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The Power of Blog Projects

Post Post Post… yawn… Post Post Post… sigh… Post Post Post… eyes glazing over…

  • Do you ever find blogging a little mind numbing as a blogger?
  • Do you ever look at other people’s blogs and feel a little bored?

Most bloggers who have been blogging for a sustained period of time go through patches where either they feel less energized, inspired or motivated to blog and/or where they sense their readers becoming less engaged or a little bored.

This is totally normal and if you feel it’s happening to you at the moment you’re not alone – it happens to us all at one point or another. The key is to get over the hump and keep pushing on because it’s often in these patches that bloggers give up.

One of the things that many bloggers find helpful to get them over these times is to start some kind of a ‘project’.

You see the problem is that it’s easy to get into a somewhat monotonous cycle with a blog where the posts all begin to merge into one in your mind (and in the mind of your readers) and everyone is lulled into a fairly zombie like state.

To snap everyone out of it some kind of ‘project’ can work.

By project I’m not thinking of any one thing – but rather some sort of endeavor that is a little out of the blue or different that goes beyond a single post. The idea is to do something that shakes things up a little – for both you as a blogger and for your readers.

Let me give you five examples of Blog Projects:

1. A Series - perhaps the most common and doable projects for most readers is when they run a series on their blog. I’ve written before about the benefits of writing a series (and how to put a series together) but one of the main things I like about them is that they can help to build momentum on a blog for both readers and bloggers. There’s nothing more motivating for me to publicly say that I’m going to write 5-6 posts on a topic over a week!

2. Competitions – a well run competition can bring a lot of energy to a blog (note the emphasis on well run – I’ve written about how to run successful competitions previously). They can grab attention, draw readers to do something (instead of lurking) and even bring a fresh influx of readers.

3. Reader Project – I’ve run numerous ‘group writing projects’ (and variations of them) here at ProBlogger. You can see how I’ve run them here and here but really there are no ‘rules’ with these types of things and bloggers have run many projects that involve their readers. They key for me is to do something interactive – get your readers doing something, submitting something or engaging with you or one another in some way.

4. Try a New Medium - I can think of two things that I’ve tried for the first time in the last year or so that have brought energy both to my readers and I. They are regular Video Posts and using Twitter. Starting to experiment with a new medium can be a lot of fun and give you a new lease on life (and blogging). The key is to not drop your blogging at the expense of the new thing. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers drop their blogs as they’ve increased their use of Twitter and in my mind this could be something of a mistake. Don’t throw away what you’ve done previously – but use the new medium to build on it.

5. Start an Experiment - this isn’t something I’ve done a lot of myself but I’ve seen other bloggers start ongoing or short term experiments on their blogs. The idea is to announce that you’re starting to experiment with something related to your topic and then document what you find. a recent example that I’ve seen is my brother-in-law Sime who earlier in the week announced his seven day quest to have his photography published in mainstream media. Experiments like these give you motivation to post but can also be fascinating for readers to watch.

These five examples are just that – examples of things that I and other bloggers have tried. There are no doubt many more that others could add to the list and I’d love to hear about some of your own projects. What have you tried? What worked? What did you learn?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Farfield says:

    Well luckily I’m not bored yet, as I just started. I’m really focusing on good content at the moment though, and not really focusing on writing a post every day.

    But when I ever get to that point I think this post gives some great tips. I like #5, the experiment. It’s just interesting to see people try things out and watch how they do it and if it works. Although I don’t like thos blogs with experiments like “earning a million in a month” without any real plan, just trying to attract readers (to er.. see them fail?)

  2. Rob Brydon says:

    Darren,

    I have started a couple series on my website, but never completely follow through as much as I should. I just read your 10 steps to a successful series and I am giong to try it out.

    Thanks

  3. thePig says:

    My blog is very new so am still super motivated. I am sure I will hit the low energy state at some point and will definitely look back here for some ideas to spice it up.

    Thanks very much for the tips. Even as a new blogger it is good to know there are ways to help sustain it into the long term.

  4. I’ve found that polls, competitions, and most types of questions always elicit the best conversation and blog ideas.

    As always, thanks for the great advice!

  5. I’ve really done none of these things…haven’t had a competition, a series, a reader project or anything in a long time! Thanks for the apt post as this is something that my readers would probably greatly appreciate!

