When it comes to crafting a new blog post - should I be writing for my audience or me?
Should I only be writing content I know my audience like, should I be writing what I know will be popular, should I be writing something contraversial to get the views in? Or should I be writing what I fancy writing, should I be writing what I'd want to read, should I be writing just for the heck of it?
This blog started primarily as a side line to my illustration website, a place to talk about creativity and keep my business relevant, but the more I wrote the more I enjoyed it and the more I enjoyed it the more I read other blogs. The more I read other blogs the more opinions I had, the more experience I had in reading blogs, the more I thought I could totally get into this myself.
Swing back to last April/May and my views were rocketing, my audience was getting wider and wider (and more loyal) and I was writing daily for months on end. Long gone were the crafty blog posts of the past about university and art and hello to blog posts about social media, life and bullet journals.
I've spoken at length about my blog schedule and the fact I don't have a solid one. I have millions of ideas, I chose 15 or so for the month and I slot them in somewhere between my regular series and blank spaces for when my imagination takes hold. If I don't write the post I planned on one day, no biggie, I move it to another day and write something off the cuff or something I know will take me 10 minutes to bash out (oo er).
And that is where I thought the extent of my blog 'thinking process' ended. Sure I create graphics and I promote and I am really making a conscious effort since my blog redesign to be slicker but in terms of thinking in depth about the content I was putting out there, I don't really ever consider it.
So I thought.
I don't remember when I had the idea for this blog post or what sparked it. It's been in my ideas bank for about a month and it obviously came to me after seeing a comment on Twitter or a phrase in someone else's blog post or something but it got me thinking about who I really for.
I pride myself on my lack of schedule, my lack of routine, my lack of niche. I feel like it means I can write whatever I want when I want, I'm not limited, people can expect a bit of everything from me and that's the type of blog I like to read myself. You only have to look at the few bloggers I followed when I really got into blogs (and it all kicked off with Hannah Gale) to see I'm into lifestyle blogs with a healthy mix of everything and a bit of realism and rambly life posts thrown on the top for good measure. And that's what I like to think (and what I have been told) I am. I'm relatable because I have an opinion on things most twenty something women have an opinion on. I'm relatable because I talk about my life, I show the real me on social media and I chat to people on Twitter. I'm relatable because I share the same first world problems as my readers and I blog about a bit of everything. I've always prided myself on that.
So it was a bit unnerving to think maybe actually I'm a little more cynical about my blog posts than I thought I was. I thought I was writing off the cuff with a very very loose schedule at every turn but when I really sat back and analysed why I write some of the blog posts I write I realised it might not all be that innocent.
Sure I write about topics I want to write about, I never write about a topic I hate or have no time or experience in. But do I come up with the ideas because they're what I want to read or because YOU do? My Google analytics only provide clarity on things I already know; that bullet journals are your main interest and anything social media related does well. I get good comments on anything to do with real life or being a millennial and you like a good old fashioned list post.
So subconsciously I started writing more of these. Sure I enjoy writing them myself but I definitely do more of them because I'm writing for you; my audience. Would I have written so many bullet journal blog posts if the first one hadn't blown up on Pinterest? Nah probably not, I'd maybe have shared one or two and then let it die a death like most 'bigger' bloggers I can remember got into the hype this time last year. I'd still use one, it'd still be as pretty as the one I have now but I wouldn't have a list of 36 bullet journal blog post ideas sat in the bank like I do now.
When I know something has been a hit on my blog I definitely try and tap into that success at some point in the future. My blog posts on the Instagram updates last year were met with a really good reception and I tried to emulate that with some similar content, knowing full well that you'd enjoy it. I wrote them because I was writing for my audience and because I knew they'd get the views up.
Does that tarnish it? Does that firmly knock the unreliable blogger crown off my head because sometimes I write a blog post because I know my audience will enjoy it and my stats would be good?
I think no.
Sure, I tapped into what was successful on my blog but my blog has changed a lot in the last year, it's not just a hobby and it does make me some money and popular content is all a part of that. But ultimately my blog posts are still content I like to write, it's content I would like to read if I was viewing a blog like mine and most of the time it is for me. If my blog wasn't read by a single person I'd have carried on. Imagine a life without tweet scheduling.
I write for my audience sure, but I also write for me - what's lucky is my audience are people like me who just so happen to enjoy what I create.