Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, Uncategorized

Blogging: Importance of Voice & Choosing your Audience

It’s prep week for Blaugust Mentors, so I decided to sit down and write about something that’s been on my mind lately. Prep week focuses on giving some advice to new and upcoming bloggers — so you’ll see a lot of useful information about blogging platforms, choosing topics, consistently writing, picking your blog name/URL — very important stuff!

I wanted to tackle some things that aren’t always so obvious to think about from the start: Voice/Tone and Audience.

These are actually concepts to think about no matter what kind of writing you’re doing — blogging, fiction, bussines, etc. And while you might be going… “Oh gosh, I’m just trying to put some words on the page, when do I have time to figure this out?” …I feel that establishing your blogging voice and knowing who you’re writing for early on makes things easier.

What Attracts People?

Think about those folks you follow on social media. Think about your favorite streamers or YouTubers. What do these usually have in common?

They’ve established a personality (voice) that’s unique to themselves, and that’s something you’ve connected with. You start to like them as a person, and therefore, you come back to see what they have to say again and again.

They don’t have to share anything super personal for you to feel like… Hey, I jive with them, and they’re cool to listen to. If they take time to interact with their audience, oh man, they’re really a hit then!

There’s really no secret to what they’re doing (though it’s not always easy to maintain). They’ve just established a voice/personality and they’re consistent with producing content around a specific audience that responds to it. YOU!

Granted, this can take time and effort to achieve. Often, your own writing voice will evolve and change the more you learn about the craft of writing and the people you’re talking to. That’s totally okay! It’s a part of growing as a blogger.

But that doesn’t mean that when you sit down to roll up a blog that you can’t already be thinking: Hey, who am I writing this for? Who do I want to reach out to? 

Do you want to approach things with humor and an honest down-to-earth slice-of-life personality?

Or do you want to be known for someone who says what’s on their mind, no matter how brutally honest it is?

Maybe you want to establish yourself as someone who provides ground-breaking strategies and has an powerful authority over the topics you choose to write?

tone-of-voice

Different approaches will connect with different kinds of readers. It’s important to consider the pros and cons of the voice and approach you use — will you be able to maintain it over a long period of time, for example. Or will it exhaust you (or confine you) to try to step into the persona that you’re building?

Sometimes even refreshing an existing blog is just about taking a different point of view and changing your voice. 

With my blog, I’ve chosen to establish a casual and laid-back personality. It’s very much in line with who I really am IRL, so it’s easy to maintain.

You’ll hear me talk about what’s happened in my gaming life. I like to post things that make people laugh, if possible. I stay away from more somber and serious topics, even if that’s the direction everyone else seems to be taking. And if I do write things like a game review, it’s generally something based on how it made me feel, rather than a professional take on the game.

Thinking about your blogging voice and audience from the start will also help you decide on the overall feel and presentation of your blog. Once you know who you want to be, and who you want to write for, you can center your theme, blog name, and everything else around that to present a consistent face (a brand) to your audience.

 Join us at Blaugust!

Advertisements
Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Hey, Listen! Blaugust is Reborn!

If you’re a reader of other blogs across our lovely blogosphere, you may have already heard the news on the wind: Next week, Blaugust is returning! 

Though I haven’t written about it yet (was waiting till it was a bit closer to time… like now), this is an event I’m really pumped for… and that I hope that other bloggers will get excited about, too! I signed on to be a Mentor this year, so it’s probably time I start putting on my Mentor hat.

Prep week starts now. You’ll find a ton of great prep-posts ramping up already on the many mentor blogs that are participating — check out a spread sheet of who is who and where you can find them!

In the past, Blaugust (started by Belghast at Tales of the Aggronaut) has been focused on challenging folks to reach a certain number of posts within the month of August. This time around, he’s shaking the formula up quite a bit, and tossing in a pinch of Newbie Blogger Initiative (NBI) into the mix.

See more about this here.

This time, there are several levels of participation to take part in:

  • Newbie Blogger Award – You did it, you created a new blog and by god we are going to sing your praises for doing it!
  • Bronze Award – You made at least 5 posts during the Month of August 2018.
  • Silver Award – You made at least 15 posts during the Month of August 2018, go you!
  • Gold Award – You made at least 25 posts during the Month of August 2018, you are a badass!
  • Rainbow Diamond Award – You did it, you posted every single day during the Month of August 2018 and deserve accolades.

So even folks who ramp up a new blog or just post 5 times next month are all rockstars!

