When you start a new blog series or posting schedule, should you tell your readers? Is it good to announce, “I’m blogging every day this month!” even if you end up failing? Do public announcements keep you accountable, or do they only add unnecessary pressure? To help answer these questions, here’s a look at the value and risks that come with announcing blog changes:
Benefits of Blog Announcements
In a post about “Common Blogging Mistakes” at CopyBlogger, Henneke Duistermaat writes that “what your readers need is you—your wisdom, your ideas, your unique stories on your chosen area of expertise.” When you let your readers in the loop about your plans and projects, you share more of yourself and create an environment ready for connection.
Here are some of the benefits that come from making blog announcements:
- Makes Readers Insiders: When you share plans and changes with your readers, they feel like insiders. They get to know what you’re thinking about and working on—This builds greater connection with readers and makes them want to stick around.
- Keeps You Accountable: Think about it: Are you more likely to give up on a daily posting schedule when you’ve told everyone about it or when you’ve told no one? The second scenario lets you fail quietly, with no harm done. The first scenario gives you a huge incentive to stick to your goals.
- Builds Anticipation: When you announce the blog is moving to a new location in a week, your readers anticipate and expect the upcoming change. You build excitement into the update, if only because there’s a short waiting period before it occurs. Likewise, when you announce you’ll post every day or every Friday, you set up expectations for your readers that they want to see you meet.
Downside of Blog Announcements
On the flip side of the benefits that come from transparent blog announcement, there is also a downside—You could fail: The launch date could change, you could forget to post when you said you would, or any number of other factors could go wrong.
Consider the risks:
- Increased Pressure: Pressure is a double-edged sword. While the pressure that comes from a public announcement could be just the incentive you need to stay motivated, it could also be the final nail in your coffin of stress. Before announcing a big change or blogging goal, ask yourself if you’re going to feel over-pressured as a result.
- Less Flexibility: Once you set an expectation for your readers, you have much less flexibility around it. When you announce you’re working on an ebook, for example, it will be much harder to scrap the idea a few weeks later, even if you know you should. Once you announce you’re going to blog every day, you have less free time to devote to guest-blogging opportunities that arise. Public announcements remove a layer of flexibility in blogging that lets you change and adapt as you like.
- Potential Public Failure: Announcing a blogging goal may help keep you accountable, but it also may make your failure public. It’s one thing to try to post every Friday and miss one week, it’s another to tell your readers to look for a post every Friday and then not deliver. This not only makes you look bad, it destroys credibility with your audience, who is waiting for you to do what you say.
So What Should You Announce?
Considering the pros and cons of blog announcements, how do you know what is worth announcing and what isn’t? Here are some clues:
- Definite Changes: The best way to insulate yourself from making a promise you can’t keep is to only make promises on which you know you will follow through. If you’re committed to posting every day in January, no matter what other opportunities come up, then you are ready to post about it. If your designer guarantees your new website will be ready in a week, you can feel free to tell your readers. But don’t make premature announcements about ideas you aren’t sure of—It sets you up to make an awkward explanation later.
- Updates Readers Care about: If you’ve overhauled your blog design so that the search bar is in a new location and categories are somewhere new, you know there’s potential for your readers to be confused. For this reason, it’s a good idea to post an explanation or tutorial about the new changes—This is something your readers will want to know.
When have you made big announcements on your blog, whether about posting schedules or design changes or something else? When you go out of town, do you announce your absence to your readers? Why or why not? What have you seen in responses to these announcements?