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Whose Blog First?

This guest post is by Shakirah Dawud of Deliberate Ink.

Writing for three blogs on a regular basis, with the odd request for a guest post elsewhere, my writing plans are already tight. But because I write for overlapping fields of interest, my  plans can also tangle. The most common:

  • Snag A: The topic could be of use to any blog I write for. Should I send it to my friend’s blog, where the people know me better, or let it air at the writing forum where it’ll snag more eyeballs?
  • Snag B: If I don’t write about this topic I’m gonna bust wide open, but it’s not appropriate for my audience’s needs, my friend won’t be able to post it till it’s no longer relevant, and I don’t think enough people will see it over a the writer’s group.
  • Snag C: I have one blog topic on my mind right now, and only one. But I have three blogs to post to this week.

Whose blog first?

It might seem obvious the answer is my blog, but that’s not always the case. Depending on who the audience is, what the post is addressing, and the characteristics of the other blogs, it can be tough to decide.

Look at the post. When you have a post that may fit more than one blog, the post itself can sometimes tell you which blog it belongs to. What level of the industry or topic are you addressing? What point are you making? What image are you projecting?

Look at the blogs. Each of the blogs you write for may lie within the same area of interest or industry. But the reason you chose to write for them is because of their differences. What are those differences? Community size, reach, posting schedule, and general atmosphere often make your pieces self-selecting.
Look at the audiences. Think of one reader from each of your blogs. Don’t make one up. Literally find the readers who interact most often with comments and shares. Ask yourself which piece each person would most enjoy reading, and don’t hesitate to give it to him.

Readers have rights. It’s unfair to try shoehorning a post into anyplace it doesn’t belong (at least, not without a good excuse). That’s why you should look at the other factors involved when deciding where to post what. But what happens if you have something valuable to share, and nowhere to share it? Network with your fellow bloggers and find the right fit for a guest post.

Plan ahead. Do this only if you want to avoid getting into any posting snag in the first place. Create a chart including each of your blogs and the dates you’ll be posting. Fill in each date with more than one topic idea. This way there’s no worry about topics that overlap because there’s always an extra. Pick one and start writing, tangle-free.

Shakirah Dawud is the writer and editor behind Deliberate Ink. Based in Maryland with roots in New York, she’s been crafting effective marketing copy as a writer and polishing many forms of prose as an editor since 2002. Clients in many fun sizes, industries, and locations reach her through the Web.

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Comments

  1. Drewry says:

    can I join in, please? :-)

  2. Great tips. Must be hard keeping up with writing assignments all the time.

  3. Philos Mudis says:

    Managing more than one blog is not easy especially when you have no guest contributions for your own blogs and other bloggers looking forward to receiving your guest posts. It gets even harder when you get into blogging and immediately start a second blog.

    Balance is what is needed. Most of the times I write post titles that come to my mind in a notebook and follow the title with a @ sign then a blog name (or URL) where I want the article to be published on once I write it.

    So some are labelled guest posts etc etc and the work gets smoother that way. Happy blogging Shakirah.

    • I like your tip for categorizing ideas by blog and type of post immediately, Philos. Balance is definitely key, and guest posts have certainly gotten me out of more than onr tight spot!

  4. Great tips. I must start implementing them !
    ~Subodh

  5. Michael says:

    Balance is definitely hard to do. Especially when you are starting on the process of guest posting like I have been doing recently. But once you get through some of that, it gets a little easier over time.

  6. I am running two blogs, exactly the same niche, one in English, the other one in my native language, Indonesian. I was born and raised there for 18 years, but for the past 18 years I lived in the US. I can share some of the pain of running more than 1 blog. I have 2 people who also write regularly, so that helps. But it does take a toll because the main responsibility is on my shoulder. How do you keep yourself fresh as a writer to keep up with all these demands? I am very interested in comparing notes on that topic….

    • Chanuka, I’d say having regular writers on your team is a huge weight off your shoulders, and one I’ve also found to my advantage. I maintain only one blog of my own; the other two I write for are also contributedt to by other bloggers, and I’m not the administrator on either one.

      One thing you can do that I’ve seen work well on one of the blogs I write for is use a plugin called “What should we write about next?” http://www.prelovac.com/vladimir/wordpress-plugins/what-should-we-write-about-next It provides your readers with the opportunity to tell you what they’d like to read more of, and you can give it to them. Copyblogger’s Brian Clark’s mantra: give them what they want!

      Another good way to stay fresh is to talk to the writers you collaborate with, and pool your ideas. We’ve created series, each writer approaching one topic differently, and that worked well, too.

