Rock the Blog Part 3: Find Your Angle

This week, we’re looking at two more blogging angles and how to pull them off.  Let’s get started!

The Personal:  The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive

The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive is a blog by a 24-year old Irish woman named Seaneen who has bipolar disorder.   The blog has attracted a devoted following and received over 1,000,000 hits since its inception in 2007.  Although Seaneen started her blog as a personal chronicle of her illness, it rapidly turned into a source of information, support, and community for thousands of people around the world who are affected by mental illness.  A typical post might include an update on her personal life, reflections on her mood/mental health status, a rant about how people with mental illnesses are portrayed in the media, or a humorous anecdote about her psychiatrist.

Personal blogs are the often the hardest ones to pull off, and I’ve chosen Seaneen’s blog as an example because it illustrates an important point:  it helps to have an angle.  Seaneen’s angle is mental illness.  She writes about a lot of other things—and she’s a good writer—but the focus on mental illness gives people a way to identify with her and develop an interest in her life.  Other successful angles I’ve seen in Personal-style blogs include “the mommy blogger,” “the surviving-the-recession blogger,” and “the trying-to-lose-weight blogger.”

The Hobbyist:  Vegan Lunch Box

In 2006, Jennifer McCann started a blog chronicling the vegan lunches she made for her school-age son.  The blog included pictures of each lunch she packed, as well as recipes and detailed instructions for making all kinds of vegan snacks.  It started out as a fun personal project, but soon the blog won several awards and she has since published two popular “Vegan Lunch Box” cookbooks with Da Capo press.

The Hobbyist is probably my favorite blogging category, and it’s (not surprisingly) one of the easiest and most fun types of blogs to maintain.  You don’t have to come up with Deep and Original bloggerly thoughts every day—all you have to do is make something cool, snap some photos of it, and wait for the commenters to say OOH!  Besides all sorts of cooking blogs, there are also successful Hobbyist blogs about crafting, gardening, bicycle repair, and all sorts of other skills.

The key to creating a great Hobbyist blog is provide lots of photographs and detailed, user-friendly instructions.  A great Hobbyist blog is a resource for the whole community, a place where readers can turn to find out how to make or do something, or simply to be inspired by your creations.  Give a lot to your readers, and they’ll give back with their loyalty and encouragement.

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