The 5Ws of Blogging: Who?

The first question I chose to tackle in my 5 Ws of blogging series is who. It’s a weird question to apply to blogging. Who is obviously: you. Alrighty then. Post accomplished! Good job everyone, let’s go celebrate.

anime-natsume-celebrate-gif-1

meet you there!

Fine let’s try to make an actual post out of it. The way I chose to approach this question is “who do you blog for?”. It’s a pretty good question and the answer is bound to impact your content. In fact, I think understanding the answer may help you build a *better* blog. Better being subjective here.

This is also a layered question, with each answer guiding you to greater precision. On the most superficial level, there are basically two answers. You either blog for your readers or for yourself. No matter what you are trying to gain or accomplish through your blog, you will approach posts with a specific mindset. Either to write about something *you* want to write about, or something your *readers* want to read about.

It’s possible, and in fact likely, that this will change from post to post but most of us have a preferred approach. Bloggers who lean towards personal posts and relay life experiences for instance or poets, I would say often write for themselves. It’s self expression and views are secondary. That one was pretty obvious.

anime wtf

this image has nothing to do with the post. I just came across it and couldn’t let it go…

But I think you can add to that category niche reviewers and specialty blogs. Anyone who has a very definite passion and sticks to it because that’s what interests them. I would say these are the type of bloggers that are more likely to move on from their blogs. If they outgrow their specific area of interest, they will no longer need the blog as an outlet. Same thing if they find an alternative venue of expression and interaction. This said, they’re also passionate and driven so they tend to put a lot into their blogs.

The catch 22 is that hey may start out as writing for themselves and their particular passion, but they feel obliged to stick to their lane because they believe readers come to them for that very specific content and therefore start writing for others. That shift can be rough. Just as the opposite shift, writing for views and likes, and switching to posts with a less broad appeal that might not get as much recognition but are personally important, can be rough.

The second type are bloggers who post for their readers. This could be expanded to those that post to expand their readership (i.e. grow their blogs). Writers who try to figure out what their audience would enjoy or even what they would find interesting.

anime stalker

all with the best intentions of course

The posts may occasionally seem a bit more neutral in tone or plainly informative but that doesn’t mean that the joy of writing isn’t there. It’s just brought about in a different way.

The approach taken by the writer may not be that obvious to the reader but I think most bloggers can tell when they’re writing a post for themselves and when it’s one for the people on the other side of the screen. And does it matter? Well, the way I’ve seen it, writing for yourself can take it out of you. Moreover you tend to take performance and comments more personally. It’s important to keep your perspective with that approach and pace yourself. On the other hand, writing for your audience requires a bit more prep. You have to commit, which means actually finding out what your readers are interested in. Listening to them, if possible reading their posts so you can tailor your articles appropriately. And when the numbers don’t follow it can be very demoralizing.

What’s more, both whos have subwhos. I’m making up words again….at this point, I’m essentially inventing my own classification system. It’s purely anecdotal at that. Whether the answer of who do you blog for is “you” or “them”, there are a lot of ways to define it further.

anime nerd boy

subsubwhos… (couldn’t find the artist 🙁 )

For instance, there are several types of readers. There are those who already follow your blog and we assume like your stuff, and there are potential new readers who haven’t found out how awesome you are yet. Do you concentrate on subjects your current audience seems to care about or branch out into issues that  are of interest to the whole community to see if you can get some new readers? Your readers are probably not a homogeneous mass either. They have their own tastes and values. Do you cater to those that mostly resemble you or switch it around so there’s something for everyone?

Basically the core question is, are you trying to get a wider audience or solidify a loyal one? To put it another way, do you want to try to please as many people as possible or really concentrate on a few.

It’s actually fairly similar if the first answer was that you are blogging for yourself. What internal goal are you striving for? It’s not just self expression since you wouldn’t need to publish it if that was the case. There must be an added aspect of either validation or connection. If you’re trying to prove your skills to yourself for instance. In that case very unusual and unique posts may be a good way to go. People won’t have any premade associations to your subject matter and you are more likely to be seen for the work itself. and changing things up frequently will get you a wider range of readers.

katanagatari

range is good

However, if you’re trying to improve and want lots of feedback then you may want to go the opposite way. Accessible topics or very popular shows are the best way to ensure that the largest portion of your readership will have something to say on your post. (Of course you have to tailor it to their interests).

Finally, if you’re striving for that ever elusive community then you should once again strive for posts on subjects that are currently be actively preoccupying your readers. It’s the same communication and research approach but instead of aiming for blog growth, you’re aiming for conversation. Like you would approach a friend in real life. After all, you can’t just talk about yourself all the time….Or do they constantly tell me!!!

