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The Write Question is a weekly video podcast all about writing. Today’s question? How to narrow the focus for your blog? If you have a question you’d like me to answer you can email me, tweet me @pubcoach, or leave a message for me at the Skype account, The Write Question.
How can you narrow the focus for your blog? That’s the topic I’m addressing today in The Write Question. I’m Daphne Gray-Grant, the Publication Coach.
I have a question from Anne Thibault, a writer based in Namur, Belgium. Here’s what she’s asked by email…
“I’d like to start a blog but my subject area is relatively large and I’m not sure how to narrow it. As well, I often have too many ideas which makes it difficult for me to limit my subject and choose an appropriate angle. Do you have any advice?”
Thanks for the questions, Anne. It’s clear you’re approaching this issue as though it were a problem, but take a moment to look at the positive side of the equation.
You have too much. Isn’t that better than not having enough? Too much money, too much food, too many choices, too many ideas.
The benefit of having too much or too many is that you get to make choices. You’re not being forced to do something because it’s your only option. You can be selective.
The other great thing about your situation is that blogging is a highly forgiving medium. If you misjudge your focus or make a mistake, you can correct things easily and inexpensively. It’s not like publishing a book where you might have paid several thousand dollars to a printer. To fix a serious problem, the only solution is to pulp the books and print all over again.
As a blogger, however, you can just go into the back end of your blogging software and either take the post down, or correct any minor errors.
As for narrowing down your subject, the easiest way to do that is to focus on your readers. Who are they? What do they want to know? In my case, for example, my readers are a mixture of:
- business owners who want to write books or blogs
- corporate communicators or freelancers who need to write faster, and
- academics who want to finish their dissertations or produce a greater number of articles for peer-reviewed journals.
While my overall topic is writing, I really focus on the psychology of it. You can probably find a similar focus in your own subject area.
As far as individual posts are concerned, I think you should view 500 words as the minimum length and about 2,500 words as the max. But here’s some good news. Let’s imagine you have a topic that’s so big you need 4,000 words to address it. Well, you can break that piece into a three-part series of 1,300 words each. It’ll be easier to write that way and you’ll have three posts taken care of, lickety-split.
By the way, questions relating to blogging often boil down to simple mathematical issues. Don’t overthink them. Deal with the numbers as I did just now. The late American writer David Markson said that he saw the internet as a “first-draft world.” That’s a great way to view blogging.
Finally, let me wrap up with the words of entrepreneur and marketing expert Seth Godin: “My blogging life is basically goalless. I like the zen nature of that and paradoxically, it improves results.”
Anne, the more you blog, the easier it will become to narrow the focus for your blog. Keep reminding yourself that you’re not aiming for perfection. You’re just planning to get your words out into the world regularly.
If you’d like to learn more about how to make writing a happier and more rewarding process, check out my latest book Your Happy First Draft. I don’t sell it in bookstores or via Amazon. The only place to buy it is on my website, link on the screen below and in the show notes.