      I’d be happy to share more ideas.

  7. Shakirah,

    I didn’t know you wrote for so many places. I liked this: “Readers have rights. It’s unfair to try shoehorning a post into anyplace it doesn’t belong (at least, not without a good excuse).” But personally, I think I would phrase it as readers deserve respect — which seems to be at the core of what you are saying.

    Keep the reader in mind, keep the venue in mind, and our own place is not always the best choice.

    Good food for thought Shakirah!

    • This is just my first time at Problogger, Adam, thanks! I appreciate your rephrase from the customer service point of view, which could be melded into: respect your readers’ rights.

  8. William Lee says:

    Managing more than one blog is not easy. I tried it before and now I am focusing on one blog. I have more free time for myself and I can rest my mind to stop thinking of new contents. :)

    • It certainly is the easier road, William. I’m really only managing one blog: my own. But I contribute regularly to two others and am frequently guesting elsewhere.

  9. Shakirah, one way I’ve worked out the “where to share” dilemma is by writing more than one blog post around a topic, posting them at the same time to different blogs, and directing readers to the other post or posts.

    For example, I wrote a series on finding your target audience online for the SMB Collective (small- and medium-business topics), and directed readers of those posts to companion posts on New England Multimedia’s blog (social media marketing tips). That way, I’m meeting the needs of both audiences, on different sites, and thus creating backlinks as well.

    I do like your idea of an editorial calendar! I really need to do that in 2012, especially since I write for several blogs. That’s a great idea, and will help me see possibilities for companion posts between those blogs.

    • Wow, Michelle, that’s ingenious, and shows off your impressive strategizing abilities :). I’d like to try that one myself, thanks for sharing.

  10. Paul Alan says:

    Great post. Keep up the good work!

  11. xramotak says:

    maybe i can jiont it

  12. Josh Sarz says:

    I’ve always been choosing to write on my own blog, but lately I’ve been thinking about prioritizing writing guest posts more. Anyway, good thing to think about.

  13. I run two professional blogs but keeping up with regular posting on both is tough. At the end, I decided to prioritize the one blog which has a bigger market. I learned from Lynn of Clicknez that focussing on one potential blog alone until it becomes ripe and all keywords exhausted is better than focussing on two young blogs.

    • I agree with Lynn, and I currently manage only one blog myself. However I contribute to two other blogs with different areas of interest (so, three areas of interest at three different blogs). Both those blogs were well established already, so I didn’t have to worry too much about the “building” part anywhere but for my own blog.

  14. Doctor Stock says:

    It’s fascinating how writing for blogs can be a full-time position really. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  15. Drewry says:

    hi Darren,

    thought about you today. wanted to stop by to wish you a very joyous holiday season, and a prosperous new year. Keep up the good work in your blogging efforts. You are definitely an inspiration to the Internet masses! :-)

  16. Ling says:

    Planning is a lot of effort for some people. But we should start finishing tasks before things get more complicated.

  17. Hooker says:

    An interesting topic. One that I had yet to consider. I can’t imagine having 3 blogs when 1 takes up pretty much every minute I have to spare. I currently have 2, but it seems that 1 of them always takes a back seat to the other.

    • I only own one blog of my own. The other two I contribute to on a regular basis. And I can tell you it’s tough enough without having to maintain all three!

  18. Amandah says:

    Blogging for more than one blog is a dilemma I’m facing. I started one of my blogs in 2008 and a few more over the next three years. The problem is I’m becoming bored with some of them. It’s also too much to handle right now. Dilemma #2 … I feel like I’m blogging on the ‘same old, same old’ topics that are found everywhere on the internet. It’s becoming a chore rather than a joy. Plus, I feel like I’m not stretching my writing skills. So … I recently started a fun website/blog called Daily Family Antics. I love it! It’s allowing me to stretch my writing and comedic skills. I’m interested in screenwriting and would love to work with Tina Fey on a comedy. The world can use more laughter right now.

    Daily Family Antics allows me to stretch my graphic design skills as well. I’ve gotten away from graphic design; however, DFA gives me the opportunity to create and write a comic strip to go along with it. I’m having a blast writing the blog posts and creating the comic strip. I don’t have a shortage of topics.

  19. CindyV says:

    I really like this idea. You have to weigh the benefits. I too have several blogs and often think it’s best to choose which puzzle piece fits best.

  20. I have a calendar for my own blogs to stay on focus, but I also write a lot of stuff that just comes to me, and that’s what I use on other websites, I’ll always try and find the best home for it.