This blog post is not content

This blog post is not content

I’m curious as to whether you read my post title as content or content. What does your choice say about you?

Eh. I don’t actually care what it says about you. Do I look like some kind of psychiatrist or something? I’m not your therapist! Stop being so needy, you big baby!

Er, sorry; I got a bit carried away. I was talking about content as in “the stuff you write on your blog.” As someone whose greatest fantasy is to be a levitating super-villain with lighting shooting from his fingertips, blowing up traffic and malfunctioning ink-jet printers while he laughs maniacally, I am probably not your ideal guru if you are seeking contentment. However, I’m sure we can all relate to this content-based question:

What shall I write today?

I read and enjoy a lot of writing-themed blogs on WordPress. Consider me impressed by those of you who blog exclusively about writing and continually come up with worthwhile content post after post. I can’t do that. When I write about writing, I do it with passion, but many days I have nothing to say on the subject.

Chicks dig Mole Men

Chicks dig Mole Men

On the other hand, I love to talk TV shows, music, and other forms of popular entertainment as well as spread the good word about Mole People, and I even whip up silly poems once in a while (yeah, I know my poetry isn’t nearly as bad as I suggest… that’s just part of my shtick). I write those things for fun and because I try to produce content you find enjoyable and entertaining.

Sometimes, when I’m going “off topic,” I wonder if my readers are thinking, Dude, I followed this writing blog for the writing discussion, not to hear about some obscure Motown singer or to compare hockey player beards. Those posts are still about writing, in a sense, because I’m a writer with range and am demonstrating it. But I do fear turning people away.

That is, until I read this post by my friend Janna, currently rebranding her own blog, which up-to-now has focused almost exclusively on writing. It turns out at least some people think my anything-goes-as-long-as-it-entertains approach is good marketing. Son of a gun!

So what about you? Do you prefer to stay on topic with your blog (whatever that topic may be), or do you like to branch out? Either way, what inspires your content?

Look, I’m asking for real. Are you still upset because I called you a big baby up top? Sorry, but I have to toughen you up. One of these days a levitating super-villain might try to blow up your car with finger lightning and you have to be ready!


44 responses to “Content

  • M. R.

    I’m wondering if there might be some slight inference in this post to my having putcher in my blogroll – after having mentioned this blog in a post, that is. 🙂 Big horse certainly I enjoy your ‘approach’ – as does your friend Jenna. Does this mean that Eric John Baker is being blogged about all over the place? [grin]

    • ericjbaker

      I hope it means that WordPress has an awesome community of writers! In fact, I know it means that. I love strolling into a blog for the first time and seeing comments from people I read and who read me.

  • younggypsyspirit

    Most blogs I follow for the entertainment value, plus it helps if there is a little bit of a writing based theme. You’ll get far more of a response from me though if the post is entertaining. You could have a blog about widgets, and as long as I feel there is a passion in the composition, and it intrigues or entertains me, I’ll read it.

  • LindaGHill

    I wanted to make my blog theme specific at the beginning, but I couldn’t decide on a theme. Since then, I’ve found that some of my followers will read anything I write on any subject, but most of them will only show up for a particular topic. That’s where tags come in handy I think.

    So the question really, in light of this, is do you choose a subject and stick to it? Or do you run around WP finding people to fit each occasion? It’s working for me so far.

    • ericjbaker

      Typically my writing-themed posts will get more traffic than others (not always). If I only discussed writing, though, I’d probably post about once every three weeks.

      Thanks so much for the comment!

  • Dave

    At first, on my current blog, I thought I would stick to posts only about writing, with my personal stuff getting posted to a different blog for non-writing topics. I found, however, that even though I followed (mostly) writing blogs, I almost always enjoyed off topic posts. Why? I think it’s because more personality can shine through, and I think that makes a blog much more interesting to read than non-stop posts on writing. So these days, I much prefer blogs where the authors inject themselves into what they write about. Yours is one such blog, Eric. Your writing topics are great, but the variety of your posts and the wit you bring to each of them, just keeps me coming back. So, as far as I’m concerned, keep on doing what your doing! 🙂

  • skywalkerstoryteller

    I began blogging for people to listen to my stories – they didn’t. I did find people read my stories – more than my essays. And wonder of wonders – lots of people read my haikus (because they’re short) – and some are really good. So, I read blogs that are well written, on topics of interest, entertaining, and good poetry (rarer than one would expect). As for blogs on writing, yours is the only one I read that provides information and entertainment! A real plus.