  6. Ann says:

    I’m still in the honeymoon phase with my blog, but I do plan to give it some structure with regular weekly features.

  7. Sangesh says:

    I have seen all of these being applied in @ probloggers. I am also very eager to use of of these. Btw, I do use guest articles and also photo blogs to some extent to increase my blogger network.

  8. MrCooker says:

    Just recently I started a serie of 4 post, from which I’ve done 1. And I’ve yet to see the result because it’s in the early stages.

    I should read your post about how to put a serie together first…I’m on it now.

    Thanks for the good tips once again.

  9. Muscle Post says:

    I’ve only been blogging for about a month so I haven’t run into this problem yet, but I can definitely imagine how this might happen.

    Creating “projects” sounds like a great way to break the monotony if you are feeling a little bored. Sometimes I also like to switch gears and spend a good portion of the day marketing my blog because this is very important also and something I find quite interesting in itself.

  10. I’ve only tried the series (worked well)
    The competition (worked well, but non-targeted traffic)
    And the new medium (video/podcast, but still trying to do it on a more regular basis)

    Number 5 the experience sounds cool to try :) btw Darren I’m current in a blogging contest on gameriot.com and it’s my goal to win using the knowledge I’ve learned here and elsewhere on blogging & marketing.

    Currently I’m not doing so shabby ;)

  11. John Lessnau says:

    Creating original content the brings in current and new readers will keep you energized as you see your visitor and revenue numbers climb.

    Blogging when no one is listening is definately mind-numbing.

  12. Great ideas, Darren. The most exciting “project” I’ve seen recently was Bossy’s (www.iambossy.com) cross-country road trip to meet her readers and fellow bloggers. She kept us posted throughout her trip with photos and blog posts and also featured a couple of posts from her kids at home to show what the house looked like while she was gone. It definitely reeled me in and made me a more consistent reader.

    xoxo
    tcb

  13. This post has given me a bunch of ideas. I’m going to try writing a series and see how well that works. It is a great idea, and as a reader, I know that I am naturally more drawn to blogs (here and elsewhere) when I am following a series. If the series is a good one, I can hardly wait for the next post! That is why I think it works so well…

    …it keeps your readers in a state of suspense.

    I have tried a few “experiments” but I haven’t posted about them while they are going on. Sometimes I wonder if I will follow through and be able to pull it off. I don’t want them to turn out badly I suppose. Nothing really turns out badly though because there is always something to learn from it. You could post about what you learned in the experiment if it did not got as planned. I really like this idea and plan to test it out.

    Thanks for all the inspiration Darren!

  14. When I’m not feeling particularly inspired to post, I stick to something simple.

    I might pose a creative question to my audience, allowing them to feel inspired enough to leave exciting comments…

    Or I might simply post a photograph, something that will inspire others.

    Inspiration quickly returns – it’s an ebb and flow.

  15. Cecelia says:

    I took your advice and added a video post. It was easy and fun; I’m not sure if a regular video section would work on my site but I love the idea!

  16. Steve says:

    Thanks for the great tips Darren,

    Using a new medium is a great one. It seems as though many bloggers constrain themselves to only one medium – their blog.

    Their are so many different mediums of communication on the internet its almost insane to stick with just one.

  17. I like the idea of doing experiments, I’ve done numerous ones on myself on my blog – the current one I’m doing is a 12-week experiment in healing my emotional eating, updated every Wednesday – it’s something I’ve needed to work on anyway and this way I’ve turned it into an experiment on myself (using a certain program).

  18. H.E.Eigler says:

    I don’t usually get bored with what I post but I often get bored of other blogs….does that make me conceited? It does? Hmmmm.

    I’m starting a giveaway project to hopefully gain some readers and links. I think I might document the process for future posts :)

    http://maternalspark.blogspot.com

  19. Nancy says:

    I’m working on two series right now to keep me motivated while I’m in school and to give me something to continue once I’m finished with school (two weeks!) I am chronicling my clutter clearing once a week, and once a month I post a list and reviews of books I’m reading, dvd’s I’m watching and so forth. I find that doing a series helps to keep me motivated when I am busy doing other things, that way I don’t have to think too much and I get a good post up.

