Episode 4: Blogging Q&As

Podcast Ep 4 - Blogging Q and A Special

This episode is a follow-up to Episode 2, where I asked you to submit blogging-related questions to enter an e-book giveaway. This special Q&A episode revolves around the four questions received at that time. Another one came in a little too late and will be answered in a later episode.

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In This Episode

The following topics are discussed in this episode:

  • What to do if you sometimes can't stick to your normal blogging schedule
  • How to handle rude comments
  • Whether it's more important to blog consistently (at a low frequency) or to post at a higher frequency (but more sporadically)
  • How to find good contributors if you decide to outsource some or all of your blog content

A big "thank you" to the three writers who submitted these four questions (all of whom were awarded a copy of the giveaway's e-book):

If You Can't Stick to Your Usual Blogging Schedule

Anne Wayman asked what bloggers should do if they can't stick to their usual schedule. Should you let your readers know you'll be gone? Or should you just get back to regularly blogging as soon as you can?

That depends on the situation.

If you know you'll be gone for an extended period, I would suggest letting your readers know. I also suggest either pre-scheduling content for that time period or asking other bloggers to fill in (either with paid freelance contributions or with guest posts). Examples of extended breaks might be maternity leave, a long period where you'll be traveling, having to take care of an ill family member, or dealing with an unextended long-term illness or injury yourself.

On the other hand, if other things come up and you'll miss a day or two here or there, I suggest not announcing it to your readers. If you have the time to write that kind of announcement, you had the time to write something they'd find more valuable. Like it or not, we're never as important as we like to think we are. Most readers won't even know you're gone for a few days, or even a few weeks. So don't bring attention to it. Just get back to blogging as soon as possible.

Handling Rude Comments

Anne also mentioned that she occasionally gets rude comments (specifically from "grammar police" types). She asked how rude commenters can be dealt with.

First, I think it's important to remember that "rude" is subjective. The fact that you don't like what someone says doesn't make it rude. Someone disagreeing with you isn't, on its own, rude. And just because you let your feelings get hurt, again, it doesn't necessarily mean a comment was "rude" or that it deserves to be censored. We writers can be a sensitive bunch, and sometimes there are legitimate complaints aired in comments, and we simply need to grow thicker skins.

That said, some comments are flat-out rude, and it's perfectly okay to keep those off your blog. Only you know what kind of tone is appropriate for your blog and its readers. If comments would drive other readers away, go ahead and block them. Just don't get into the habit of censoring everything that isn't flattering. Readers notice that, and over time it can hurt your credibility.

The real answer to rude comments is having a comment policy in place on your blog. Link to it near the comment form. And don't be afraid to enforce it.

Blog Post Frequency vs Consistency

Emily Fowler asked whether it's better to stick to an infrequent, but consistent posting schedule (say once per month) or to post more frequently even if it's sporadic (such as once per week for a while, and then nothing for a month).

Given the situations Emily mentioned, my suggestion is to start by focusing on the less frequent, but more consistent, posting schedule. Then, if you find yourself with more time to write extra posts during one month, go ahead and write them. Then spread them out by scheduling them in future months.

For example, let's say you start with that schedule of writing one post per month. Then you find yourself with extra time, and during one month you write four posts. Rather than posting all four of them together, my suggestion is to post two -- your usual post, plus one more. Then schedule those extra two posts during the next two months in addition to the regular posts for those months. This way, rather than having one month with four posts and then only one post per month after that, you would have a three month period with two posts per month.

Who knows? Maybe you'll find that the increased posting frequency for a few months leads to more traffic, more e-book sales through your blog, more gigs from clients who find you through your blog, etc. You might find that it's worth increasing your schedule in the long run. Or not.

Finding Good Blog Contributors (and Optimizing Your Time)

KeriLynn Engel asked about hiring blog contributors. This is something I've done with around half a dozen blogs. I've had blogs where all content is published by other contributors and I simply manage things (blogs launched as income streams that I don't necessarily need my name associated with). I've also had blogs where I hire contributors and I also contribute to them myself (this blog included when it was still AllFreelanceWriting.com). Here are a few tips I've picked up along the way:

  • Ideally stick to bloggers you already trust. The more you can trust a blogger to act in the best interest of your site without a lot of oversight, the more time you'll save by hiring them.
  • If you expect a lot of extras from you bloggers to help you save even more time (image sourcing or creation, social media promotion, comment management, etc.), make sure you're prepared to pay more for that.
  • Turn to job boards if you have to, but try to stick to specialized ones. And know that bigger isn't always better. For example, post a gig on CraigsList at a decent pay rate, and you can find yourself bombarded with dozens (or hundreds) of applications. And most of those bloggers won't come close to meeting your requirements.
  • Give your contributors accounts on your blog. Let them input the content into your admin area so you don't have to. You can have them save posts as drafts, so don't worry about them sending things live before you can review them. The idea is to spend as little time as possible managing bloggers. If you don't save time, you might as well write the content yourself.

Get Your Writing Questions Answered

The All Freelance Writing Podcast is largely a listener Q&A show. So I'd love to hear your questions about freelance writing, blogging, or indie publishing. If you'd like me to consider answering your question in a future podcast episode, you can contact me in three different ways:

  1. Email me at jenn@allfreelancewriting.com.  Include the phrase "Podcast Question" in your subject line to make sure the email is filtered correctly so I don't miss it.
  2. Submit your question through the contact form on this page.
  3. Leave me a voicemail by calling 484-575-1345. You'll be directly connected to voicemail. Please note that if you leave a question via voicemail, I might play that voicemail during a future episode if I'm able to answer your question.

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