This is the my thrid article on blogging this month. The previous one are:
Whether to Focus on a Subject
Regarding blogging, it is widely recongnized “focus” is the key to any success. So here is the question for every blogger: “Whether my blog should focus on a specific topic or not?” I was seeking for an anwser and here is what I got so far.
Hey, Focus! Focus! Focus!
In April 2004, I asked for advice from a very kind guy in advertisement industry in Amsterdam.
BTW, as you are in the advertisement industry, would you give me any suggestions on my site? I am thinking about moving wangjianshuo.com to the next level, but don’t have any idea. Do you have any suggestions?
Here is his advice:
Keep the promise you make: Events (in Shanghai) that affect my life (and others’)
I miss the focus on this proposition (you offer so many other categories)! Try to make (especially ‘the others’ part) as distinctive and appealing as possible! (i.e. special guided tours or hidden places in Shanghai things only you can offer!!) Try to become an outstanding point of information! Try to be as intrinsically appealing as possible. If you are.. the press will pick you up! And if the press (online/offline) picks you up, your site will spread like wildfire and advertisers will call you!
If you do not feel comfortable with your promise, try to find another close to you and your target group.
Greetings from Amsterdam, all the best
Marked implied I have too many categories and should keep only one Shanghai category and focus on it. I got many suggestions like this to keep a focus. This is also what I learnt from text book on marketing, on anything….
However, I felt a little bit boring when I keep focus. I post articles like bus information and Shanghai hotel review, but occassionally, I feel so excited about something that is out of the focus (Shanghai topic) and I’d like to share. That maybe on computer, on my personal life, on blog or on breaking news. I just cannot resist the tempation to share them. This is exactly the problem Fons described.
Like most other bloggers in China, I’m lacking that focus. Sometimes I think I should focus on economic developments, then I get taken away by a subject like this and write about the internet media. Wangjianshuo had his own development, first by dumping his potentially very interesting writing about his employer Microsoft as a possible subject, then trying to focus on services for visitors of Shanghai. Like most of us, he is still searching. (src)
Meanwhile, many readers are directing me to the opposite way.
Carroll is a kind reader who is always the first to jump up and post comment on the smallest things in my life – the wedding, the car. This is what she told me:
I would have to count myself among the readers here who found you first when searching for information about Shanghai, but I have stayed because of the occasional personal glimpses you have allowed us into your own life, and because I enjoy learning more about other parts of the world through the eyes of people who live there. In the process, I have also learned a couple of interesting new things about computers (among all the things I didn’t even come *close* to understanding when you write about the technical stuff ;-) so that’s an extra benefit for this techno-dinosaur. Your site, and the way you present things, appeals to a wide variety of people and helps many of us broaden both our interests and our knowledge of the world. Thank you for sharing so much with so many!(src)
Well, it’s worth noting, Jian Shuo, that if you hadn’t made the decision to add a few of your personal insights, both about your surroundings, which of course was the original point of the Shanghai part of your blog, and about your personal experiences, I would have had neither the reason, nor the courage to comment at all. I think this is ample proof that the more people open themselves honestly to each other, the better the world will be. (src)
In the recent post, Carroll explained it in a more details.
You would not have kept my attention just by posting news links to other people’s stories, and I’m sure I would never even have been interested in, for example, Shanghai transportation issues, if it had not been for how you approached telling us about them from a personal standpoint.
A personal view of things is so much more entertaining and genuine than
either newpapers or guide books that always have their own and impersonal agenda.
This gave me great encourage to keep the site unchanged and keep its original pace and style.
Be Personal is More Important than Focus
In conclusion, I found be personal is more important that focus in blogsphere. I totally agree focus is important for a website – like any traditional websites. Blog can also be successful if it has a clear focus, like Google Weblog, but if you treat it as a personal stuff, instead of a serious business, to be personal is more meaningful for both readers and the writer. (I mean if you want the readers to be your friends or family).
Well. Enough about the theory. I like to insist on personal instead of focus on a topic. Back to Wendy’s question “Don’t know what to write… Should I write it as diary or around a fixed topic? Am I writing to myself or to others?” (which started this entry), I would suggest to keep a focus with strong personal presence. :-D