People all over the world are writing blogs. Some are making millions – others are making memories. How can you join in.
Blogs are the one of original forms of social media, but have never gone out of fashion – even if they have advanced along the way. A blog can be anything – a collection of photos from a trip, a diary-esque trackerof a period of your life, or specifically related to a product for a company – the choice is yours and the world is your oyster. But how do you start it all off? If you still need convincing – have a read of some stats about blogging that Social Media Today have put together.
1. Pick your platform
There’s so many ways to host your blog – WordPress, Wix, Foursquare, Weebly, Youtube etc – and there are many advantages and disadvantages to each one. Personally I’d recommend WordPress – it’s cost-effective to set up and there’s so many templates available that mean you can start blogging straight away.
Try not spend too long picking your platform – it’s always possible to transfer your content across at a later date to a new one, but the more time you spend deciding on a ‘look’ for your blog, the longer that potential readers and followers go without being introduced to you and your brand
2. Pick a topic
What do you want your blog to be about? Is it one topic? Or is it a series of sub topics? Have a think about how you’re going to break that topic down to keep your blog ticking along nicely over the months & years. Content is key for blogs, and if you don’t think about how you’re going to create that content then your blog might end up high and dry after a few weeks.
For example – a blog about your training for a marathon. That’s a nice easy topic – but once you’ve done a post on one training session, then the next few posts on training sessions might all be similar, and your content might look to be the same. I know this – because one of my blogs, Athlete In Disguise is about training for an ultra marathon, and whilst I only started writing it this week – I’ve already got a draft saved with a variety of topics I want to talk about: Types of training, music playlist, my inspiration, why I entered, history, throwbacks, nutrition, equipment & clothing – when you start to break a topic down into the smaller topics, you’ll surprise yourself at how much there is to be written about. If you are struggling for content – how about bringing in a ‘guest writer’, an influential or well known figure in your industry to talk about a certain topic?
Bonus tip: Have a “notes” page on your phone or tablet, that you can scribble down ideas as and when they come to you. And a notepad and pencil next to your bed at night – you never know when some inspiration might hit. I’ve been in the agonising position previously, where I’ve thought of a great topic whilst I’ve been out, and by the time I’d got home I completely forgotten what it was – I spent the evening kicking myself and staring at a blank page that I just couldn’t fill.
3. Identify your audience
Who are you writing the blog for? If it’s for a company and you’re promoting a certain product, then the audience has probably already been identified. If you’re an expert in a certain area, then you’ll be wanting to target a certain demographic.
Why’s it important? Surely everyone should be a potentialy reader for your blog? How else will you conquer the free world? Certainly thats true, and some blogs applyto a whole range of demographics – but if your using your blog to advertise and promote your product, then you’ll want to be targeting people that might want to purchase that product.
Identifying your audience will help you identify what tone you want your blog to be in. If you’ve been asked by an accountant to write a blog giving information about Tax returns, tax codes and other financial issues, then the style & tone will be much more serious and formal than a blog full of easy recipes aimed at students.
4. Use other blogs
With the amount of blogs and websites out there, it’s probably more likely that you’ll win the lottery than be writing a blog that doesn’t relate to anything else at all on the internet.
I’m not saying you copy & paste someone elses blog into your own blog – but instead, using someone elses blog as a “source” in yours. Have a look back to the second paragraph, where I signpost you (the reader) in the direction of a Social Media Today blog article? Traditional marketing experts would tell you that it’s “unwise” to do so, because it’s pointing people away from your blog. But what any smart marketing expert will tell you, is that it gives you more validity as a writer: it shows that you’ve researched your topic. Note – yes I did effectively just call myself a “smart marketing expert”, modesty isn’t always my strong point.
Bonus Tip: Once you’ve published your article – drop the blogs that you’ve used a little line to let them know you found their article inspiring/useful and included it in your piece. They’ll find it rewarding to know that their blog has had such an impact, may be tempted to share your blog to see what you referenced their blog about, and might share your blog to their followers – increasing your reach and following.
5. Be passionate
It’s easy to tell if a writer does or doesn’t believe in what their writing about. The passion leaks through in the words they choose and the style of their writing. If you can make your blog and topic something you are passionate about – then you’ll find it much easier to create content, and will see it as a hobby rather than a chore.
Wordstream back this up with a great image on the town of Dull and by reinforcing that “nothing will kill a blog post more effectively than lack of enthusiasm from the writer”.
6. Write in the Moment
If you’re writing about an event or launch, then write your blog as soon as possible after (or during) the event! You’ll remember more of the smaller details, have much more interest in writing the piece – and most of all – being the “first-mover” often reaps the highest rewards.