I’m sure there are plenty of ways to define this down even further but this is a decent start.

Basically what I’m saying is that figuring out exactly who you’re writing for can come in handy when you’re out of inspiration for your next posts. It’s also just one more tool to get what you want out of your blog. Besides, it’s a good exercise to gain a bit of perspective. There’s no right answer. In fact mine changes all the time, but I still try to figure it out whenever I write.

So your turn. Who do you write for????

old school anime

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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24 Responses

  1. crazyidiot78 says:

    You know I never really considered this question to be honest. I guess I’m a mix of both in that I write for others, but at the end of the day I’m picking topics that I find interesting and that I think I can pull off. Really I just want to add to the discussion and add some thoughtful educational yet fun content to the anime discorse. Maybe that is why I am struggling to find an audience which makes it harder to write for others, because I don’t know what it is that they want. Animescience101.

  2. I always start with the intention to blog for myself and what catches my fancy at the time, but as the community around the blog gets bigger, the accountability from others means there comes a time where you have to blog for others as well.

  3. Spectrumbot says:

    I like this post. Thanks to it, I now understand why keeping stuff simple is very important when it comes to blogging. I’ll start doing this myself.

  4. David Boone (moonhawk81) says:

    My god! You come behind your big Loli post with THAT “Range is good” pic? Irina, Irina, Irina. . .

  5. BiblioNyan says:

    I think I try to focus on a balance of both, at least how I write/blog currently. When I first began writing/blogging, I focused so much on what other people wanted to read or engage with that I never properly found my own voice. But then I stepped into BookTubing for a bit and made an effort to discover myself as a content creator. It was challenging and my insecurities/anxieties would get in the way, but it helped me immensely when I returned to blogging. I prioritise my own voice while still trying to be considerate of what people may want to read or avoid. When I first began (post-BookTube initiation), I only reviewed and chatted about books. I wanted to make the plunge into anime stuff, but wasn’t sure how it would be received. My mate told me that since blogging is my personal space for coping with my depression and other mental health things, that I should do what would benefit that the most; personal space means I should feel comfortable to talk about whatever, and people will either relate and join the party or find somewhere else to go, which isn’t a bad thing. I went ahead and slowly implemented the otaku stuff and last year I began doing Asian cinema. My blog has definitely gone through an evolution, but so has my audience type and my personality even. It’s a learning and growing game, and I believe that figuring out whom you want to centre with it (you or your followers/audience) kind of sets up the foundation for how you shall evolve moving forward.

    Sorry… I hella digressed. *hides*

  6. Alyce says:

    Nice post!

  7. Scott says:

    Thinking about it, I go for both but me first and others later. I like getting my mind empty of thoughts first and then talking with other people about my thoughts second.

    • Irina says:

      That’s a really good approach actually. I’m similar but I get scattered sometimes when my enthusiasm gets the best of me

  8. Lynn says:

    Well, that’s given me too much to think about… although, I like to think I’m taking the one for them, one for me type of approach. I’m covering several of the big seasonal shows on a weekly basis, aware that those will be popular search terms at the moment which I see as the one for them. Of course, I’m enjoying it too so win,win.

    Then I have a project I’m going to do through May which is something I want to do because I enjoy it. Do I hope that it’ll attract more readers? Absolutely, but if it doesn’t I don’t think it’ll stop me doing another one later.

  9. Mallow says:

    Good post and it does deal with topic most new bloggers don’t really know or know how to answer.
    I think for new bloggers, they should focus on themselves at first. This works two ways 1. It gets them to keep writing and blogging. 2. Eventually someone WILL find their blogs, where they can build a small community around them.

    As for me personally. Old blog – for the masses. Didn’t quite go the way I hoped it would. New blog – for me really, hence the breezy postings.

  10. Great post! I started writing for me and I’d definitley like to improve my writing. Any feedback is a bonus 🙂 I didn’t want to write about a set topic so I decided I would just write daily and see what developed. I made my blog a challenge for myself, to write everyday ​for a year. I really hope that I will improve over the course of the year as a side effect 😉

    • Irina says:

      I’m certain you will and I know first hand just how challenging daily writing can be! I’m impressed

  11. LitaKino says:

    Fantastic coverage on the split between who you write for yourself, your readers or both. For me it’s both I’ve gotten to know my audience and what they like about my content and mainly my blogging style that I like to be fun and humorous. I’m proud of where my blog has come too and you can only continue to just keep going and build on what you already have.

    • Irina says:

      It shows. Somehow when a blogger has found their identity, you can tell. It’s a confidence that come through and it’s nice

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