To help out through the month, we have the Mentor system and a structured set of themes to roll with:

  • July 25th – July 31st – Blaugust Prep Week – posts about the technical details of getting started in blogging.  Tutorials, advice, tips for naming your blog… that sort of stuff to get people ready to hit the ground on August 1st running.
  • August 1st – August 7th – Topic Brainstorming Week – posts about ideas for topics that the participants can then mine for the rest of the month.
  • August 8th – August 14th – Get to Know Each Other Week – hanging out and meeting other people in this new fledgling community and hopefully gaming together a bit!  Also highly support doing some sort of collaboration on shared topics!
  • August 15th – August 21st – Developer Appreciation Week – post about the things that you really appreciate in gaming or any other community… because chances are there is a developer or designer behind the things you love.
  • August 22nd – August 28th – Staying Motivated Week – tips and tricks that you might have to stay motivated and keep creating content against the tyranny of a blank screen.
  • August 29th – August 31st – The Final Stretch: Lessons Learned – as a way of getting us across the finish line, talk about some of the experienced you had during the month and maybe things you learned about yourself.

If this sounds exciting and interesting to you, by all means, please, please join us! Even if you don’t have a blog now, or need to blow the dust off an existing blog, we will welcome you with open arms!

Bel has a signup sheet to officialize your choice to participate, and a Discord where you can connect with fellow bloggers and mentors across the globe!

Hope to see you there! 

Posted in Blogging, Internet, Webcomics, Writing

The Passing of Project Wonderful & A Look at Current Blogging/Creativity

Does anyone remember Project Wonderful?

They are (were) a little company that allowed you to pay into the site and place ads up on other sites in the network. You could also place your own ads up on your page and people could purchase those in return.

A Short Look Back

pwadI used Project Wonderful quite a bit for various old blogs, writing sites, but especially for our webcomic, Wayrift. In fact, I think a high number of our long-term readers at Wayrift came from discovering us through Project Wonderful. For a small webcomic, it was an affordable option, and it really did connect a lot of the comics together.

At the height of advertising on Wayrift, I was not only breaking even, but making a little extra here or there. I won’t say that traffic was flooding in, but it wasn’t terrible, either. It was a pretty viable way of getting fresh eyes on our content. But for some reason, it fell out of practice for us to use it.

In fact, I haven’t used it a whole lot in the past 5-6 years. I did try a short stent with it last year, but didn’t really see a ton of results, and I was putting more money than I was getting views for. But even so, I never guessed it was on its last legs.

Relevance to the Blogosphere

Project Wonderful sent out an email yesterday (see it here) to inform all of us that this is the end. It said a few things that were relevant to how I’ve been feeling about the small websites, our blogs, and the health of the blogosphere. While this may be on the negative spectrum, I do think it’s relevant, and what I wanted to repost here:

…in the past several years, the internet has changed. Large sites like Facebook do all they can to keep readers on their network, rather than sending that traffic out to individual websites. As such, many readers – who used to visit dozens if not hundreds of websites a day – now visit only a few sites, and things like the indie “blogosphere” (remember that?) are disappearing. We’re hopeful that individual creators can adapt – either by embracing these walled gardens in a way that protects themselves, or by finding other ways to draw attention to their work – but as a network founded on supporting independent websites, our options were limited.

It’s certainly no secret that I’ve seen less and less in the way of active blogging as the years go by. There’s a certain set of writers who are either too stubborn, too dedicated or too frustrated to fold up shop and stop posting. But aside from those folks (thank goodness you’re here!), I’ve seen things slowing down as the years pass.

If we’re getting new folks in this space, they’re either hard to find, they don’t know the channels it takes to reach out and be heard, or they simply fizzle out after the magic of the new-blog smell wears off.

nbi_supporter_badgeThe NBI used to help a lot with that, but even that had trouble drumming up the energy and time to run. There wasn’t a whisper of it that I heard last month. I can’t say a lot because I’m in the same boat — with work and everything, I just don’t have the time to organize something of this magnitude. But it’s still a sad thing.

Interestingly, when I went to Google NBI, I found that there still appears to be a NBI Reddit out there that sometimes people post to, even recently. I wonder if that’s a tool that could be used for something more than it is now.

Anyhow, I’m starting to ramble. I don’t know that I rightly have the words to express my thoughts. I came from the early days of learning rudimentary HTML code in order to build your own free GeoCities site… because if you wanted to put your work out there, that was the best option you had. Due to that barrier, if you consistently made something good, it was noticed.

As the Web has grown, our options for communication have gotten wider to the point that everyone can easily spin up a site or a blog and share their thoughts. But just as many options as we have to be individuals online, as Project Wonderful has pointed out, with social media, our communication-vision has begun to grow narrower…

You can’t blame people for wanting to go where they think everything is (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Wattpad, etc.). But where does that leave all the creatives on the fringes? The new blogger. The new online web novelist. The uptsart webcomic. The digital artist…

Folks who are developing a craft and trying to find an audience? They don’t have much of a choice but to go where they think that audience is. Even if that means that they’re straying far from home into the sometimes scary world of social media. Even then, that doesn’t promise they’ll be seen or heard.

