The Art of Developing a Blogging Catalog
We’ve discussed music before on this blog.
Country Music Life is a personal blog I maintain as a way to stay involved in country music. The site also serves as an inspiration for a lot of posts including this post.
Today I was thinking about singers and how their careers are shaped by their hit songs. It’s true that hits aren’t always required for all singers to have a big following of fans, but for this post we’re going to assume that hits are needed for a sustained career.
Think about your favorite artist, in any genre, that has been around for ten years or more. It’s likely they have hits throughout that entire period. And it’s likely that not one single song defines their entire niche in the industry. It’s usually the entire collection of songs that gives listeners an idea of who the singer is and the lifestyle they live.
Blogging works much the same way. Instead of thinking about each post as its own piece of work. Think about telling an ongoing story with each post. Think about how your collection of blog posts will be read after five years. Just as people discover artists that have been around for a while and go back and rediscover the old songs, your future readers will do the same with your archive of blog posts.
Your blogging catalog is more important than any individual post.
Developing a Blogging Catalog
Something I find myself doing is putting great thought into each post. I think that’s important, but it’s also important to focus on the big picture. Each post needs attention. However, you also need to have an understanding of how each post will represent your entire collection of posts.
Generally, your blog posts need to have some cohesion. People look for consistency in life. We look to find ways to make things routine and habit. When things change we get jumpy and irritated.
People feel the same way about reading your blog. As they discover your archive of posts they want to follow a single narrative that follows a basic theme. This allows the reader to understand the big picture message you are trying to communicate.
Let’s get back to the comparison of country singers and blogging.
One of my favorite artists is Jason Aldean. It was about seven years ago when Jason Aldean caught his break. He’d been in Nashville for a decade or more trying to get a record deal. He was at that point in his life where he was considering giving up on his dream and moving on to a life of real work and family. But he caught his break and the hits started coming. Today, Jason is possibly in the top five biggest country artists. His last album has been one of the biggest sellers for the past two years. The man is on fire with his career.
Jason’s first single was a top ten hit. The song, Hicktown, pretty much set out to establish that Jason was a guy that enjoyed the rural life. He was ready to have a good time in a classic redneck fashion. The music also had a strong rock edge. This was significant. Even though this wasn’t the first time a country singer had brought rock into country it was Jason that really moved to bring this to life in the ’00s.
Today, Jason’s career has spanned about 20 singles. Each has been building on the other to the point where people have a pretty good idea of who Jason is and what his niche is in country music. The rural roots are there. The rock is certainly there and Jason has even continued to push the limits with rap.
With a strong catalog of hits, Jason is now one of country biggest artists and should continue to be as new fans discover his catalog.
Your blog can work the same way. The first post you write will have some of the elements of the overall story you’re trying to tell with your blog. Your first hit post, one that gets shared on Facebook, Twitter, and even email, will do even more to let readers know the story you are trying to tell.
Five years from now you’ll be in good shape with an entire catalog of hit posts. When people discover your blog at that time they’ll be able to go back and read the archives and really get into the story and the message you’re telling.
Two things I think are important to remember.
1. Each Post is Still Important – Don’t lose sight of the short-term. It takes focus on each post with a slight focus on the big picture in order to succeed. You want to get caught up in the moment when creating each post while considering the big picture when not writing.
2. Consistency is Key – Consistency is important both in narrative and frequency. You need to keep your posts somewhat consistent in tone and meaning. You don’t want to contradict yourself too many times. This confuses readers. You also want to publish consistently. When country artists go for a period of not releasing singles they are at big risk of losing the momentum of their career. It’s really difficult to come back after being out of the spotlight. Keep posting and don’t let your blog lose its momentum.
And here is an introduction to the catalog here at GBW.
If you’re new, these posts are a good place to start: