As a blogger, you are ultimately going to commit your writing to your CMS (content management system) at some point. Many bloggers write straight into the editor and then may either publish the work or leave it in draft for a time.
As you grow as a blogger it becomes more important to think about the big picture. The big picture consists of, but is not limited to:
When you start making account for all of this, you may start to drive your drafting back into a Word Document, Pages, an Email or a Notepad file.
Placing your work in compartmentalised folders allows you to organise what you are producing.
As a blogger you will realise that keeping a schedule is hard and that you have to ‘keep the meat filling the sausage’. It can be tough at times and I am no stranger to the ups and downs of trying to maintain a schedule.
Down to the 5 reasons of why to keep that all important ‘Never Publish’ folder
Reason 1: Eliminating Poor Quality
Sometimes you are not on your ‘A’ game. It is inevitable that you are going to reach a point of poor quality.
Green/Newbie bloggers do push out a lot of garbage along with their good posts in the first year of blogging. It is part of wearing the T-Shirt. You have to experiment in order to understand what your audience likes best out of the boundaries of what you are covering. Over-posting is common in order for you to gain traction with an audience, a lot of that hard work will be wiped away because certain articles just don’t cover the depth that the audience needs to find satisfying. You should be able to get a sense of what your audience reacts to and what they find uninspiring.
Reason 2: Eliminating Jumping on the Band Wagon
It is dangerous to jump on the band wagon. You have to know what you are talking about. The other major issue with the band wagon is that most of the time, it was somebody else who creatively thought to ask the questions and somebody other than you to provide the answers. You could be late to the party, so late that you don’t get any warmth from what you’ve written.
There are those entrepreneurs who have made a fortune by making clones of popular services. Nothing is immune from reverse engineering. You’ll find that if you strike on something good, you will get a competitor analyse it before too long. That shouldn’t put you off trying though. It is normally the person who was best able to make something work first who gets the warmth from it. Everyone else gets an ever decreasing share of that warmth.
What you could end up with if you straight copy is a bland experience, ultimately forgettable to your audience.
Forget following the masses. Be original.
Reason 3: Avoid “Jumping The Shark”
“Jumping the Shark” is a pop culture reference; it dates back to a sitcom called Happy Days where the Fonz literally jumps a shark with a pair of water skis. The truth was that Happy Days was suffering a sustained drop in ratings and in order to keep the show ticking over the shark jump was added as a gimmick. It was seen as a departure from the show’s spirit. Such a gimmick can be cited, in more modern settings, as the point where creative evolution declines or where the style change takes it away from what made it great in the first place, a shadow of its former self.
One of the major challenges with blogging is keeping the tone and intent the same whilst moving with the times. There are periods when you write something you hope encapsulates the passion for your topic but more often than not falls flat or lands out-of-bounds for your niche. Blogging has a difficulty in that owing to ‘hypercompetition’ the boundaries of niches are much smaller than they were in the old days. You can talk about a great deal in a blog but be washed away with the masses.
It is tempting to try to seek that one post that will change your fortunes but in truth you do better when you continually tweak your everyday to make it better. It’s about leaving no weak links.
Reason 4: Avoiding Inflammatory Personal Digs
There is a difference between opposing viewpoints and making a personal attack. On most occasions we can be relied upon to make the right call, tread the right balance of not destroying a person entirely. Sometimes on a rare occasion our objectivity towards a person can erode beyond a point where we are rational. We can enter a state where it is likely that we will do our own self-image harm if we engage in debunks.
It is important to remember that not everybody has the same moral and ethical code that we have. We can’t be friends with everybody in life, it just doesn’t happen. It is important not to get into tit-for-tat situations because they can quickly escalate. Self-image as a blogger is quite important because many bloggers sell through the positive influence that they exude. Whilst you can sell a lot on negativity consider what gain you will receive out of an attack. Sometimes it is better to put the guns back in the holsters even if that bandit is calling you a chicken.
These provocative situations need to be kept under a lid. It is right for you to defend yourself but it is much better to do this person to person or email to email rather than involve your audience.
Reason 5: It All Acts As A Reminder To Self
The best way to prevent making mistakes is to have some form of log of the stuff you have vowed never to release. You will discover by a quick glance, the kind of situations you know you shouldn’t have gone into further detail about and it will hopefully prompt you not to make the same mistake again. Obviously it can be tough to quarantine any work indefinitely, especially after so much work has been dedicated.
If you are running off niche topic in a big way then quarantine is the best answer. You could spark negative issues by going off topic which have long-lasting effect to your audience and their satisfaction.
BlogPrefect’s Never Publish Folder
In over 3 years of writing I organise BlogPrefect post drafts (outside of the editor) into three buckets.
Bucket 1: Unpublished
These are the posts that are not fully fledged thoughts just yet, they are awaiting enough content to be transferable to the CMS (WordPress in my case). I try to keep this bucket’s contents small, mostly because every extra file and folder in this bucket becomes potentially wasted time. As a blogger, the less wasted time you have, the better.
Bucket 2: Published
Once the unpublished becomes published I move the drafts over into the published folder where they may sit for a time until I archive the post after it no longer drives meaningful traffic. Reviewing published posts is an important staple of blog management. Often you can find a lot of ideas from seeing the gaps in what you have written before. A lot about becoming more successful in a niche hangs on how you fill out the gaps that other bigger bloggers have left behind (the clearing in the wood).
