Awhile back, Ned Potter, who writes the fabulous blog at ned-potter.com (you ARE reading his blog, right?) posted What does an online identity REALLY need? (Or, Growing Up Online). I left a comment, because I could relate.
Then Ned commented back and asked me a couple of questions. Here’s my answer!
But first, here’s Ned’s comment (swiped from his post):
David what a great comment!
The thing that strikes me with you is the consistency – I don’t know how many subscribers your blog has now but last time I heard a figure it was huge, thousands, and dwarfed mine… And the main reason (if you don’t mind my analyzing your blog!) to my mind is that you consistently post really helpful things that we can all act on (plus other reasons too, to do with your reputation and books etc). There were a lot of bloggers when I hit my blogging stride who would write 1 or 2 posts per week every week, myself included, but we’ve almost all gradually fallen away to fewer than that…
But you manage to keep it up, and it doesn’t feel like you’re casting around for things to blog about – all the posts have a reason for being. So how do you keep that up? I’m interested, also, in whether it ever feels like a burden – essentially keeping up with the standard you’ve set yourself?
First of all – aww, shucks. Thanks! I’m glad people like reading my blog!
And now, on to the questions:
Question #1: How many blog subscribers? (Ned didn’t really ask this, but did mention it in passing, so I thought I’d answer):
That’s a hard one to figure out these days, since Feedburner stats have gone a bit wonky. For Feedburner, I have anywhere between 1800-5800 RSS subscribers, depending on the day (so I’d guess the actual number is a bit higher than the larger number). And a pretty consistent 2000 or so email subscribers. Last month, Google Analytics says I had 5600 sessions/4600 Users at the site.
Plus, there are a lot of people who don’t subscribe, but might watch my blog via Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin. Either way, that’s a lot of people! You guys – thanks for reading! Tell everyone you know to read
Question #2: So how do you keep that up?
A few years ago, I slowly transitioned how I thought about my blog. Before then, it was simply a place I posted to whenever I felt like it. But I eventually realized that instead of a personal blog, I was running:
- a publication with more subscribers than some rural newspapers and academic journals (ok, the really boring ones, but you get my point).
- my blog was the “hub” for my fledgling part-time consulting/speaking/writing business.
And if it’s a business … well then, I need to treat it like one. So I do three things to help me focus on my “business:”
- I schedule blog posts. My goal is to post every Tuesday and Thursday. Do I always hit that? Nope. But it’s a goal.
- I created a tagline – “social web, emerging trends, and libraries.” It’s on my blog, and helps me stay focused. If you read something I wrote or if you hear me speak, the content will most likely fall somewhere within that tagline.
- I try to write and speak about things in a very practical way. My goal after you read one of my blog posts or hear me speak is for you to be able to say “hey – I can use that next week at work!” When I achieve that, I think it’s pretty darn awesome.
I also get a lot of ideas from work. Part of my job is scanning the library/techie horizon, and bringing new cool things to the library. Guess what? That often serves double-duty on my blog (and vice versa). More often than not, when I write about something, it’s because I was thinking about it at work.
For example, my recent social media measurement series of blog posts originated from me trying to eek some meaning out of my library’s social media stats. At some point, I thought “hey! I should share this stuff!” And voila! A series of blog posts.
Question #3: I’m interested, also, in whether it ever feels like a burden – essentially keeping up with the standard you’ve set yourself?
Yep. Sometimes it does! Burnout happens. I get busy at my “real job,” I get busy at home (three teenagers – how the heck did that happen?). Instead of writing about library stuff, I want to write music (which I’m working on!). Or I just procrastinate – I’m a pro at that.
But honestly? I really like to write. I like sharing, and it helps me think. My goal of two posts a week? That was actually a way to limit myself, so I wasn’t posting 4-5 times a week. My reasoning was that too much davidleeking can be a bad thing
So there you go – three questions, three answers. How do you keep up something you enjoy doing when it gains some attention? Anyone else have some good tips to share?
Pic of Ned – from Ned’s Twitter account!