Questions originally posed here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/daily-prompt-personal-space/
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?
I only write about things on here that interest me or that I can naturally find a way into myself. Whether it’s film, music, books or TV that I’ve devoured and enjoyed (or indeed been disappointed with), I love to sum up my thoughts about them in one post, sometimes including Frazer as another perspective who can help me see things in a different light or simply add a contrasting point of view. On other subjects, such as stuff going on at university or in the wider world, I just try to articulate my own personal perspective on events in a way that I hope will interest others too.
I don’t necessarily expect any of these things to attract barrel loads of readers, especially as there is so much competition out there, but I try to imagine my potential audience as I write to make each piece as engaging and accessible as possible, and I use social media to try and get a base level of readers, particularly for the posts that I’m most proud of. My recent highlights round-up of York’s YO1 Festival has so far been my most-read post, which I put down to the fact that Twitter allowed me to share it directly with some of the artists that I wrote about who in turn retweeted it to their followers- including the festival organisers- and one of the bands who I spoke particularly highly of (Boss Caine) even wrote a special message to go with the link on Facebook. As well as making me feel like my writing was appreciated, this accessibility obviously does wonders for gradually building up a readership.
Although I was extremely happy to gain this much exposure with one article, the one thing that I would like more of is comments. Anyone can say a few words or more about whether they agreed or disagreed with a post and add any extra ideas they may have about it, so it would always be nice to get any feedback or just engagement with readers. I recently had two very nice comments on my Star Trek Into Darkness review and it was priceless to be able to reply directly to those who enjoyed the post.
I think I could happily stick to certain types of topics if it would triple my readership but my most popular posts have been quite varied so far- from a gig/band review of McFly, to some York based commentary, to writing about being vegetarian- so I would rather stick with my current flexibility, writing about whatever is relevant to me personally or to an area or the world at large, and continue reaching out to different types of people.
A blog is defined by Wikipedia as a discussion or informational site. If we consider A Pondering Moose as a discussion site, I am writing plenty of opinionated and considered posts that count as a discussion whether or not anyone engages back (although it’s nice when they do).
Ultimately, from what I can tell, the key to balancing creativity and self-expression with gaining readers is to be honest and true to what you as the writer really think. There will always be some people out there who agree with you, although maybe not everything at once, so with whatever we write there is a potential readership. Maybe we just have to keep looking for those readers, but I know they’re out there.
For my part, I am grateful to everyone who has read anything on A Pondering Moose so far, because the point of this is for me to make sure that I write really regularly about a variety of things that allow me to develop and maintain my skills whilst engaging with an audience and also gaining knowledge of working online like this.