As we wrap up Blogging 101, set yourself up for good blogging habits and engaged readers with a regular feature.
Remember, comments are closed on Blogging U. assignments. If you have a question, or want to share or chat, head to The Commons.
One of the best ways to inspire loyalty is to publish regularly. And the best ways to make sure you publish regularly is with a recurring feature — it’s like making a pact with yourself and your audience.
Today’s assignment: develop a regular feature for your blog.
Why do this?
- Creating a regular feature means your readers have something specific to wait for at regular intervals — it gives your blog a hook.
- It’s always a good idea to work on healthy blogging habits, and regular features help you stay on track.
We’re all creatures of habit, bloggers and readers. Adding a recurring feature — or simply planning posts at regular intervals — helps your writing stay sustainable. Even a purely personal blog of random musings benefits from a hint of structure. When you go serial, you ensure a steady stream of content.
Not sure what kind of feature will work for you? Look at previous posts to see what resonates with readers. Dip your toes into your stats page — some posts are like-magnets, others generate lively discussion, others get shared on Facebook, and some are unicorns that get all three. Choose one you find meaningful, and spin that into a feature.
Some of you are already toying with the idea of publishing a regular post rounding up your favorite reads of the week. That’s fantastic — and a smart, time-efficient feature idea to boot. What other options do you have? We’re glad you asked.
- A weekly photo post (or even better: a weekly photo gallery post).
- A monthly Q & A with one of your blogging buddies.
- A Music Monday, featuring the song that rocked your weekend.
- A Flavor Friday dedicated to the recipe you experimented with over the previous week.
Your features don’t have to alliterate: a Tuesday Rant is just as good as Snarky Sunday. If a weekly commitment is too much, that’s fine: a monthly book review or current events-inspired reflection works just fine. Or devote a day — weekly, bi-weekly, monthly — to unleash the latest installment in your long-term fiction project (or senior thesis, or memoir). Remember, you’re going for consistency, not frequency.
Unless you want to, in which case: shoehorn away!
Whatever feature you decide on, it should fit into your blog. We’re not asking you to shoehorn a weekly photo into your poetry blog, or a post about food into your book review site. The topic and type of feature should be something that makes sense giving your blog’s focus and your blogging goals.
Once you decide on a feature, publish (or schedule) the first installment. If you’re not ready, publish a post announcing the feature to let your readers know what to expect, when. Once you’ve got a few installments in the bag, add a menu item or widget to highlight your feature.
Not sure about your feature idea? Head to The Commons to chat.
Hey, everyone — Blogging 101 is almost done! We’ll have another weekend post tomorrow for folks who want to do more, and one final task on Monday.
After the final task, The Commons will remain open for one week, until Monday, October 13. At that point, we’ll turn off the ability to post or comment, but the site will remain up as a continual reference for you.