This post serves as my December entry for Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group and today I’m going to discuss a different type of insecurity…blogging insecurity.
I still remember what if was like when I first started blogging and the only people who read my posts was…me. I was clueless how blogging really worked, how this particular blogosphere operated and what the “rules” were. Once I started attracting a few followers, a new panic arrived with them. I was terrified to open my mouth for fear that what few followers I had would simply yawn and walk away…unimpressed. It wasn’t until I decided to treat my blog as just another test…a test to decide whether or not I deserved to be published…that my blogging voice started to blossom. If I couldn’t attract a respectable number of followers, hold their interest, spark some discussions via the comment section, and make my blog as interactive as possible, then I didn’t deserve to be published. That’s all I’ve ever tried to do, and the jury’s still out.
In that vein, you learn early on that blogging is not a “if you build it, they will come” endeavor. You have to participate…early and often…if you expect readers to take an interest. To assist with this, bloggers have created events such as Blog Hops, Blog Rolls, and Blogfests to help cross-pollinate the expansive blogosphere. All of these are designed to do expose bloggers to others they may never otherwise come in contact with. I want to talk more about Blogfests because I actually have one scheduled to begin in just over a week.
How do blogfests work? The host (of which there can be several) announces the topic, the posting date (usually several weeks in the future), any guidelines, and provides a web-tool that creates a list of every blog signed up to participate. Why would you need more than one host, to broaden the exposure base and make sure as many bloggers as possible find out about it and sign-up. To sign-up, the blogger simply inputs their blog name and paste a link to their blog in the web tool. How do you obtain a link to your blog? You see that address bar at the very top of the screen? With your own blog on the screen (the home page, not a specific post) click anywhere in that box and the entire address will be highlighted. Next, position your mouse over the highlighted address, right-click, then select copy. Return to the web-tool and paste the copied link into the appropriate box, and wah-la! Now all you have to do is make a note on your calendar (you’d be surprised how many bloggers sign up then forget) and post your contribution on the day scheduled.
The blogfest I’m hosting, with three of my blogging buddies, is called the Déjà vu Blogfest. On December 16th everyone who’s taking part will be re-posting their favorite blog post, or one that never received the exposure it should have. Then as the day unfolds and everyone jumps from one blog to another (using the list on any of the four hosts blogs), what they will be reading constitutes the best of the best. It’s perfect for newby bloggers and veterans alike. What a perfect way to showcase your finest, to introduce yourself to hundreds of new followers, and discover new blogs to add to your Google reader. The best part…no additional writing necessary!
I have a feeling this blogfest is going to be EPIC! There’s going to be “a great disturbance in the Force” as the cream rises to the top. A ripple will be sent through the blogosphere that will be remembered long after the next round of posts are updated. At last check we had 124 bloggers registered, but that only scratches the surface of what's possible. Some might be deterred from participating because 100+ blogs is a lot to read, but there's no need to do it all at once. After everybody post on Dec. 16th I will edit Mr. Linky so that all of the names point directly to those re-post, so even if you can't get to all those blogs that weekend you'll be ever to find them anytime you wish.
I didn’t start with such lofty goals. When I pitched this idea to my three cohorts, Katie Mills (Creepy Query Girl), Lydia Kang, and Nicole Ducleroir, I hadn’t taken the time to really think about the impact a successful blogfest of this type could have. There isn’t a blogger out there that doesn’t have a couple favorite posts, or a few that really struck a chord with their readers. Should you pick a post that generated the most comments for you, or the most site-hits, or one that tugs at your heart? But I suggest you don’t wait until the last minute to decide which to re-post. I’ve known about this for a long time and I’ve changed my mind more times then I can count.
So, if you’re a little bit insecure about your blog, now’s the time to start putting it to the test. Click on the badge above and sign up now, then tell everyone you know about it. Still hesitant? Leave me a comment and I’ll hold your hand through the entire process. :)
PS. Don’t forget to cast your vote for Round 5 of WRiTE CLUB!