Friday, May 28, 2010

Building Blog Content or What Should I Write About?

Today's topic for Armchair BEA is to discuss something related to the Book Bloggers Convention. This year, in conjunction with BEA, the book bloggers are also getting together for their very own convention. How fun does that sound? I'm so sad to be missing it! But today, I have my own partying going on. This morning my son is participating in a Battle of the Bands at his friends school as part of their last day of school festivities. Then this afternoon, my daughter (and second kid) will be graduating from high school. Exciting and sad. And all part of life!

But to help us who had to stay home this week feel part of the first ever BBC, the organizers of Armchair BEA came up with some ideas for us to discuss bloggish sort of things here on our blogs. I've chosen to highlight some ideas on building content. This is where we all can crack up laughing, because I seriously have no idea what I am doing as far as this goes! I only know that participating in the Blog Improvement Project has given me some very fun ideas on what to do when you feel.... out of blogging ideas!

First of all, most of us book bloggers spend a lot of our writing time and effort on writing reviews. Back in January as part of Bloggiesta, I surveyed my readers on what they liked in a review. Let me just quickly remind you of what I learned as a result. Here's what we liked:

  • Short summary 
  • Picture of the book cover 
  • Reason for reading 
  • Simple reader reaction 
  • Detailed reader reaction 
Other important parts of a review post appear to be a reader rating, genre, and links to other reviews. Things that don't seem to be important are: long summary, author information, publisher information, book trailers, publishing date, movie tie-ins or the first line.

However, I feel like reviews should only be part of the fun of a book blog. In fact, I would be bored with a blog that does only reviews. What do you think? Do you want to see more than reviews too? So what are some other bookish sorts of things do we blog about?

As most of you will remember in April I participated in the BIP Bingo Challenge which encourages us to post 14 different kinds of posts during the month. This challenge gives us some wonderful ideas on different things to post about. Let me highlight some of my favorites from this list:

Opinion/Question/Discussion Post: This one is my favorite kind, and whenever I do it, it seems to bring the most comments. This post is one where you bring up a question you've been pondering and let everyone weigh in... or you bring up the question, give your opinion, but still let everyone weigh in with theirs also. Or just ponder some sort of bookish thing you've been thinking about and see what everyone else thinks. I love it.

List Post: I have a blast with lists, thus the two list features I came up with for my blog (Suey's Top Tens and Author's Pick Five.) And recently, Julie from A Small Accomplishment has created a very fun list feature (Listful Mondays) where she comes up with a list theme, and then you come up with your list to fit that theme. I'm loving it.

Poll Post: Another thing  I totally enjoy, especially now that I've sort of figured out Google Docs, is to survey my readers. It's very fun, and easy, to think up questions, create the form, and throw it out there for people to answer. You could think of all kinds of bookish themes to question people about too.

Personal Post: I know many bloggers shy away from the personal things, and I did too for a long time. I'm still careful about what personal things I blog about, but I feel it's very important to get a personality out there so other bloggers can get a good feel for you, what you like, what you get excited about, what you might be doing "when you're not reading." (A new feature Maw Books has been doing lately!) My guess is most of my readers will know who my favorite singer is, my favorite TV show, what bookish theme I'm currently enthralled with at the moment, etc. And I think it's fun that way, don't you?

Bottom line: I think that the best content for a blog is to cover all sorts of things. Memes are even okay if they aren't the sole content. On the other hand reviews are also great, if THEY aren't the sole content. And that pretty much goes for everything!

What do you think? Do you have suggestions for how to keep the creative ball rolling when it comes to blog content?


  1. Great post - I love all the suggestions for different formats, and the reminder that it is ok to get a little personal on a "book" blog.

  2. I love variety even on a book blog too. It doesn't have to be all books all the time.

  3. It's interesting to learn that readers don't want only reviews. I shy away from memes because as a reader I don't feel like I get alot out of them and frequently skip over them. I've been looking for ways to put more variety in my posts. Thanks for the suggestions.

  4. I love your post ideas. I participated in 31 Days to a Better Blog. That really helped to get the creative juices flowing for me.

  5. Sometime I'll be more bold with some personal posts. Mostly I think they are not terribly interesting. However, I do need to write more opinion/question posts.

  6. I never even thought of a poll. What a great idea.

  7. Great ideas. I participated in the BIP Bingo too but had trouble doing more than four types of posts. I have the hardest time with opinion posts because I'm always so worried I'll make someone mad or have people yelling at me or even that no one will answer. I feel like I need to have a more popular blog first.

  8. I don't like a blog to be all reviews either. It really bugs me! I second your thoughts, pretty much what I suggested in my blog post today. Great minds think alike! :)

  9. This was a very helpful post, great job! I will have to incorporate a few of these ideas on my blog.

  10. Love this post. Now that I am on summer vacation, I am definitely going to be trying to post more than just the memes that I normally do. This has given me some ideas on how to start. Thanks.

  11. Books that blend a lot of features are definitely my favs. Too many book reviews make me feel guilty, for one thing, that I'm not reading as fast!



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