Everything I Need to Know About Blogging, I Learned from “Lord of the Rings”

blogging with LOTR
I’ll come clean right here and right now….I’m a huge Tolkien fan. I’ve read his books since high school. I reread at least The Lord of the Rings every year. Sometimes The Hobbit, too. I also own The Similrillion and The Children of Hurin and others. There are many lessons in Tolkien’s books – lessons on friendship, loyalty, Orc hunting. But there are other lessons, too, if you look at them from a blogger’s point of view. That’s why I like to say that everything I ever needed to know about blogging, I learned from reading Lord of the Rings. Don’t believe me? Read on!

  • You need a fellowship. You CAN blog in a vacuum, but what’s the point? You need readers, you need followers, you need friends. You also need other bloggers, to both guest post for you, and to return the favor of allowing you a spot on their blog.. While ultimately, the job is yours and yours alone, you need the support of others to truly make the journey.
  • Never forget the One Thing. Your blog should have a purpose, and that purpose should be your main focus when blogging. (And no, that purpose shouldn’t be selling, but that’s a different post altogether.) Frodo had the One Ring, and that made all the difference. Without it, we’d just have a nice fairy story full of elves and hobbits and wizards. With it, we have a grand adventure that determines the future of Middle Earth. Your blog can determine the future of your business. Keeping your One Thing front and center will help you produce quality killer content that keeps your readers coming back to your blog time after time.
  • Second breakfast is always a good thing. Take time away from your blog, and from writing, to let the thing breathe and grow and develop. A good post once a week is better than a lousy post every day. Stop and refuel by reading others’ blogs, as well. You may find information, inspiration, or just a good laugh. Remember the fellowship? Yeah, take time to dine with them on a regular basis.
  • There will be mountains. And orcs. And battles to fight. Blogging, especially blogging for business purposes, is fraught with dangers. You can write too often. Not write enough. Write content that sucks. Lose readers. Not have any readers. Deal with real life trolls. There will be days when the blinking cursor just sits there, taunting you and turning your brain to mush, even though you’ve GOT to publish a post today. Yes, there will be mountains, but you can get over them.
  • Not all heroes are perfect, and not all bloggers are, either. Frodo had difficulty throwing the ring into the fires of Mount Doom. Aragorn didn’t want to be king. Boromir was perhaps the most perfectly flawed hero since Lancelot. And you aren’t perfect, either. Don’t be tempted to only show your readers the good stuff, the best days, the fake smiles. Let them in on your trials and troubles and pitfalls and problems. Be real. Have a real voice. They’ll appreciate it and so will you.
  • Use a little magic every now and then. Do something different. Post something out of the ordinary. Start a conversation on a controversial topic. Don’t be afraid to try something new, or different. Bloggers can get into a rut, and then the blog gets boring and blah. A few fireworks now and then can add some zip and flash. Use it wisely though, young hobbit. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Just ask Merry and Pip.
  • Lambas bread is good food. Feed your readers good stuff. Offer up good content. No, killer content, that they can really sink their teeth into and get a satisfied feeling once they leave. And make sure your content has lasting power, too. Nothing worse than a blog post that’s completely irrelevant and useless less than a week after it’s written. Trendy is one kind of magic, a steady diet of it leaves you wanting more. Serve them the good stuff, always. It’ll keep them coming back.

There, that’s it. A few blogging lessons from Lord of the Rings. Take what you need, traveler. Use what you can. The road goes ever onward, and so does the blogging!

If you need hep with blog posts for your blog, check out my blog post writing services. I bake some really good Lambas. I got the recipe from the elves themselves!

PS No dwarves, orcs, elves or hobbits were injured in the making of this blog post.

If Your Blog Was a Band…

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Let’s stop and think for a moment and finish the sentence started in this post’s title. What kind of band would your blog be? Answering that question may sound silly, but it’s actually pretty important to your blog and to your readers. Why? Well, if you know what kind of musical artist your blog would be if it could sing, then you’ll know what style of content you should be creating, or having created, for it. Imagining your blog as a band or singing star is a non-marketing way of establishing that all elusive “voice” all the industry blogs, books and seminars discuss. You’ve heard it, read it, seen it – you have to establish a “voice” for your blog. Yet very few go beyond that. They forget to define voice, or if they do, they use phrases like “writing style” or “personal voice” in the process without ever telling us what they mean by those vague phrases.

So, I’ve come up with the band analogy. It’s something everyone is familiar with, something everyone can grasp. And I’ve broken it down even further, so that you can have some idea of where you might fall:

  • The Country Crooners – Down home, folksy, earthy kind of guys and gals more at home in their jeans and pick ups than pearls and limousines. They may be serious, or silly, or a bit of both, but they are true to their roots. They can be a very urban group, but they still have that grass-roots and big hat kind of feel. You get the idea they’ve got a hound under their chair and a tall cool iced tea (sweet tea, of course) next to them as they write.
  • The Jazz Trio – These guys are hip, cool and sophisticated. They know their stuff, but aren’t afraid to spice it up a little, or surprise you with a bit of improvisation or something new. The jazz trio comes across as older, wiser, but still fun and free spirited. They’re easy to spot because they aren’t afraid to stir things up a bit, but they never stray too far from their set beat. They speak with the husky voice of the smoky room, while sipping a nice glass of wine or whiskey.
  • The Symphony – The symphonic blog is all business, all culture, all black tie and tails. They speak to you with the voice of expertise and intelligence. You don’t dare question their authority or their style. The symphony appeals to the professional set, to the higher brows of business and society. They tend to be predictable and polished. Always polished. And like a fine brandy, they go down smooth.
  • The Heavy Metal Muthas – These blogs are so edgy, you need bubble wrap to keep from getting poked. They’re always stirring things up, posting photos and articles that cause a fuss. Their groupies like it that way. They’re hip, they’re hot and they know it. They tend to scream more than converse. And they are quite often not safe for work, or children, or polite society. You definitely don’t take them home to meet your mom, or spill their beer.
  • The Pop Diva – Pop queen blogs tend to be a bit overdressed, a bit shallow and a bit immature, but their readers don’t seem to mind. Their articles are sweet, fashionable and always trendy. They don’t make too many waves, but they do have their causes and their concerns. They can sell something to you, or they can inform you, but don’t look for much meat here. And have the sugary soda and bubble gum handy. You’re going to need it.

Now, this is a bit of fun, but in all seriousness, if you can identify your blog as a band, you can solve the mystery of the “voice” problem with your content. After all, we don’t want to hear our pop diva singing about her hound dog and her pick up truck anymore than we want our symphony dressed in black leather and chains. Your voice is more than just your writing style or your personal way of communicating. It is how your blog communicates. So, yeah, it’s important to know just what kind of song you’re singing, so the right readers can tune in and hum along.Jazz-Trio-M1