Did you know that 77% of Internet users read blogs?
It suggests a HUGE captive audience waiting for the right blog to come along.
Blogs allow you to share your expertise with people, audiences, and the industry. You can create a following, engage audiences, and grow your market with the right blog. But many people are afraid to start a blog. Why?
Many people think they can’t write and let tell me you one thing- IT DOESN’T MATTER. You don’t need to be an excellent writer to start a blog. You just need to be committed and motivated. Below, I have outlined the path to starting an amazing blog and writing your way to success.
Why do you want to start a blog?
So, why do you want to start a blog?
- Do you want to start a blog to gain some income or experience? Blogging can replace a full-time job and income but it takes a lot of time and patience to reach that path. Several bloggers tend to give up within the first year or forget to update content consistently. If you are choosing blogging as a means of earning money then you need to give it the effort and time it needs.
- Do you want to blog because you want to share your knowledge with others? For business owners or entrepreneurs, a blog can be a good way to navigate business and traffic. 70% of consumers would rather learn about the company from a blog than an advertorial. Product reviews, affiliate marketing, and blogs about products are the best way to convert leads for businesses. Your blog can
- Do you want to start a blog to improve your writing or express yourself? Many people also use blogs as online journals and use it to gain writing experience. As a writer and media student, I started blogging in 2008 to share poems, articles, essays, fiction pieces, and short stories. This created an online portfolio that I could share with employers and clients for future writing projects. It also gave me a chance to practice and hone my communication skills.
The reasons behind starting a blog will be important because they will decide your plan, your content creation strategy, your writing style, and your publishing frequency. Many bloggers give up blogging after the initial motivation and excitement fades away. This is okay if you are doing it for personal reasons but as a professional blog, that can backfire and lose your customer base or audiences.
The next step to figure is the type of blog you wish to create and have.
TYPE OF BLOG
Is your blog personal or professional?
Personal blogs include journal like entries, more observations, posts of a varied nature, and could include poems, videos, short stories, and anecdotes. Personal blogs could also be about fashion or beauty which would make them photo-heavy. Some super successful personal blogs include The Blonde Salad, The Sartorialist, The Broke Generation, etc.
Professional blogs are industry specific and contain product reviews, news, trends, ideas, techniques, interviews, collaborations, videos, and how-to guides. These involve research, study, and facts backing them. Fashion influencers may have moved to Instagram but they still retain their blogs to share long form content or their portfolio. Professional blogs are also a neat way of creating your online resume, displaying academic information, and achievements.
Some blogs could be a mix of personal and professional, having a little bit of each aspects of your life.
Lock down the type of blog so you can get down to the planning and designing part of Blogging.
CONTENT CREATION CALENDAR
Once your type is decided, we can move on to the PLANNING. Having a content creation calendar can simplify so much for you. And it saves you from not having content or blogs ready for the days you need a break.
Do you think bloggers or influencers with thousands and millions of followers just post as they feel or when they can? NO! They strategize, plan, and create a complete content proposal so they are prepared and able to provide readers with what they need.
A Content Creation Calendar sounds complicated and intensive but its really not. You can use Excel, Microsoft Word, or online templates to create a calendar of your posts, social media, and other related information. Having a spreadsheet available to you can allow you to view your strategy with just one click. Doing all this before you PUBLISH your blog or LAUNCH your site can put you ahead of others who randomly create content. Here are some sample content creation templates which you can download for your own use.
Blogging is about writing. And writing a lot. Sadly, you can’t escape that. Professionals struggle with understanding that the writing in blogs is completely DIFFERENT than script writing, copy writing, content writing, fiction, or journalism. There are some similarities between creative writing and blogging such as creating a narrative, writing a story, and engaging your audiences.
Your first BLOG post doesn’t need to be a Shakespearean effort. Using simple words, explain the reader what your blog is going to do do, why they should be following your blog, and what you can do for them. Or you can start off with a Basic Guide like I have to demonstrate what exactly you are offering for the readers and consumers.
WRITE AS YOU SPEAK. Write simply. Use contextual words, daily jargon and don’t complicate the material. Unless your blog is about grammar, NOBODY CARES about using heavy or flowery language.
YOUR AUDIENCE will determine your writing style. Is your target audience sophisticated enough to understand what you are saying? When you write about using a certain software for SEO, you have to assume that the reader will be familiar with basic concepts of SEO. If your post is targeted towards COMPLETE BEGINNERS, then explain basic concepts, introduce acronyms or titles, and then link to further posts expanding on the topic. Your writing should take the audience on a journey where they learn something new.
BE HONEST with your audiences, your reviews, and your writing. For product reviewers or bloggers who write movie/book reviews, it is fair that they may criticize the product at a certain point. Try to give constructive criticism. It can be easy to get carried away if the movie or book doesn’t impress you. However many reviewers tend to get personal or abusive while writing reviews. If that is your brand, like Perez Hilton then go for it. Just remember that your tone will set your brand and your blog apart. If you become recognized as the brutal reviewer, that becomes your signature.
JUST START WRITING. There is no code, no trick, or technique that can get you to write. You just have to let the words flow out. And always have a backup of your blog on a hard drive or your computer for further references or edits.
If you feel that you are facing a writer’s block, then are several things you can try. Click on this link to find out life-saving techniques that can break your writer’s block in no time.
Linking your blog to your social media is just good sense.
Many academics have used Twitter to create a community of similar minds and research areas. This indicates a shrewd use of social media to increase your audience and followers. For example, if your blog is about gender equality/human rights, follow academics, researchers and student sharing the same interests. When they tweet something, start a conversation. In the conversation, you can mention something like ‘I agree with your views. Did you read my blog about XYZ and their opinion on this issue?’ You can link your blog, create a conversation and add value without being blatant.
Other smart uses of social media to promote your blog include cashing on timely marketing campaigns. Fashion Bloggers do timely promotional activities or holiday related campaigns by using social media. So during Christmas or Halloween you can write blogs related to those topics. Suppose you have a lifestyle blog, then you can discuss decorating ideas, DIY gifts and recipes for Christmas.
Social media can be a brilliant tool if you know how to wield it. You can find several blog topics and social media strategies coming up on the website later.
This concludes Part 1 of Blogging 101- How to Start a Blog. In part 2, which we delve deeper into updating a blog, researching ideas, maintaining, and sustaining a blog. We will also look at how to make money from your blog. If you want to learn more about writing or creative writing, subscribe to my newsletter for some insider tips and information.