Bucket 3: Never Publish
This metaphorical bucket is the nub of this article.
This third bucket is a sub-bucket of Bucket 1. There are certain times when I may have committed some time to writing a draft but later realise that what I am writing about may cause issues, is just not what I should be writing about or just isn’t that engaging to read for a would-be visitor.
At time of writing I have 5 ‘never publish’ articles sitting in this bucket. I’ll talk you through each one:
Don’t Upset a Hipster Geek
Sadly this was a non-relevant blog post. I belong to a science fiction group on Google+ and got into a bit of a spat with a certain individual about a piece of art (made from Lego) depicting an AT-AT walker. I am suffering some severe Star Wars fatigue, mostly from the very poor prequel quality and a massive merchandise drive. Cutting a long story short, we managed to have a civil conversation about it but we both agreed to disagree.
I wasn’t really sure how I was going to steer this article to be relevant for BlogPrefect.Com. This may have suited JackoWrites.Com better although ultimately it was a personal experience and one that you had to be there to get the full benefit from.
Word Count 1031 – First started on 26th July 2013
Great Expectations Legacy
This article followed another similarly titled piece. It was meant to cover in detail the issues with a game called The Sims 4. I decided to abandon this because whilst the original did well, it was off topic.
This article also came too late after the fact and there seems to be a lack of criticism web-wide on The Sims 4. You only tend to find true rants on YouTube.
Word Count 3925 – First started on 4th September 2014
How Not To Treat Your Customers
This was a piece on EA and Bioware, obviously as with the above post, it was not relevant to this niche but unlike the article above, I only committed 807 words to it so it wasn’t as big a loss overall. The article went into detail about how EA and Bioware made a chronic miss-step in their franchises, specifically Mass Effect which had the worst third installment. EA had also killed the Sim City franchise with a critical online only error, symptomatic of their need to greed. Many Sims fans are concerned that they are doing this to the Sims franchise as well.
Whilst a passionate article it was not suitable on BlogPrefect.Com for the audience I was trying to attract.
Word Count 807 – First started on 23rd August 2013
Brian Randolph is both a sinner and a saint.
I’ve had to change the name on this article because it was again, a personal look at someone who had been a patron on BlogPrefect.com during my stellar year.
Brian Randolph, known by another name, was a prolific responder. He spent the best part of a month replying to every article I posted during a very heavy posting month. He was the only commenter who consistently made comment on every post. In that way he was a saint.
I had deep concerns about Mr Randolph. It seemed even Enstine Muki agreed when he laid down his own scathing criticism at a number of frauds including Brian roughly two years ago (although recently he’s changed his tune). Brian was into some pretty shady business practices including a Pyramid/Ponzi scheme (rebranded as MLM).
I had started writing a praising article about him and his website but couldn’t pull the trigger. He was tainted by this MLM business. I can’t tell you too much more because if you garner too much detail you’ll know who Brian Randolph actually is. He gets around a lot.
The problem is, I like Brian. He’s a nice guy, a Buddhist with plenty of wisdom about blogging. He’s written several million words in his long blogging career and some of his books have been used by University lecturers in respectable colleges in the USA.
He still carries that taint and I don’t entirely trust him as a result. It’s why I didn’t deepen the relationship even though it may have meant “cutting my nose off to spite my face”.
Word Count 441 – First started on 6th August 2014
*If you head over to Enstine’s site at the moment you might catch a glimpse of Brian but if you come to this article in a couple of months time he may be less visible.
Using the Community for Help – Zero Second Bounce
As you may know by now, I love statistics. Statistical information rocks so having the opportunity to look at graphs and charts, dripping with statistical butter, makes my mouth salivate. Okay, maybe that’s a bit strong – you get the idea.
During my early first year with BlogPrefect.com I covered a lot on my statistics. Google Analytics was a favourite hangout zone for me and I would expend a long time looking at this data in intrigue.
The article felt like a bit of a stretch. The Zero Second Bounce referred to readers who had not even spent 1 second looking at my content. I later found out that GA is a bit harsher than other statistical measures in that it struck people off the list if they only viewed 1 page on entry to the site before leaving. The problem was that I was floundering on this topic because I didn’t know what I was talking about. I didn’t have the knowledge to form a useful frame for knowledgeable GA users. In other words readers would see through my shallow words. This article got parked.
Word Count 534 – First started on 19th July 2013
There are more than five reasons why you should have a ‘Never Publish’ folder. Something to always remember with these list type articles is that the most important facts rise to the top, but there can be more reasons lurking underneath. You may be shocked to know that over on www.jackowrites.com I list a massive group of novel ideas that I quarantined indefinitely (around 700 hours worth by rough estimation). I had to do this in order to move on and complete novels.
The truth is that sometimes you have to enact the cutting blade to ensure you maintain quality. Don’t be afraid to park work that doesn’t meet the standard but if it is something that you think you need to be reminded of, don’t delete it. Nothing is ever truly a waste.
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Featured image source by Tookapic via Pixabay
Happy Days, “Fonzi” image located from Wikipedia under fair use.
Wagon with horses image by Gellinger via Pixabay