writing life. But I do it in the hope of entertaining those who visit. Plus, if I can help even one person in some way, then I will consider the Funhouse a massive success.

Jemi Fraser said...

Totally agree! Elizabeth, Helen and you Diane do this extremely well. You all have great info and personalities that shine through! :)

Anonymous said...

Helen certainly has found the key, hasn't she! Good suggestion/referral/example to us all! Thanks, Diane

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I was excited about my book trailer, but otherwise I'm uncomfortable blogging about me anyway.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you Elizabeth, Karen, Jemi, and Mason! I've tried to focus on my title, which is "tips" and thrown in some humor now and then.

Alex Bennett from Electrifying Reviews said...


I have been a follower for a long time, but just realized who you were after getting a copy of Heather today! I can't wait to read the Circle of Friends series and continue to enjoy this great blog.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

So true! Excellent points! A blog that's an endless commercial for ANYTHING sounds really boring!

Nancy J. Parra said...

This is fabulous advice. Thanks for sharing. I know when I come here there is always something that helps me as a reader. Cheers~

N. R. Williams said...

Good post. I certainly hope I never fall into the me, me, me category.


Patricia Stoltey said...

Great choices! I learn so much by following Elizabeth and Helen. On top of that, they are fun and gracious, the kind of ladies you'd love to have over for coffee.

A nice mix of info and "Me" is good too. I love it when Elizabeth talks about one of her crazy days or a fun conversation with the kids. Helps us get to know our blogger friends a little better.

Helen Ginger said...

Diane, thank you so much for included me! Wow.

I agree about Elizabeth. She is a wealth of information, advice, and support. I would say the same about you and your blog. Your personality shows through and you offer advice both on your blog and in your comments when you visit other blogs.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Alex, just found your blog and so happy to hear you have a copy of Book V!

Helen, you are most welcome!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Though I throw in some shameless plugs occasionally, I do try to make the majority of my posts about anything to do with books, that I find interesting in hopes my readers will agree.

I also enjoy both Helen’s and Elizabeth’s blogs. I don’t see how they manage coming up with interesting and informative topics every single day, but they do.

Jenny Munn said...

Great post! I've always heard that the most successful blogs are those that can develop a community, posse, and gathering of like-minded people. Looks like you've done that here. Love your blog, Diane!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Funny, we seem to be on the same beam, Diane. My new book just was posted on Amazon. It's called Your Blog, Your Business. It's written for retailers so the details are about sellng product, but let's face it, authors have a product, too. So thought I'd mention it. It's available at www.budurl.com/Blogging4Retailers. My usual practical, how-to advice. (:
Hope your mom is doing better.

Hart Johnson said...

TOTALL endorse your blog choices! Those are THE two most useful blogs where the bloggers are reciprocal, friendly AND informative. There are couple industry blogs I read just because I SHOULD, but it is not the same level of engagement at all.

Me? I am not a utility model, but I do try to at least keep it amusing... When I DO know stuff (which occasionally I do) I try to share it. I definitely try to spread the love... but mostly I just aim at getting people to spray coffee on their monitor or something.

Eric W. Trant said...

I try to treat my blog topics like I would a conversation: Find some common interest.

So it's not about ME, but it's also not about YOU.

It's about US.

- Eric

~Sia McKye~ said...

I'd say my readers mostly. My Monday Musings are a bit more about me or my life, critters, family, writing.

But you're right. Blogs have to catch the interest of your readers. Even if you do post about your life, it needs to be entertaining and have something to encourage chatting from/with your readers or it's wasted time. Altho I've seen some blogs that are journals, I tend to think journal entries are for private viewing, not public.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Eric, I think you said it best!

Morgan Mandel said...

I like to offer variety in my blog. Sometimes it's about my everyday life, other times I host guest who share their books, other times it's about my dog, Rascal.

I also enjoy offering interactive blogs where the readers can participate.

I believe in keeping people guessing about what might come next.

Morgan Mandel