    • ericjbaker

      Thank you. You’re one of my favorite poets, well-known or otherwise, and your stories are great too. You are quite versatile. You probably get even more traffic than you realize on the haiku, because it is not necessary to click on the post to read the poem.

  • Richard Leonard

    G’day Eric! I’m still here. Just been flat out with stuff. So not very content with the volume of my own content. 😉
    This reminds me of a book store in Melbourne I’d never heard of, received a voucher for about 4 years ago, promptly lost it, found it again last month, redeemed it last week. Why is this relevant? The bookshop was called “Hill of Content”. It has lots of content and after browsing for a few minutes found mnyself to be very content.

    As for my blog and the question you pose, I usually ramble on about anything and everything I fel like… which could explain my overall low reader count. But generally I might feel the urge to write about something wierd I’ve observed during the day or to whinge about Melbourne’s public transport or I might actually have something useful to say about writing. No walls really. whatever goes.

    • ericjbaker

      I’d say your blog seems to have a sub-theme about public policy, and humorously so. You have posted a”critique me” post in a while. Will we see a return to that someday?

      • Richard Leonard

        Hmm. I guess it does. Public policy issues tend to grate on me, especially when the reasons behind them beg for a “please explain”.
        Those critique posts from early last year tended to take up a lot of time so I stopped. And I think the instigator of that exercise stopped not long after! Not sure of a return. But never say never.

  • Jade Reyner

    This is a great post and for the record, I read it as content – as in blog content! I have been thinking the exact same thing with my blog. I started it to cover my self publishing journey but there are some days when it is hard to find the relevant ‘content’ to keep the interest. But… like you, I worry if I stray off topic. I am interested to hear that this has not affected your blog. Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

    • ericjbaker

      I believe my friend Janna I mentioned (have I seen your gravatar there before) is onto something when she talks about presenting yourself before your writing. I want people to feel like my blog is a fun place to “hang out” and hope they remember me when I self-pub something eventually.

  • nrhatch

    I am content with the content of your blog. :mrgreen:

  • shelleyhazen83

    I had a blog that was exclusively about writing and I just couldn’t come up with good topics that were interesting and that got me sufficiently excited to develop adequately. My new blog is just about stories and I don’t pigeon-hole myself more than that. So much is being written about writing – I just didn’t feel like I was adding anything to the mix before. And I wanted to branch out and write about more things. So far, I’m much happier with my new blog.

    • ericjbaker

      I sort of anticipated that going into this. I tried stick with the writing at first, but it’s my blog and, like you said, I’m happier if I mix it up. I’d bet your material is more enjoyable to read when you enjoyed writing it.

  • Megan Cashman

    Blogging isn’t easy, and it certainly wasn’t when I first started. I had no idea how to make my blog stand out among the thousands of other author blogs online. Eventually I decided it was best to write what I want, so I try to stick with not only what interests me, but how I want to present myself as an author. I keep spreadsheets on what to blog about according to my usual topics (writing, self-publishing, vampires, reading, and commenting on any articles written about them). It’s not easy and I’m concerned I may someday run out of ideas. But I keep brainstorming and keep trying to continue to make my blog interesting.

    BTW, I read “content” as CONtent. Maybe its my NYC accent or the fact that the word “con” is in “content” 🙂

    • ericjbaker

      See, I mentioned the Staten Island accent to a friend and he said there was no such thing. Oh yes there is!

      I think you’ve done a very good job of managing and controlling your author image without being at all repetitive. I’ve enjoyed reading it and think your topics are stimulating, so keep it up!

  • Jill Weatherholt

    Bring back the Mole People! Variety in our lives is always a good thing.

  • Jodi

    Lately it has all been content that I’m not content with. As long as your content is at least mildly amusing I’m willing to keep coming back.

