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Blogging 101, Day Twenty-Eight: Create a New Feature

Today’s assignment: develop a regular feature for your blog.

One of the best ways to inspire loyalty is to publish regularly. And the best ways to make sure you publish regularly are sketching out an editorial calendar for yourself and creating a recurring feature — it’s like making a simultaneous pact with yourself and your audience. You’ll do one today, and the other tomorrow.

Today’s assignment: develop a regular feature for your blog.

Why do this?

  • Because creating a regular feature means your readers have something specific to wait for at regular intervals — in other words, your blog has a hook.
  • Because it’s always a good idea to work on healthy blogging habits, and regular features help you stay on track.

When you go serial, you ensure there’s a steady stream of content.  We’re all creatures of habit, bloggers and readers. Adding a recurring feature — or simply planning posts at regular intervals — helps your writing stay sustainable in the long run. Even a purely personal blog of random musings benefits from a hint of structure.

Some of you are already toying with the idea of publishing a regular post around the roundup you wrote on Day Twenty-Three. That’s fantastic — and a smart, time-efficient feature idea to boot. What other options do you have? We’re glad you asked.

  • A weekly photo post (or even better: a weekly photo gallery post).
  • A monthly Q & A with one of your blogging buddies.
  • A Music Monday, featuring the song that rocked your weekend.
  • A Flavor Friday dedicated to the recipe you experimented with over the previous week.

Your features don’t have to alliterate: a Tuesday Rant is just as good as Snarky Sunday. If a weekly commitment is too much, that’s fine: a monthly book review or current events-inspired reflection works just fine. Or devote a day — weekly, bi-weekly, monthly — to unleash the latest installment in your long-term fiction project (or senior thesis, or memoir).

Unless you want to, in which case: shoehorn away!

Whatever feature you decide on, it should fit neatly into your blog. We’re not asking you to shoehorn a weekly photo into your poetry blog, or a post about food into your book review site. The topic and type of feature should be something that makes sense giving your blog’s focus and your blogging goals.

Once you decide on a feature, publish the first installment. If you’re not ready, publish a post announcing the feature to let your readers know what to expect, when. Once you’ve got a few installments in the bag, add a menu item or widget to highlight your feature.

Not sure about your feature idea? Head to The Commons to chat.

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    1. I would be interested to give the answers if you are looking for someone to start with. I am a fashion blogger out of Alaska. Alaska is said to have the worst dressed people. Thus, there may be a hook to your blog with the featured places. Have a look http://www.highlatitudestyle.com. If you are interested in a collaboration send me an email using my contact form.

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  1. Wow haha tbh having a feature is quite a challenge. You not only have to plan the content, but also your schedule and other commitments as well. I’ve been having a lot of drafts that I have simply no time to develop into full-length posts at the moment, so there wouldn’t be time for an editorial calendar obviously haha. I will try this someday tho, as a challenge by itself.

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      1. Yeah I agree with easter. See how it goes for you. I tried a picture with some text in it, relating to my header. I may play some mix and match.. Good luck LHU:)

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  2. *nod nod*. This is definitely a challenge for me too! But even if I can’t manage a structured calender now, this will be a fruitful exercise some months down the road.

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  3. I like the music idea and the weekly photos I think i’ll start working on some version that fits into my blog thewaltersword.wordpress.com

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  4. I have a feature called Snippet Sunday where I post short excerpts of fiction writing, flash fiction or bits from my various novels in progress. A lot of people talk about writing without writing (myself included in the past!)

    I also have another called Wrong Word Wednesday where I write about when people confuse words (less vs fewer etc). It’s been popular so I can definitely attest to the fact that regular features work.

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  5. Hard challenge for me! Since I am blogging about make up, recipes I have tried and books I have read :(
    Maybe music or photos…any suggestions are welcome! TIA

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      1. That’s a good idea! I’ve seen other makeup blogs do favorite products of the month kind of posts. You could maybe do that with makeup or even books of the month? It’s a great way to give people ideas. I’ve been known to try a product or read a book because of a blog.

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      2. thanks for the idea! So you suggest I have pictures of the product on me rather than just a swatch or something? I am already posting pictures of food I am making :)

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    1. For makeup: An idea could be a tutorial. I know there is a lot of those already out there, but maybe you could do it a little different, making it your own.
      Regarding your recipes: I had an idea. Maybe you could team up with another blogger that comes up with a recipe and you could try it out and do a joint feature together, either offering other bloggers to link up their recipes (getting more people visiting your blog) or just having a post people can read. On my everything blog (that’s on blogger not WordPress), I plan on adding my recipes that are more unique/creative, ones that aren’t overdone, which let me tell you is hard to do in the blogging world.

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      1. I will keep your ideas in mind…I am actually copying and pasting this to my evernote so I can keep these suggestions handy!

        Thank you for taking your time and giving me the ideas and suggestions!

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    2. Pictures of it on you would be good :) if you’d like to do a tutorial make sure to personalise it, make it completely yours because there’s so many of em out there :) I’ll be following and looking forward to whatever you have in store!

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      1. wow! I like the way you think! I love music…albeit Bollywood ones! I am sure I can figure out a way to incorporate that? What do you think?

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      2. I’m so glad you liked the idea! Bollywood songs are the best! Hmm… How about Saturday shake-down, Bollywood style? You could put a fun video and talk about why you like the song or a life-experience you’ve had that it reminds you of.

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    3. You could do a monthly favorites and list the makeup products, recipes and books you’ve been loving that month. That way you get to summarize your month and give a little review of each item for quick consumption.

