Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Secrets of a successful blog

Barbara here. Today I have the privilege of writing Type M's 2000th post. We must be doing something right because we recently also passed a very impressive milestone in the number of pages viewed. Such longevity and continued success deserve a few trumpets. Over the years, blogs have come and gone, initially full of ideas and optimism, but later running out of ideas, time, or enthusiasm. Day after day and week after week, we toss our carefully crafted words into cyberspace and wonder – is anyone reading them? Are we making a difference? If you are not a guy who's good tracking and analyzing the stats for the blog, it is easy to get discouraged.

Fortunately on Type M we have just such a guy– Rick Blechta, our blog administrator and solver of all crises technical and spiritual. Just when our spirits flag, he sends out an email telling us how well we are doing. And it appears Type M is flourishing. More and more people are reading it, and they are also looking back in the archives. This at a time when the internet is overrun with blogs and newsletters and Facebook pages and games and Goodreads and on and on. So on this, our 2000th blog post, I thought it a fitting tribute to try to explore why. Besides the brilliance of our posts, that is.

First of all, it's our philosophy and content. This is not a blog of non-stop self promotion. All of us are fairly prolific authors and all of us are in the business of getting the word out there about our latest books, reviews, book tours, and movie deals. However, the originators of Type M for Murder made a deliberate choice that this blog would be about writing and not about ourselves. We wanted to provide a service to writers at all stages of their careers, from forming that first critiquing group to planning a cross-country book tour. We do talk about our own works and experiences– the good and the bad– but as examples that others may find useful.

Secondly, it's the number and variety of our authors. We have ten writers, both men and women, from the UK, Canada, and the US, writing everything from cosy to thriller. We cover the spectrum of voices, and our individual posts are varied and informative.  This is not a niche blog; whether you love police procedurals, capers, or classic whodunits, there will be a post for you. Furthermore, having ten authors reduces the chance of running out of ideas or energy and makes it more likely we will have something exciting to blog about when our time comes.

Thirdly, it is the balance of new and old bloggers. Over the years,Type M authors have come and gone, some to return again, bringing fresh perspectives and new topics to enrich the blog. Yet there has been enough stability to ensure the tone of the blog and to allow a friendship and respect to develop among us that I believe shows through in the blog. We comment on each other's posts, we expand on them in our own posts. Some of us have actually met each other, but most of us have only come to know each other through the blog. Some day, I hope we can all meet at a conference together!

Lastly, Type M flourishes because it has Rick. Every blog needs a coordinator. It needs a tech guru to solve the inevitable glitches with patience and humour; it needs a manager to keep track of the schedule of posts and guest posts and to initiate the search for new bloggers as needed. It needs someone to ride herd; to remind us to use Facebook and to link to our websites, and someone to analyze and explain the bewildering stats that Google spits out. Most of all, it needs someone to say "Keep going, you're making a difference." And when you get all those things in one person– like Rick– you've struck gold.

That's the real secret of a successful blog. So as part of this 2000th day party, I'd like to ask readers to post a comment on what they enjoy most about Type M for Murder. And if there's something you'd like to see more of, let us know!


Rick Blechta said...

I have a trumpet and I am available. Where's the celebration?

Rick Blechta said...

Now for a serious comment. Type M initially had Vicki Delany. She was the person who held the reins at the beginning, handling the tech stuff, doing our initial design, etc., etc., ETC, because, believe me, there's a lot involved in getting something like this up and running. I merely took over her duties when she moved on. Thankfully, she's now back, but I think she's earned a rest from all the humdrum back room stuff.

The reason this blog has continued to flourish is that we have a great group of writers with varying interests and skills. All I do (or Vicki did) is "herd the cats". Yeah, there are the inevitable technical things, but thankfully those don't have to be dealt with every day – or even every week!

And as for the cheerleading, I'm just naturally that way, so I throw that in free of charge!

Still, thanks for the kudos. Much appreciated.

A.M. Guynes/Annikka Woods said...

I don't even write mysteries but I love reading the blog because you've often got advice for everyone. It's been awesome reading these posts. And who knows? I write fantasy and sci fi normally. Maybe I'll write a mystery too.

Donis Casey said...

I've participated in many a blog over the last decade, and this one is the best organized and one of the better written for sure. And tremendously informative to boot!

Barbara Fradkin said...

Bravo to Vicki too. I already knew she is superwoman. Actually, I suspect she's at least two women. But it's great to have you back, Vicki! And Annika, we'll lure you over to the dark side yet!

Vicki Delany said...

Thanks, Rick and Barbara. I'll throw an extra slice of bread to my evil twin down in the basement today. I'm more than happy to be back with Type M. Here's to the next 2000 posts.