You know what I LOVE so much right now? The cool, cloudy fall-like weather that we've been having lately in Kansas City! I mean ... I AM SO IN THE MOOD FOR FALL!!! Although ... I know that this glorious weather is all just one big tease- it'll be back up into the 90's by Sunday.
Anyway, that mini rant has absolutely nothing to do with today's post because today we're actually gonna talk about 6 tips that you can use to create epic blog features! Woo hoo!
If you're wondering what exactly a blog feature is, a "feature" is a reoccurring (but different) series of blog posts. For example, one of my favorite blogs (A Beautiful Mess), does a 'Sister Style' feature which I really enjoy! They also have an 'At Home With' feature where they share the lovely homes of readers for decor inspiration.
Having a good feature (or 2 or 3), is awesome for a few reasons. Are you curious to know what those reasons are?
Well, I'm not telling.
JUST KIDDING! (I'm feeling feisty today, sorry!) Having features is a great idea because:
1. They will offer you structure which is really helpful when you're feeling particularly uninspired or going through a period of growth.
You know those days where you just have NO CLUE what the sam hill you want to blog about? Well, features give you something to fall back on!
2. Regular features give your readers something to look forward to in addition to that comforting feeling of stability.
It's natural for your blog to grow and change over time, but having a really solid feature will give your readers something to expect during a time where there might be a lot of change going on.
3. Features are fun!
Let's face it, a really good feature is just plain fun! There are so many creative ideas that you can think of for features. Go nuts!
Alright are you feeling inspired to create your own totally awesome, mind-blowing blog feature?! Good. Here's 6 tips for coming up with fabulous blog features:
1. Come up with feature ideas that excite YOU.
Remember, a feature is something that you're going to be creating on the regular, so don't try to do an idea that you're not super pumped about! Because creating something on the regular that you're just feeling "so so" about would be really draining and sad. I know that it might be tempting to look around at what all the other cool bloggers are doing and try to put your own spin on something, (and that's totally fine!) but be honest with yourself first: make sure that it's something you truly LOVE.
If you're super pee-your-pants excited about doing a particular feature, chances are your readers will be too! And if you feel kinda "blah" about it ... chances are your readers will too.
2. Check to see if anyone has already started the feature.
So you've come up with an idea for a feature that gets you really excited? Excellent! But before you commit, (especially to a particular feature name), Google around a bit to see if anyone else is currently doing the same feature. IF some one already IS doing a similar feature with the same name, consider putting your own spin on it by giving it a completely different name! And if you're using some one's feature idea, you might also consider earning yourself some major blogger etiquette points by crediting them first.
3. Ask if your feature idea has staying power.
Do you love trends? Me too!!! (Okay I'll be honest, I love SOME trends. Other trends I cannot STAND.) Be careful about basing your feature idea off a current trend because you don't want it to feel stale and outdated in 3 - 6 months! Kind of like a blueberry bagel that's been left in the bag past it's expiration date so that when you go to eat it, it's just stale and hard and SAD. (That's a true story!) I'm not saying that trends are bad, just make sure that you actually LOVE the trend first and that you give it room to grow and evolve over time. Which leads me to ...
4. Think about how it might evolve over time.
Don't create a feature that's going to tie you down and put limits on your creativity. That would be awfully sad! You're likely going to change as a person over time, and if you're being true to yourself, your blog will too. And that's a good thing! Before you start a feature, take a few moments to consider how you might be able to evolve your concept over time. Your feature should encourage growth and positive change, yo.
5. Don't announce it too soon!
Oh jeez, have I made THIS mistake before. DOH! I know that when you come up with a fabulous feature idea you're gonna want to shout it from the mountain tops to all of your readers because you're just SO EXCITED!!!! But resist the urge. Why? Because you won't know if it's truly a good fit for you until you do it a couple of times.
For example ... a year or two ago I announced (before I had written a single post) that I was starting a new "cocktail hour" feature where I would be sharing fun cocktail recipes on the regular. I mean ... I was just SO EXCITED! So I made the announcement on my blog and then ... crickets. It took months for me to actually write a single "cocktail hour" post and then after I wrote just 1 or 2 of them I decided that it really wasn't a great fit after all. So I stopped. Whoops! So don't announce your feature first, just start doing it.
Take a little time to see how your readers like it and how YOU like creating it. And if you've done a few posts and really enjoy the fit? Great!!! Proudly (and excitedly) announce that you will be posting that feature from time to time.
6. Realize that it's okay to retire old features if you no longer enjoy doing them.
Remember how I mentioned that people change over time? Well, some times you might outgrow a feature idea, and that's okay! Or maybe you're no longer inspired by it and the idea just doesn't excite you anymore. You don't want your feature to be like one of those television shows that was awesome for the first 4 seasons but then continued on past when it should have ended for another 5 seasons and ended up lackluster and just totally BLAH. :::cough cough 'SUPERNATURAL' cough cough:::
Man, all this feature talk has got my appetite revved up to a fever pitch! Time for FOOD!