Are you a Marathon Blogger or a Sprinter?

Filed as Features on June 27, 2008 5:32 am

Blogging has probably matured a great deal since you started. Part of it is that it has reached critical mass, or tipping point, as it may be. The more people have blogs, the more blogs out there contending for everyone’s time and attention. Part of it is that thanks to all the great advice out there, many have learned about the ins and outs of:

- attracting readers
- getting comments
- writing better content
- having cleaner designs
- increasing subscribers
- finding post ideas
- staying the course

Social media and marketing have become so ubiquitous, that one of the things we rarely think about is the way in which we approach publishing and how that feeds back into our self esteem and brand. If you feel well conditioned and ready for a rush of activity, good for you. If instead, you feel that you are in a race that never ends, you may need to take inventory of why that is. It could be that:

You’re overextended – too much distance in too many terrains

When your creativity is being scattered over too many sites, even if you consider yourself remarkably creative, your concentration suffers. So does your writing. In addition, your brand will become diluted.

It works just like it works with products and services. You need to pick a focus, a home base site, and develop that well. If you have multiple sites, you may want to pull back some of that work and put it on your main site.

Being overextended also means being tired and tired people’s nerves fray more easily. That is when you are likely to make a bad judgment call, or react to a comment instead of responding. That’s when things rip apart.

You are getting tired of the language of social media – too crowded

The words “conversation” “anything 2.0 or social media” even “blog” are being rendered less valuable by their mass appropriation. There’s just a lot of it out there, and some folks are busy pounding the terminology flat. The general solution here is to start looking past those words as your central point of reference.

Chances are your brand and business are much more than those terms. You need to get past them and focus on where you are going next, vs. where you are now. Words are very powerful and they can change how you think about what you do – and help others do the same.

Do you need to broaden your horizons, change your pace? Maybe you need to get out of the race altogether.

You may just not enjoy what you are doing anymore – you need rest

If you’re having a hard time coming up with fresh ideas regularly and just do not look forward to writing, you may suffer from burn out. It colors everything you do. Even when you’re writing well, you’re not appreciating your own success.

It’s a sign that it’s time for a change.

Blogging is also changing – bursts of activity scattered in more places

Discussion is migrating elsewhere. A lot of the smart people are migrating to things like Friendfeed — which is an important service — Facebook, and all the other stuff like Twitter and Plurk.

You might be able to restrict your availability on these outside discussions, driving conversation back to your site. Or maybe participating in off-site stuff increases your influence and drives the site. No one knows how that will play, yet.

It may be that you have to shift your expectations of a good post or a good week at your blog. It’s a time of flux in this area — it’s tough to say now. Maybe you’ll know in a year you’ll see what evolves in this area. The technology is still changing, too.

In the future, discussion may become very portable — very decentralized. But there will be software hooks back into websites. So you’ll comment where you wish, but the comments will get hooked wherever the publisher wants them.

Friendfeed, for instance, could be hooked to your site. When people comment on FF, the discussion is a sort of trackback. Friendfeed-like services may become social networks that get anchored where you want them. All hooked together. It will be easy when it’s ready. You’ll add a widget: done.

Content will propagate through these tools, eventually. Nets on top of nets. Communities will become more like flash mobs as these tools get adopted. More like butterflies, actually. People will see a bright flower, visit, and move on. They’ll be back.

Like any activity, business can be approached with a view to the long haul or in a very focused, and temporary manner. Are you in it for the long run, or is this just a sprint to your next destination? Are you a marathon blogger or a sprinter? There is no right or wrong, just make sure it is what you want.

Tags: , ,

This post was written by

You can visit the for a short bio, more posts, and other information about the author.


Submissions & Subscriptions

Submit the post to Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg or Del.icio.us.

Did you like it? Then subscribe to our RSS feed!



  1. By Hendry Lee posted on June 27, 2008 at 2:15 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I am definitely a marathon blogger. I can’t find a reason why people would build a temporary blog if that works for their business.

    Reply

  2. By Jon posted on June 27, 2008 at 2:48 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    ‘Nets on top of nets’.

    I like that. I think that blogging, and maybe most other user generated content will be looked at as being posted to the web, not just a site. I don’t worry about comments too much. From the comments I do get (lots thru email, rather than the site comments) it seems that my readers are generally more inexperienced with all things pc. For instance, search traffic went through the roof when I started doing the Fake EMail series. Regardless, if comments are being made about me over at Conversation Agent, or on MySpace or Facebook or wherever, hey, that’s cool. Somebody talkin’ bout Wordout. I like it.

    Another thought that struck me while I was reading above is specialization. I was really starting to question the value of Wordout a few months back, and getting a bit depressed about it. Then a few friends convinced me that I wasn’t doing as well as I wanted because I was painted into a corner, because I wouldn’t cover things like business, politics and the climate. The final argument came from my son. He asked,”Why are you wasting that name? Somebody else would actually DO it.”

    So now I’m not so specialized on the site. And readership has increased by more than 300% each month since. And, I just wish I had more time to write….

    I love your work, Valerie. Oh, and I’m a marathon commenter! ;)

    Reply

  3. By Slevi posted on June 28, 2008 at 5:51 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    A marathon blogger I’d say, definitely in there for the long run and nearly on the 2nd birthday of my blog. And so far that’s going quite well for me, I don’t see any reason to give up on it anytime soon :).

    Reply

  4. By Valeria Maltoni posted on June 28, 2008 at 8:55 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    @Hendry – well put. Sometimes we are tempted to abandon project just as they are about to work.

    @Jon – did you ever write that piece on “self-service Web advertising”? You had such an interesting presentation of the concept. I like the fact that you were listening to your son. That shows connection on more than one level. We tend to start off on many things with much enthusiasm and energy. The real test comes when our ideas meet reality. I am glad that many in this forum view themselves as individuals who are in it for the long run.

    @Slevi – I enjoyed your creative articulation of why the naming of your site mattered and how you went about it. Congratulations on being almost upon the closing of your second year. I am, too with Conversation Agent and I know it takes a lot of work and commitment to make it happen.

    Reply

  5. By Bob Brancato posted on July 5, 2008 at 7:56 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Hi Valeria,

    Nice name. Bellissimo. Marathon blogger here. Small niche topic. Seeing slow, but steady growth after six months.

    Enjoyed the article,

    Bob

    Reply

    Your words are your own, so be nice and helpful if you can. If this is the first time you're posting a comment, it might go into moderation. Don't worry, it's not lost, so there's no need to repost it! We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it please.

    Current ye@r *