The Blog Library
The Nine Words That Should Not Appear On Your Blog. Anywhere.
Meet Angry Jenika:
(Why yes, that is me wearing a shower cap covered in shaving cream. I have no explanation other than: Such things happen when you hang out with Kristen Kalp.)
Not many people ever meet Angry Jenika – but you know what the quickest way to meet her is?
To blog (or facebook, or newsletter) the following nine words:
“Sorry I haven’t blogged lately – I’ve been so busy!”
Holy. Freaking. Tizzy. Batman.
Look, I realize this is irrational. My reaction is outsized relative to the crime.
But do me a favor, okay?
Stop it. (Hear me out.)
YES: Blogging (or Facebooking or newsletter’ing) consistently is a good thing. It builds trust. It shows reliability and professionalism. It makes Google happy. It teaches people what to expect and when to come back. It acknowledges that hey, there’s a ginormous mountain of content out there and if I’m not producing regularly, people are going to forget about me and I might as well not bother at all. All these things are true.
But what happens is, you know everything I just said. And yet you don’t always blog consistently (amiright?) so you get this massive guilt cloud raining shame down upon you.
So when you do come back to blog, this shame-rain makes you feel like you have to confess, explain, or otherwise excuse your lack of consistency.
Your blog is not your mother. You don’t have to explain why you haven’t called.
The vast majority of the time, all this line – “Sorry I haven’t blogged lately….” does is call even more attention to the fact that you haven’t blogged lately.
I, your reader, don’t feel any better about you after receiving this nonpology. Most likely I didn’t notice you were gone because I also read 8,463 other things per day, but if I did, I assume that life got in the way and that you’d get around to it.
I bring this up because I land on dozens of photographers’ blogs where I start going through the archives and 7/10 posts start with lines like “It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, so….” or “I haven’t blogged since last summer (oops) hehe, sparkle sparkle…” – and so their blog is essentially nothing but a big parade of statements that they haven’t blogged.
And all this makes me think is “wow, they sound kinda flaky, maybe I shouldn’t follow this blog….”
But if each post was just a solid piece of content, I probably would never have noticed, and just would have enjoyed what they said and bookmarked for future info.
If you do need to explain, “being busy” is not an explanation.
If you normally blog 3x a week with a boatload of regular readers, and then have three weeks of radio silence, then maybe your readers would be confused, sure.
Add a simple, cheerful one-liner: “We’re back to our regularly-scheduled programming after the kiddos had an unexpected bout with Mr. Flu” or make it relevant to the post: “Hey! I’ve been in Rio this week [photo] and boy do I have tales to share!”
Not only is this far more interesting than guilt-induced bowing and scraping, it reinfuses the blog with energy and generally gets on with the show.
These human touches are good. But “busy” is not human, “busy” is just annoying. No one wants to hear how busy you are. Your readers are busy, too. And yet they’ve honored you with five minutes of their attention, so honor them back by regaling them with something other than your scheduling woes.
Also, saying you haven’t been communicating because you’ve been “busy” is vaguely insulting. It implies that you have so many cool things going on in your life that you just didn’t have time for me, your reader. That doesn’t exactly instill a warm and cuddly feeling. (For more on why “busy” is toxic, check out this article from Harvard Business Review).
Whatever you do, keep in mind that this post is going to be archived.
Most people don’t track the dates when they dig through archives, so all you do is engrave your past inconsistency for all future readers to see. So consider whether this is something your readers really need to know right now. Future readers probably don’t, at least.
If it’s a newsletter or Facebook post, I’d still avoid the word “busy,” but consider whether you truly need to offer an explanation. Just because you feel it doesn’t mean you need to say it.
Overall: Most people just want to see good stuff.
They aren’t terribly interested in your inner angst about whether you’re bloggging or social media’ing often enough. They just want to see what you’re up to that’s cool, and feel like they can rely on you to be cool. Far better than saying “Sorry I’ve been busy” is just to provide something awesome and calendar in time to be consistent in the future.
And if you can’t or don’t want to be consistent – own it. Admit it. Let go of the angst, it shows through anyway. Blog when you blog. Move to a quarterly newsletter. Hire out social media. It’s okay. The world is not sitting there tapping its foot waiting to hear from you – it’s waiting to be dazzled. Connected. Loved. Served. Just focus on that, okay?
Then Angry Jenika can go back to only appearing when people use their phones in movie theaters. 😉
Angry Jenika – out.
P.S. If you’d like to learn how to write a blog post in 20 minutes, check out Irresistible Words.