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  6. Regular features for me that I have planned are my 52 Week Challenge which is a photo challenge that I post every Friday. Also, I joined Random Moments of Delight and plan on publishing that every Wednesday. My middle school students are a constant source of entertainment for me so I may try a weekly feature revolving around my many Middle School Moments. It would be similar to the post I wrote called Cool Tricks I’ve Learned from My Middle School Students.

    I completed my blog roundup which I really enjoyed compiling. It focuses on bloggers I’ve “met” who live outside of the U.S.

    http://amforte66.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/around-the-world/

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    1. All the suggestions that Michelle has made are great aren’t they? I cannot believe how inspired I have been over the past few weeks. I’ve been knocking them out of the park (so to speak)

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  7. I post an inspirational quote every Friday and also post a workout or goal each Wednesday. I find that it really helps me with my content – mostly because those two days are very easy to come up with.

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    1. Those are good ideas! It’s easier to make posts if you have designated things to do on certain days. I’ve been trying to do something similar, but it’s still a work in progress.

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  8. It’s such a good idea. Something that your blog is known for. The one that I’ve chosen over the past five weeks is one of my photographs with a nice quote underneath it. I think it is user friendly and short and simple to read. In today’s one, I encorporated a tiled Galley into it. Have a look if you like:

    http://tigerpawsjnrsstories.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/heaven-is-right-now/

    I received such a nice comment the other day: It read – Hi TPJ: I have to say that your blog is amazing, not only because yoou encorporate funny facts and reader friendly posts, you actually give to your readers a fresh breath between all the chaos called ‘world’…huge hugs for you.

    It’s one of the nicest comments we’ve received and it makes all the hard work we put into the blog worth it, Happy blogging to all of you,

    TPJ x

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  9. Oh, haha. I kinda got ahead of the class and inadvertently started a feature last week. I made my first post for it last night. The feature is Lyrically Inspired, which is my reflections on songs that inspire me or otherwise make me stop and think. I didn’t know at the time that I was creating a feature, but it works perfectly.

    Here’s my first one: http://wp.me/p4oGXE-4z

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow – I am so impressed – you write so very well and you are so emotionally honest and open to sharing the hardest times. I have so much respect for that. What a great post with a truly inspiring song and story.

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    2. You’re just a clever clogs :) in the nicest possibly way. I really can’t think of anything that I’m going to be able to do. Haven’t listened to this song yet, but I will.

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      1. Clever clogs….that’s one I haven’t heard before. But I like the sound of it. So whatever it means, I didn’t take any offense to it. :) You could do a photo feature maybe. You have lovely photography. Just a thought. Not that you asked for thoughts. I’m sure something will strike your fancy, though. You have so much to share!

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      2. Christin, clever clogs means you are smart, think well, and are an all round bright person. Usually said by an envious person. :)
        Have actually just had an idea and am about to post about it, so stay tuned, and thanks for your suggestions, always open to ideas, as my brain tend s to get in a rut.

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  10. I post a short list of the things that I am grateful for every Sunday. I’m considering adding a second feature — it does make planning both the writing and the photography much easier.

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  11. I read a lot and sometimes I come across lines that are beautiful. I think I’ll start a weekly quotes/lines post that is in line with my blog’s theme. Any ideas for something more fun?

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    1. I think that’s a good idea, I like favorites lists. Maybe a weekly favorites? It can be as random as you want and include all kinds of things. That often allows you to branch out to different topics. Good luck!

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      1. It is! I wouldn’t even know where to start! I’m not great when it comes to taking photo’s either. I’ll have to sleep on it.

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      2. I wouldn’t worry about the quality so much as what it is that your pictures say. Photographers out there are numerous and there are many talented ones, but you may have a message in your photos that could be said more strongly with the photos themselves.. or perhaps they are just important to you and you want to share. I would go for it!

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    1. 100 drafts?! wow! I’m impressed! Usually I just have 2 or 3 drafts that I forget about but come in handy when I draw a blank near my deadline.

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      1. Oh yes I’ve got so many drafts that I have started but they are certainly not good enough for publishing. I’ve got Christmas posts, birthday posts, Anzac Day posts. You name it, I’ve got it!

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    2. It’s great that you’ve got so many potential posts ready to develop. I’m jealous!

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  12. You read my mind! I just started a feature Tipsy Tuesday last week. I was an irregular poster last month so I’m hoping posting motivational tips for musicians will keep me consistent with my blog. I also created a calendar like you suggested, which is very helpful! So far so good.

    arpeggiovixen.com

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  13. I already do a Ted Talk Thursday where I post Ted Talks that interest me. I guess I have that one checked off the list.

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  14. I love this assignment, mostly because I already had ideas on what recurring features I wanted to do.
    My site started out simply a place to post my photography photos, since I didn’t have anywhere people could look if they wanted to see them. But that changed pretty quickly and now its a photo and writing blog. I use my photos as a beginning point and write my post from there, whatever it may be. My only rule, is that is has to positive, encouraging, funny, inspiring, etc….You get the point.
    Anyways, I am currently doing a 365 photo challenge. But what I will do for this assignment is make an Artist link up. I wanted a place other artist can go and share their post and/or stories. The artist doesn’t can be anyone from any where with as little or a lot of experience. The art can be in numerous forms like for example: writing, photography, painting, crafty stuff etc. I plan on making a post to being this challenge today.
    And another challenge I will be doing, is something I call Will Travel For Fun. I want to document all the great places I go so I never forget it, like last year going to the Patriots Game and Plum Island. Tonight, I will also be adding a post about this.
    These 3 challenges are the ones I am will be working on right now, but since things change fast, who knows what my blogging adventure has in store for me.

    http://seraireland.wordpress.com/

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    1. It takes a little time to get your blog to look and function just how you want it to. Now you’ve got a goal to achieve once you’ve got the nuts and bolts sorted out.

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