    • ericjbaker

      You probably need a distraction about now anyway, no? No messy clean-up with blog reading. Another cookie idea: making a decorating cut-out cookies. Not sure if the littler ones can manage the decorating part, but at least the older one might stay busy for a while.

      • Jodi

        Distraction = good. Except when I need to get stuff done, then I just need to buckle down until the end of the ride. Sugar cookies are a great idea, I think I might be making some real soon.

  • Kevin Brennan

    Luckily there’s no Blogging Board out there that holds our feet to the fire. (Or is there?) That’s why I give myself enough leeway to post on anything that strikes me as interesting, though for the purposes of What The Hell I don’t want to dip into politics.

    Writers can offer interesting spins on stuff other than writing. So, music or Mole People — yeah. Lay it on us, man!

  • Janna G. Noelle

    I’ve come to agree that it’s best to diversify one’s blogging content (wow – how corporate did that sound?) to attract as wide and varied an audience as possible. If one only writes about writing, s/he will tend to attract an audience of mainly writers, but writers aren’t the only ones who will read your book (in many cases, writers won’t read your book at all, instead being more interested in trying to get you to read their books.

    Writing about multiple topics of interest also the effect of making a writer appear more well-rounded. I think it makes you more accessible to your audience, allowing them to get to know you and come to think of you as a friend in whose success they have a vested interest.

    Kristen Lamb discusses all of this in her book, which is a quick and easy read, and makes really good sense to me.

    P.S. I never really thought of what I’m doing chez moi as “rebranding”, but I suppose that’s what it is. Talk about corporate-sounding! 😉

    • ericjbaker

      I’m glad we’ve had a chance to interface on this topic, and I think I have architected a solution: I should buy that Kristen Lamb book! I’m in the Kristen with an “e” camp anyway.

      Dear Kristins: i was joking. The ‘i” is wonderful too.

      That’s probably the biggest drawback to using the blog as a primary marketing tool is the tendency to attract people who are, ultimately, your competitors. I just don’t have that gene, though. I want everyone’s book to be a best seller.

      • Janna G. Noelle

        I’m glad we had the chance to “interface” too (geez, that sounds like some sordid act performed by your laptop and smartphone after you’ve turned in the for the night.)

        FYI, you’re only ever competitors if you write in the same genre. 😉

  • 1WriteWay

    Variety is the spice of life.

  • livelytwist

    I read it as conTENT because you usually write about writing 🙂
    I write mainly about my experiences when I returned to my home country and other tidbits about life. This year, I’m writing more fiction- oh, the voice of the people!

    I enjoy reading & talking about the art of writing, but that’s not what the majority come to my blog to read. Good thing that I’m a story teller at heart, so now & again I write about writing & wrap it with “story-foil” so that a wider audience can enjoy it.

    I am inspired by good writing, where the author engages me by expressing himself concisely, creatively & with minimal grammatical errors. Whether I branch out or not, I work hard to ensure every post is well-written. So well-written that even if a post does not resonate with a reader, he can at least acknowledge that it was a piece of good writing! So in the end, I’m really writing about writing 🙂

  • Jase

    I read your stuff for amusing content and style, the images and also the writing advice. Keep it up, big boy!

  • Tuesday

    You know I only read your blog because I care about the plight of the mole people, right? Kidding (although I really do care about the mole people).

    I’ve spent way, WAY too much time thinking about what the focus of my blog should be. And apparently everyone one else who has a blog (read: the whole world) has been too. This is the third or fourth post I’ve read on the topic in the last couple days. I think it’s noble to want to have a niche and be known for a subject. But personally, I am giving up on trying to box myself into a topic. So on any given day (provided I actually wrote something…) I may post about fashion or writing or how I almost ran over two teenage boys in my neighborhood. That’s just the way it’s gonna be.

    Perhaps now, with that settled, I can get back to the actual task of writing.

  • Jodie

    Looks delish! I’m always looking for more brussels sprouts recipes around this time of year when my sprout intake increases exltnenoialpy (I’m obsessed, too). Plus, my vegan cousin is visiting for Thanksgiving this year and I’ve been scrambling for stuff that she could enjoy. I’ll DEFINITELY be making this. Thanks so much, Kerry!

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