less fuss, The No Brainer Blog

no winning formula

Here is the first thing you should know:

There is no winning formula to blogging.  That is because there is no winning formula to having a relationship or being a person.  Blogging is almost like a transactional medium.  The blogger writes a post, the reader reads the post, and commenters provide feedback.  Blog writing is more a two way street than book writing, and unlike a book a blog has no determined end.  It is relational, give and take, push and pull.

And just like there are no two identical relationships–all blogs are different.

Sure, read blogs long enough and you’ll notice similar elements.  Maybe daily posts, maybe lots of links, maybe sidebar ads.  You might notice similar layouts.  One thing you won’t see though is bloggers who share a voice or a perspective.

For better or worse, there is no winning formula for blogging.  This series will not be an a+b=c  prescription for success.  Many women have blazed a trail of their own blogging.  Their purposes and voices are as varied as they are as women.  But, one thing is true–their voice is what makes their blog.

And also hear this.  Your voice is not just your words.  Your voice is also what you choose to bring attention to, the images you show, the topics you engage.  Your voice is your perspective, with your dialect, and your style.  Your voice is your online persona–you, only not.

So, in this series…I cannot tell you that if you do this or that then the crowds will come.  I cannot tell you if you have stellar headlines or know a certain social media trick then you’ll have commercial success.  But, I can tell you this: your voice is the thing to cultivate.  Your voice is what makes you stand out, and your voice is what will keep you going.

A few examples of bloggers with a distinctive voice: 

Tsh at Simple Mom: Tsh blogs with an air of authority and professionalism.  It is rumored that she has a .pdf prepared to answer any question.  :)

Elise Blaha: Elise is a creative powerhouse.  She tells the story of her life and work through well styled yet casual images, bold typography, and bright color.

Promise Tangeman: Promise is a creative communicator, crafting brands for other creatives and teaching on her blog a little bit along the way.  Her trendy personal style, the edgy look of her blog, and the “how to” type nature of a lot of her posts define her voice.

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  • Reply michelle @ this little light August 1, 2012 at 7:20 am

    “Your voice is the thing to cultivate…”. I love that. Whenever negativity starts to rear its ugly head I tell myself that only I can say the things I need to say, and it reminds me that I blog so THOSE words are spoken, whether or not the crowds appear. Love this post.

    • Reply Tiny Twig August 1, 2012 at 11:52 am

      And that negativity CAN come, huh?? I feel like walking my own path and being sure in my own voice and my own vision helps tremendously when it feels like I’m not being heard or I’m being left behind or whatever other silly thing I can convince myself of what I’m comparing.

  • Reply Amanda August 1, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I am really excited about this series! And I think your description of Elise’s blog is spot-on!

    • Reply Tiny Twig August 1, 2012 at 11:51 am

      She’s a total doll, isn’t she?

  • Reply Stacey August 1, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Oh my stars, I love this post. It is so true. There is no one way to have a winning blog. I just never really thought of it in those terms.

    Awesomeness. Thanks.

    • Reply Tiny Twig August 1, 2012 at 11:51 am

      Thanks, Stacey! I think you’ve carved out quite the niche for yourself as an encourager. I have seen SO many people refer to you as such and it has been my own experience, too. :) :)

  • Reply Beth @ dot in the city August 1, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Thank you! I whole-heartedly agree there is no formula but you have to cultivate your voice/space. It takes work and your blog should reflect you, not copy someone else.

    • Reply Tiny Twig August 1, 2012 at 11:50 am

      I think it takes work AND time. And a good dose of confidence and introspection thrown in for good measure. ;)

  • Reply Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life August 1, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Good stuff here. My voice is not just the way I write, but the things I choose to write about, celebrate, and so on. Yes, ma’am.

    • Reply Paige :: Approaching Joy August 1, 2012 at 11:06 am

      Great point Lori!! “Voice” is about content AND how it’s written.

    • Reply Tiny Twig August 1, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Yes! I think it takes some time to “find your voice”…and then I think it gets easier to blog. I think it’s easier because you have a clear road to travel, without getting lost in all the detours. :)

  • Reply Amber August 1, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Really enjoying reading this as well. I know I have a lot of readers, but really struggle with drawing people in and commenting. Probably has something to do with me writing about adoption/open adoption and the way it makes some people uncomfortable. Working on how to do this. Not that comments are the most important thing in the world. Trying to find a balance.

    • Reply Tiny Twig August 1, 2012 at 11:47 am

      I’ve found it is REALLY difficult to work steadily on content creation AND cultivate rich community and commenting at the same time. In most blogs I read, I find it leans heavily one way or the other. I wouldn’t stress too much, but I know what you are saying!

  • Reply Carrie @ 20-Something Homemaker August 1, 2012 at 11:23 am is another example of a blog I’ve recently found where her voice is established. She’s hilarious!

    I think this is one of the hardest things for me. Some posts I read, like my birth story, I can see a clear voice. But then I’m not sure I like the “tone,” if you will. Granted, I was in labor, and I was describing that (there’s bound to be a little more passion behind that). But still.

    I want to hone in on this more!

    • Reply Tiny Twig August 1, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Oh, birth stories! See, when I read the ones I wrote…I’m disappointed, I feel like I didn’t do the event justice. But, since it is outside the realm of what I normally write about, I think it didn’t come naturally to me. I think it’s a practice that takes time to refine. :)

  • Reply Janelle August 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    It’s so easy to look at successful bloggers (such as yourself!) and try to emulate what they’re doing. What I’ve realized is that those bloggers are successful because they remain true to who they are. No one else has their voice just as no one else has mine. Thanks for the push to celebrate my own voice and style – I needed it!

  • Reply Atta Girl Amy August 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    This is such an important reminder. In my former life as a journalist and newspaper columnist, I always thought I had a pretty good grasp of my voice. But on my blog, I’m not sure I’ve quite found it yet, if that makes any sense at all. And I think that has something to do with being on a journey of self discovery myself.

    In addition to sharing about projects about which I’m passionate, I want to write more openly about my experiences as a self-employed mom, balancing on that teeter-totter of full-time work and stay-at-home mom-ness.

    Sometimes I feel like it seems that I have it all together (IRL and online), but I wish I didn’t always have to appear so strong and together, because that’s not always how I’m feeling. And I think my experience is probably more universal than I know. Right now, I’m formulating a post (in my head only, at the moment) about how as our kids go through transitions like starting school, etc., we as their moms also go through similar transitions. I’m feeling like several relationships that were once very important to me are changing because we are moving in different directions. At the same time, I’m also connecting and bonding with new people.

    Boy, I didn’t mean to get all personal here in this comment. But your post touched something in me

  • Reply Dorien August 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    I’m really looking forward to these series, especially since I just started blogging. I won’t ever change myself or I won’t ever pretend, but some tips are always welcome, even if I decide to forget about them.

  • Reply ellie August 2, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Thank you for this series. I just launched a new more focused blog after years of blogging randomly. When I was a wedding photographer I did really well with a large blog following, when I moved from that phase, I think expected the same. Aren’t I funny? I completely agree that there is no winning formula, there isn’t a winning formula to life either, yet that doesn’t seem to stop people from trying to concoct one. There is freedom in knowing that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, the circumstances, are more muddled than can be explained most times, blogging is no exception. Thank you for honest conversation on this.

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