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Random Thoughts: Filling the Void

One of the more difficult decisions to make as a blogger is how often to post. As a new blogger you might never imagine just how time consuming it can be to create daily posts to fill your blog. But soon after you start, reality sets in and what might once have sounded simple is now something that requires a lot of time and effort. Blogging is hard work. Coming up with things to post seven days a week isn’t always easy.

So, before making that commitment to being a daily blogger it might pay to think ahead to figure out just what you want to post each day of the week. Because without a solid game plan you might find yourself facing a void that you just don’t know how to fill. And it’s better to have realistic expectations at the outset than to find out that blogging has made you so stressed that you burn out quickly.

Reviews

The most obvious post for a book blogger would be one for reviews of the books you read. But how many reviews you post each week depends on just how many books you can read and review in that time.

Even if you’re a fast reader or someone who has the time to devour two or three books in a week, you may not have the time to write the corresponding reviews for those books. So, automatically allotting two or three days a week for review posts may be an unrealistic expectation and one that can leave you staring at that void if you haven’t planned on some other type of post to fill the gap.

Estimate conservatively and always have a backup plan.

Memes

Many bloggers participate in memes. These posts not only help you to meet new bloggers or allow bloggers to find your blog, they can be great posts to help fill the void.

There are all sorts of different memes out there to choose from, some that require a lot of thought and preparation, others that require just a bit less. Finding one or more memes that you enjoy participating in each week will definitely help to fill the void. And since many meme posts can be created well in advance, writing and scheduling them when you have more free time is a great way to avoid the void.

While there may be five or six memes that you do love and want to participate in, just be aware that having the majority of your posts as meme posts may be a turnoff for some potential readers. Think about what kind of audience you want to have visit your blog and choose your memes accordingly.

Find the memes you love, prep them ahead of time when you can, be aware of your audience.

Interviews and Guest Posts

Inviting authors, characters and bloggers to the blog for an interview or a guest post can also help to fill the void. These special posts can offer readers something a little bit different, especially if the questions or the topics of the guest posts are unique.

If you want your interviews or guest posts to be less text heavy and more visually appealing, ask for photos or find some that you’d like to include – though you may want to get any images approved by the author, blogger or character before including them with those posts. Incorporate embedded video, cover art or other items of visual interest if you wish to offer just a little bit more with each post.

Consider the frequency for these types of posts – too many and you may be seen as an interview blog. If you decide you want them to be a weekly feature make sure you’ll be able to get those authors, characters or bloggers to agree to those posts and keep to your deadlines.

Mix it up, keep things interesting and choose your frequency.

Features

One of the best ways to help fill the void is to come up with one or more features that are unique to your blog. While they may not be wholly original, you can make them that way by coming up with a title, a graphic and adding your own thoughts and “spin” to them.

Whether they’re posts talking about covers you love, spotlighting a particular book, an editorial discussing about a topic of interest, or one just chatting about those characters you adore, feature posts will not only fill the gap between those reviews, but they can help your blog stand out.

Before creating a feature that you believe to be your very own, check around. Make sure the name and exact idea isn’t taken by someone else already. There’s nothing quite worse than announcing a brand new unique feature and having someone leave a comment pointing out to you that it’s not.

Make them unique and post them consistently.

Giveaways

Hosting a giveaway can be a quick, fun and easy void filler. Whether it’s for a new book, an ARC or a second-hand book, chances are there will be someone more than happy to take that book off your hands. If you enjoy having giveaways each week, consider turning them into a weekly feature.

While you may have the occasional giveaway for books donated by authors or publishers, chances are most giveaways will be for books you own or plan to purchase. So it’s important to be aware of any costs involved. Mailing books can add up. So don’t offer a book for giveaway if you can’t afford to send it out when the giveaway has closed.

Be aware that while you may love hosting giveaways, having too many giveaways on your blog may label you a giveaway blog. And if you choose to include requirements – such as following, liking, tweeting or posting – in your giveaways you may discourage some people from entering.

Be aware of the costs and give away only what you can afford to.

Hodgepodge

There are plenty of other types of posts you can create on your blog to help keep that void filled. Whether it’s the occasional cover reveal, trailer reveal or industry news alert, or whether it’s sharing your experience at a bookish event or talking about the latest book being made into a movie, there’s always something to chatter about.

It just comes down to finding it, writing it and posting it. All of which sound fairly simple unless it’s late, you’ve run out of time, you don’t feel like coming up with a new idea, you’d rather be reading, watching television or sleeping or you just don’t feel like blogging. Period.

Write down those great one-off ideas and keep one or two at the ready in the event of a looming void.

Parting thoughts

Finding things to fill that void is a must if you’re a daily blogger. While having a day or two here or there without content is fine, you aren’t a daily blogger if you miss two or more days each week, every week. If you opt to make that commitment and choose to label yourself as such, then be prepared to have seven posts on your blog each week.

Just know that whatever mix of post types you choose to have on your blog will be a huge factor in determining your audience. So while it may take time for you to find the balance you’re comfortable with, putting some thought into it beforehand will avoid a label you don’t want to have.

Your blog is also a reflection of you. So, if you decide that you can’t come up with seven posts per week that share who you are with your audience in the form of reviews, features, memes or other posts, then consider not taking on that label. It is far better to have fewer posts that you are happy to call yours than a multitude of posts that you aren’t.

Don’t be disheartened. Not being able to blog every day is not a sign of failure. There is actually a pretty big upside to not blogging each day – you won’t face that void nearly as often.

***

I’ve stared long and hard at that void. It is not my friend. I’ve lost sleep wondering just what I could possibly post before the day ended. And while I have several feature posts that I’ve come up with to fill that void, I don’t always have the time, energy, creativity or ideas to write those posts.

Which is why I’ve never officially committed to a set date each week when they’d post. While I try to be fairly consistent, I like the flexibility of being able to shuffle things around when I want to. I’m just as much a mood writer as I am a mood reader.

And I like having my other blogs that aren’t quite as rigidly structured, with features that take less time to create and with no fear of facing a void since I haven’t committed myself to daily posts. But I could never just have those “carefree” blogs. Without that dedicated daily commitment I have here, everything would collapse.

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