These thoughts are nothing new. They just keep getting stronger as the years go by.

I dunno. What do you guys think?

Posted in Blogging

200 Followers — Thank You!

I just got a note that said this blog has reached 200 followers! I know that’s not huge, but it means a lot to me!

Back when I moved this blog from my self-hosted to WordPress hosted, I lost all my followers. So I’ve had to build them back up again from scratch. While I don’t focus on my stats as much as I do just putting up posts, it’s still nice to be reminded of milestones.

Thanks again! 🙂

Posted in Blogging, Gaming, IRL, Uncategorized

Vegas Pokemon Conglomeration

Apologies in advance, this is going to be a really random post. Mostly, it has reference to a number of recent posts I’ve made, and a little to do with geeking and gaming. So, I figured it was relevant enough to ramble about.

Yesterday was my birthday. Syn, who has been my best friend for many years, was cooking something devious up, and I knew it. She mentioned it the night before, but I had no clue exactly what she meant to do.

Last night, she dropped the bomb on me: She bought me VIP tickets and a Photo op with my favorite band in the whole world – The Moody Blues. In Las Vegas. This September.

I was beside myself — mostly because it wasn’t cheap (but she had it in her head to do this, so I accepted the gift as graciously as I could). And then I thought of the planning I’d need to do for the trip.

And finally, the fact I really need to get into better shape before going on another trip. I spend my work time sitting in an office all day, and the time after that on the computer at home… and have for many years. I’m embarrassed to admit that my personal endurance and level of activity are both rock bottom, and have been for a while.

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I needed to start paying more attention to diet and exercise now that I’m not as young as I used to be. (Git off my lawn! :p ) And there’s nothing like a trip that requires being out of your normal elements to show you just how out of shape you are.

We had thoughts of attending the FFXIV Fan Fest again this year (not sure if that’s a thing that’s going to happen or not), and I told myself that I needed to get more active so I could feel better when I was in Vegas. Well, now I have show tickets, and am going to meet my musical heroes face to face. I really need to start moving!

And that leads back to Pokemon Go.

Yesterday, I joked and said that catching my first shiny was a sign that I needed to get back into the game. Well, here’s another sign that I need to get back to it, for health’s sake.

The nice thing is that there’s now a Pokestop in the local mall. Summer is starting up full force already — it’s going to be 90+ degrees today — and braving the heat at the local park is just too much (and dangerous).

While the park is much better due to having 2 gyms and several stops, having one stop in the air conditioned mall gives me a reason to walk the mall. Previously, the mall didn’t have a stop, much less many Pokemon to speak of (it was odd – lots of Pokemon in the parking lot, few inside the mall itself). I hope that’s changed!

Anyhow, that’s my ramble for today. I’m taking tomorrow off in celebration of my birthday, so I’m going to have a long weekend. Hopefully I can spend some time with Death Road to Canada and have something to write at you guys next week. 🙂

Posted in Blogging, IRL

The 4th Decade

Nintendo sure knows how to spruce up a birthday, doesn’t it? Growing up a Nintendo kid, I couldn’t resist using the above image as my PC wallpaper. They also sent along some cute little paper craft templates, stuff that reminds me passingly of the new Switch Labo stuff.

So, today is my 40th birthday. Time for a little rambling.

I’d like to think that to see me and talk to me, my age isn’t very apparent. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing to say about yourself.

vintage78Every time you hit a decade milestone, though, it makes you stop and reflect a bit. I remember being antsy about the idea of turning 30. I was told “30 is the new 20, don’t fret about it.”

And they were pretty much right. I did a lot in the past 10 years to set a foundation under me — pay off bills, start a real career, get a place of my own that I own, buy my first new car… all of those adulting things. I’ve managed to survive it all somehow.

This year, I’ll have both my home and car paid off by fall. I still have some student loan stuff I’m working on, but my finances are good.

I feel like I’m in a position to start saving and thinking about where to go next. There’s still lots to see, do and look forward to. I’ve chosen to do things solo so far, so I have a lot of freedom to come and go as I please. I have good friends and family, and I’m a bit of a hermit by nature, so I’m alright with it.

However, year after year I tell myself that I need to pay better attention to my diet and health. I’m still saying that this year, and I have a feeling I’m going to really need to start to act on that.

gogbirthday
Thanks Green Man Gaming… I think?

Anyhow, my sister got me a $35 Nintendo eShop card, and I picked up the new Death Road to Canada since it’s on sale for Switch right now. I haven’t put a ton of time into it, but I’ll be sure to post about it once I have!

I’m struggling to decide what to use the rest of my card on, though. So many games on my Switch wishlist – it’s a good problem to have. 🙂

Have a great day!