One of my editors gave me a great piece of advice one day regarding writing and blogging. He said (and I paraphrase):
We’re making stew with this publication. Sometimes the reader gets a nice big piece of steak for an article. Sometimes she gets a carrot and sometimes it’s a potato. We mix it up and give the pub a great flavor so there isn’t too much of one ingredient or another.
And the stew analogy is a great basis for some simple guidelines for serial blogging, which can be summarized as:
1. Give variety – Make your publication a stew of different ideas, techniques, and forms. A stew can’t be all beef, carrots, or potatoes. You need all kinds of ingredients to make your blog a tasty meal. Go for short pieces, long pieces, how-tos, opinions, and life experiences. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and you’ll have a lively blog. Every post doesn’t have to be a juicy piece of steak. You just have to give the reader something of value every time they stop by.
2. Look for ingredients that go together – Just as you probably wouldn’t put peanut butter and horse-radish into a stew (or maybe you would), look for ingredients that match each other. For my blog, my ingredient list includes information for tech industry vendors, marketing personnel, managers, and writers. I also do a lot with connecting through LinkedIn. Look for your own particular topics that bake well together and stay within those boundaries. This helps the reader know what he’s digesting.
3. Make the stew everyday or according to your own schedule – Be consistent with your publication. Put things out on a regular basis so that just as a patron knows there will always be something to order at a restaurant, your readers know there will be something new to read on a regular schedule. Cooks cook and bloggers blog.
4. Learn to cook fast and good – Like a great chef, a blogger first learns how to create a good quality offering, regardless of how long it takes. Then he learns how to create a fast blog post. When you’re able to create good and fast blog posts, then you’ve really got something. You can feed more readers.
I could go on straining this analogy until it screams like a chicken under the butcher’s knife. But you get the idea. A good framework for writing a blog is to treat it like a meal you’re creating for your family or friends: it has variety; it tastes good; it’s ready when they’re ready to eat; and you can whip it up quickly.
As far as my blog is concerned, this post is a carrot in my stew.