How to Talk to a Blogger
I’ve arrived in the southern part of the Mid-Western United States for WordCamp Dallas and have already started meeting fans and friends. While I love to talk blogging anywhere and any how, I’m finding it interesting how some people are having trouble talking to a blogger. This goes beyond “what is blogging?” This is when you are a blogger confronted with another blogger and you want to ask questions, but you don’t know what to say.
I’ve had people rush up, all excited to talk to me, then stumble with their words, unable to get out anything intelligent. I know they are brilliant people, but talking blogging requires some planning, especially when meeting someone you’ve come to know so well online. In person, the dynamics change. One person asked me to tell them how I got started. Hm, let’s see, how do I sum up 14 years of blog struggles in 10 seconds or less? Another person said, “Well, so what do you blog about?” Since I knew that they knew what I blogged about, we both know it’s an awkward question and that they are just trying to say something until something better comes along.
Another popular question is “Where do you find things to write about?” How do you come up with blog stories and articles? While the answer can be interesting, from one blogger to another, we know where blog stories come from: anywhere and everywhere.
While these are good questions to ask, they are not the questions bloggers should be asking other bloggers. Let’s put the nerves aside and look at some tips on how to talk to a fellow blogger about blogging.
What is Your Favorite Subject to Write About?
I’m often asked what I blog about but rarely asked what is my favorite subject to write about on my blogs. It’s a much more interesting question and can jump start a great conversation.
As a web consultant, I write about a lot of things associated with WordPress and blogging that are boring – well, at least to me. I spend too much of my day writing, talking, teaching, and consulting on the subjects. While you may want to pick my brain about WordPress and blogging, get me interested in you by asking me what are the most fun things I’ve written and what are the favorite things I enjoy blogging about, and I promise, you will get WordPress and blogging tips along with some fun stories.
It’s always much more fun to talk about what you enjoy doing rather than just what you do for work. Help your fellow blogger remember the joy in blogging and ask them where they find the joy when they blog.
What’s the Strangest Reaction You’ve Gotten to a Blog Post?
Blogging is like most publishing. You publish with the best of intentions but don’t always get the anticipated reaction. While professional publishers study demographics and have experts advise them on what to public to avoid surprise responses, planning for all response contingencies, bloggers often just put it out there with the hopes it will work. Sometimes it does – sometimes it doesn’t.
There are lessons to be learned from fellow bloggers on what works and what doesn’t, as well as how well a blogger can read their audience. So ask. You could well learn how to read your own audience better.
What is the Hardest Blog Post You’ve Ever Written?
Oh, could I tell stories with that question! I bet you could, too. A lot of what we blog about is easy. Straight downloads from our brains and experiences. While some blog posts are important to write, many are painful, too. We struggle over each word, each point, sometimes taking hours, days, or even months to get it “just right” before unleashing it on the public.
Bloggers know how important the word “publish” is, so we fret and fuss over our blog posts, some more or less, but when it comes to those really important, risky, daring, and unusual blog posts – they are like our children. We prepare them for the big world and then send them out to confront the reality of the cold harsh world. It’s scary!
You’ll get some interesting stories from bloggers if you ask them about the hardest stories they’ve had to tell, as well as the ones they have never published.
How Do You Find Time to Blog?
While most people want to know where bloggers come up with blog stories, why not ask a more technical and interesting question about how we blog? How do bloggers find time to blog? When do you blog? Do you write the blog posts in your head and then blog only on weekends? Do you rush to the computer when you have an idea and write it out then?
We all have work schedules, family schedules, and lives around which blogging has to fit. We all have interesting stories about how we fit blogging into our lives. So ask.
What is the Hardest Part of Blogging for You?
There are a lot of challenges to blogging. While WordPress is working overtime to make the interface for blogging as easy and simple to use as possible, there are still technical issues that get in the way of a blogger blogging.
There are also other challenges such as finding content, fact-checking, determining how much of a blog post to quote in order to make your point and theirs within an article, how to link, what to link to, understanding the mysteries of Google PageRank, monetization or not, where to put ads, what works, what doesn’t…the list is long. Then there are the fun and games of content theft, splogs, scraping, comment spam, trackback spam, abusive bloggers, abusive commenters…
So what is it your fellow blogger finds the most frustrating aspect of blogging? And how do they overcome the challenge?
If You Could Change Some Aspect of Blogging, What Would You Change?
Bloggers know their blogging tool, audience, and procedures. They are the experts in blogging. So why not ask them for their expertise?
What would they change, if they could change anything, about the blogging process? What would they improve? What would they fix? What is broken? What isn’t?
You never know where an idea for a story, Plugin, program, or tool can come from, so why not ask. You might inspire others, or be inspired to be the one to bring the next advancement in blogging to the fore.
What is the Most Fun Part of Blogging for You?
There is so much to love in blogging and everyone finds joy in blogging in their own way. I love the people I meet through my blog. I love learning from everyone who blogs. Some people enjoy having a virtual social life without any of the makeup, hair, and clothing worries. Others like the play of words on the page. Most like the control of “being a published writer” and fame that can come. Some just like that it boosts their marketing coverage and business.
We all have stories on what aspect of blogging is so much fun. So ask us. We’d love to tell you.
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.
I always bring my “alien” to a conference. It is only a piece of wood, but it always starts a conversation. It is a good ice breaker.
Nothing to do with blogging, but once people start talking freely, it will gravitate to blogging. Guaranteed.
JOE! I adore your alien. We had some long chats at SOBCon last year – so how has alien been? For anyone attending SOBCON, meeting Joe’s alien is one of the highlights of the conference! A better listener I’ve yet to meet.
All very good information to have. I hadn’t thought about what questions I could ask someone of your caliber.