Ah, yes, one of the biggest questions when you enter the blogosphere: do you have to be an original blogger?
I feel like that’s something that every blogger sees as some sort of requirement. Even in my own post when I talked about what makes me follow a book blog, I said that I really liked seeing original content that would continually inspire me. And, also, who wants to see a blog that looks like pretty much every other blog? We don’t just push creativity and non-conformity in the blogging world, but pretty much everywhere. How many times have you heard someone say that they’re tired of superhero movies and sequels and want an original movie? Or someone saying a song is overrated because it sounds like every other song on the radio? Or someone complaining about how a TV show is using the same old tired cliches?
But, is it necessary to be completely original as a blog? There seems to be a sort of look-down on people who just post memes and tags and awards, and even some people who have pretty much sworn off all of those things in favor of original content. So I wanted to talk about my experiences with all those things, because I am the blogging queen.
(Just kidding, I am 100% not the blogging queen.)
So, of course, you’ve probably heard of these things called weekly memes, and contrary to what I used to think, memes aren’t just those things that get popular on Twitter and become annoying after a day. Basically, there’s a concept, and you’re supposed to pick books relating to that concept. Some of the popular ones I’ve seen around are Top Ten Tuesday, Saturday Situation, WWW Wednesday, and Waiting on Wednesday. There are definitely a lot more out there, and several for pretty much every day of the week.
If you’ve been around since the very beginning, you’ll know that I used to do WWW Wednesday for the month of January. Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t really enjoying them, and, surprisingly, they weren’t really doing too good in terms of stats (even though I’ve seen so many people say they’re memes do the best in terms of stats), so I ended up quitting. It’s definitely worked for me, since I’ve now opened up a spot that’s been taken in favor of more original posts, but I know that might not work out for everyone.
I’ve definitely seen a general consensus that seeing too many memes when you first stumble upon someone’s blog makes it less likely for them to stay, and I’ve also seen some people say that they just straight up avoid their Reader on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because of the amount of memes. I definitely get it; I feel like with WWW Wednesday and WoW, it’s hard to really say something other than, “Oh, cool; I loved those books, and that one’s on my TBR! Here’s my link!” and “Yes, I’m super excited to read that book as well! Here’s the link to my post!” With TTT, I can definitely find something to comment about, because I’ve seen several people turn those posts into something creative (like what Cait @ Paper Fury does), but even if it’s just a list, I can always find something to relate to!
I don’t know if it’s a way to meet new people, but I have seen lots of people say that’s how they got their outreach when they were first starting out, so I can see why new bloggers like me jumped on the train! Personally, I don’t think I was really discovered by my WWW Wednesday posts, but I guess it might depend on what type of meme you’re doing.
I guess you can say it’s mixed regarding tags and awards. On one hand, I feel like they’re fun and easy to do, especially if you don’t have something to do that day, and it’s always fun being tagged in an award. But, I’ve also seen some bloggers say that they think that they can get boring every once in a while, which they definitely can be, depending on the tag. There are some tags that I’ve managed to turn into full-blown post ideas, so they’re not completely useless.
I used to do tags a lot, and those who’ve been here around since the beginning, again, know that all I used to do were tags and reviews, before I got sick of it and opted to do more original content. And, as you guys know, I’m a huge planner when it comes to my blog, and even though I’ve been nominated in so many blogging awards and tags, only about three or so tags are on my agenda until August of next year, and don’t even get me started on blogging awards. I just feel like I’d rather post a Let’s Chat or a recommendations post or a list over a blogging award, because even though they’re nice, I don’t get excited about posting them. So, I decided that since I’ve been nominated for so many, why not just combine them all into one huge Q + A post? That way, I don’t have 248028 awards to do, and it’s fun and creative!
I’ve seen some people say that they don’t do tags and awards anymore, which I can totally understand if you want more original content on the blog. I think some tags are definitely fun to do since they reveal more about yourself, and same with blogging awards because you usually have to list facts for those, but I feel like they’re best in moderation, so I reserve them for every once in a while or when I just have nothing to post (which will probably never happen, so there’s that).
As you guys probably know, I freaking love lists. Basically, for me, what falls under the “List” category are Monthly Recommendations, Anticipated Releases, Monthly TBRs and Wrap-Ups, and Book Playlists can be put under this category.
I did a lot of lists in February when I was trying to branch out in terms of more original content, and I was very happy to see that it gained so much popularity. I thought it was not only a great way to try something new on my blog, but I also got to share a lot about myself (my favorite ships, my favorite series, some facts about me, etc.), and I love doing that since it reminds everyone that there is a human being behind the blog. I also got a lot of comments from those types of posts, so they obviously push people to talk and share about themselves as well!
I’ve never done monthly TBRs, and I have an entire post dedicated to that whole subject that you can find right here if you’re interested. But, you’ve probably noticed that I don’t do much in regards of Wrap-Ups anymore. I realized during the month of March I really didn’t feel like doing a Wrap-Up post, and I realized that I don’t HAVE to do them at all. It’s my blog, and I can do whatever I want with it, so I chose to just skip out on it and just continue on with the month with more original content that I was really excited for. I like seeing other people’s wrap-ups, but it’s just something that I don’t really like doing, so I decided I wouldn’t.
Ah, yes, the real money-makers. It seems to be that everyone in the book blogging community agrees that discussion posts are what’s really good for your blog and are what rake the numbers in, which is definitely true. When I posted my first ever discussion post – which I was incredibly nervous to do – I was blown away by how many likes and comments I received from it! And I realized how much fun it was to write that discussion, so I thought, why not keep doing this?
People seem to worry a lot about the topics they discuss, though. Some people never know where to get their ideas from or don’t really know how to get their thoughts into a blog post. Some feel like so-and-so topic has already been talked about by SO MANY PEOPLE, that their input will mean nothing in the long run. But, I definitely don’t think you SHOULDN’T talk about something just because someone else already has, and I don’t think that you have to be completely original to write up a discussion.
Personally, when I started out blogging, after getting frustrated with my lack of original content in January, I ended up brainstorming. So, really, pretty much all the discussion topics I’ve come up with have been thought up months ago. I don’t think I’ve ever thought up a discussion post the month of, basically. I use Discussions to talk about things that I don’t think too many people in the blogosphere have already talked about, and Let’s Chat is more for topics that have already been discussed by a range of people, but I just want to put in my own two cents anyway. Obviously, I post several Let’s Chat posts a month, but only one Discussion per month, and that works for me. They tend to get noticed a lot, and also generate conversation, which I love.
So, that’s basically all the categories I can think of.
Hopefully, there aren’t many more than that. For me, the answer to the question is no, you don’t HAVE to be a completely original blogger. It’s pretty hard to come up with an idea that someone hasn’t already thought of and written down. But, it does seem like the general consensus is that bringing something new to the table can push your blog to several heights and even get better stats!
What are your thoughts on each of the categories? Is there one you prefer over the others? What do you think makes an original book blogger?