  20. I’ve successfully used the series idea and videos to illustrate my topics.

    One of the most successful is interactive. Since one of my challenges is getting visitors to actually leave comments on my blog, I came up with an ethical bribe. In the very last lesson of one of my e-courses I offer subscribers a free report when they review the course on my blog. They leave it following the post where I announced the course. This is working very well, plus it gives me testimonials to promote the e-course on my website and in my newsletter.

  21. These are all great ideas. Blogging is such a creative medium, there is nothing you really can’t do. Even before I read this post, I started to blog on a great book I found called “THE POWER OF CONCENTRATION”. The book was published in 1911 and focuses on training your mind to get the things you want. It’s very much involves “The Law of Attraction”, and you can get the book at my site (in PDF form) I’m planning on writing a summary for every chapter. Not only do I learn something, but I think my readers will too. This is definitely a fun way to blog!

    - Dave

  22. The only thing I have done is a series on how I stopped smoking. It was very successful. The only thing that was weird about it was when part 2 was posted nobody read part 1 anymore. And then when part 3 (the final in the series) was published nobody read part 1 or part 2 anymore. But the 3 post were read quite a few times and still are.

    I have been writing shorter post recently. I think that I was burning myself out and burning my readers out on the longer ones. We’ll see how it works.

    Live From Las Vegas
    The Masked Millionaire

  23. Ryan McLean says:

    I am currently experiencing this exact thing. I called it blogger boredom. I am running a series on my financial blog on How to Master Your Debt in 30 Days.
    This keeps me interested in writing as I have a set project I want to accomplish and write about and I am hoping that this will increase readers.
    I am already planning my next project and I am only 5/30 days through my current project.
    A project definately makes blogging more exciting

  24. Sandy Naidu says:

    Running a series is my favourite…I find that they keep motivated (to learn and write)

  25. Trisha says:

    All those are great ideas – but you really need to be getting a decent amount of regular readers to your blog for them to work. That’s the problem I still have.

  26. Being a photo blogger the main disadvantage in producing regular content is that my blog is largely dependent on the time taken to sort out the photos. So I have been using luchtimes at work (I don’t have Photoshop on my work laptop so I can’t work on photos during officer hours) to write series and project blogs that aren’t dependent on my own photos.

    By doing this it means that I can keep a backup supply of blogs (I usually have 4 or 5 draft blogs at any one time ready to publish) and can keep publishing two to three times a week. Plus doing something different from the day-to-day photo blog keeps me motivated/inspired/engaged.

  27. Sketchee says:

    I was just thinking about writing a series and now I’m motivated to follow through with it thanks to this post

  28. ShaharY says:

    This i really a great idea. I love the Series idea most and actually started one in my blog – http://www.dev102.com.
    The series is about “Programming job Interview Challenge” where each week i post a job interview question and let readers answer them (by writing their post, leaving a comment, mail). In the following week i post the readers answers, the correct answer and the next question.
    this kind of series really can help to build momentum on a blog as you said…

  29. Sime says:

    It’s true… My little “Seven days to published” has generated more traffic than usual.. I am not so much “in a slump” as… “I have too much to say” so – maybe I’m flooding my viewers?.. Though, I only have about 68 of them, so, I guess they’ll be ok!… Thanks, Darren for the link!..

    Sime

    [Day Two : Not published yet!]

  30. Bambi Blue says:

    Wow! This was super helpful. I’m constantly trying to come up with new ideas to spice up the blog. I’m going to try many/all of these! Kudos :)

  31. Kissie says:

    First thing what I tried after I got bored with my blog, decided to start a new one. Then I thought that it was so me – abandoning every single thing started and decided to just change the design. It helped a lot : )

    After some time I managed to start creative art project, another blog – for me and 2 or three my friends. Well, the idea had success… It’s been more than a month now, the project is running, more than 50 readers submit their stories or art weekly, I’m starting to negotiate with local magazines to publish it. This project was great motivator not only for me, but for my readers also – It drew traffic to my main (private) blog, and we feel that we became interesting for a lot of people. : ) Maybe soon I’ll start an English blog for the same project. I just don’t have enough bravery yet…

  32. This is a good suggestion. One of my challenges in providing content is to keep my readers satisfied while learning something new. Will think more about the suggestions here so I can apply these in my blog.