Everyone has blogging tips. After 15 years, so do I. I’m even more enthusiastic about blogging now than I was in the beginning. Truth to tell, when I started out as a blogger, I had no idea what I thought I was doing.
Other writers had opinions. The popular opinion was that I was a few sandwiches short of a picnic. “Write for free?!” Shock, horror and disbelief abounded. Yes, the generally derisive attitude towards blogging in those days was disturbing, but I wasn’t defensive. So blogging was weird; so what? I adored instant publishing then, as I do now. The idea that I could write something, and garner potentially millions of readers as soon as I hit Publish, thrills me.
Here’s what I’ve learned — in five blogging tips. If you like, it’s what I wish I knew a decade and a half ago.
1. Be Yourself. You Can’t Be Anyone Else, and It’s Exhausting to Try.
You’re blogging for a reason – to promote your business, or a product, or a cause. (If you’re blogging for self-expression, you don’t need these tips. Let yourself go, and blog.)
Make a list of your goals. Most blog posts will include a Call to Action (CTA) to enable you to meet your goals. Beyond that, be yourself. The more you blog, the more traffic you will get.
Bloggers worry about how often then should blog. Mike Allton has the ultimate answer:
In order to finally answer this question, a business owner must first decide how much more traffic and leads they want. Using the data above, a business can look at what they’re getting from their website now, how much they want to improve, and quickly determine where they need to be with their blog campaign.
Blog as often as you can, and do the best you can on each blog post. Write the way you speak. Beyond that, don’t worry about it. I’ve written throw-away posts in 15 minutes which struck a nerve and got lots of responses. I’ve also slaved over blog posts which no one ever cared about – at least as far as I can tell.
2. Write Every Day. Some of That Writing Will Auto-Magically Turn Into Blog Posts.
I write every day. In my early years as a writer, I struggled with writing. Endlessly. I waited for inspiration… and waited. I waited to write books I wanted to write until I was a “better writer.” Finally, I gave up worrying about things I couldn’t control and wrote. I developed the writing habit, and a writing process which works for me, and my students.
If you say to yourself: “I’ll blog every day”, you’ll freeze. Just commit to writing something every day. Some of those snippets of writing will turn into blog posts. Use Evernote or OneNote to store your snippets. Then scan your snippets to see if they trigger anything when it’s time to write a blog post.
Create an editorial calendar, but don’t sweat it.
3. It’s Your Blog. Say What You Like (Be Kind!) Remember That You’re Responsible for Everything on Your Blog.
Some bloggers troll and write link bait. If that kind of thing appeals to you, ask yourself why. No, this isn’t a moral issue. To each his own. However, over the years I’ve come to appreciate Elwood P. Dowd’s philosophy:
Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
(If you haven’t watched the movie Harvey, go and watch it. James Stewart is wonderful in it.)
I recommend pleasant over smart, too. Be nice. You need other people, in this social media world. If you make trolling a habit, you’ll not only put off readers, you’ll alienate other bloggers.
4. Trust Yourself. If You Think It’s Important, It Is.
Trust yourself and your blogging. In 1999, I read blogs, and wanted to blog, but I couldn’t think of a reason. At the time, I was writing business books for Prentice Hall, taking care of my copywriting clients, and writing for magazines too. I was a busy writer. Why on earth would I want to take on unpaid writing?
Although I tried to talk myself out of it (others did too), I started a blog. I can’t remember what it was about. Nor do I remember the platform. Then I started a blog for a weekly ezine I wrote for creatives, Creative Small Biz. I liked it, and the ezine got subscribers via the blog. More blogging and blogs followed.
You don’t need anyone’s permission to blog, not even your own. If you’re inspired, blog. :-)
5. Be Interested. Enthusiasm Will Get You Everywhere You Want to Go.
Follow your passions. Yes, you’re blogging for a reason: to promote your business or whatever. You’ve got plenty of leeway inside your basic parameters. You can include your private life in your blog, or not, it’s up to you. As long as “cat” (irrelevant) posts don’t take over your blog, you can blog about anything you choose.
Of course, if you’re a lifestyle, or “mommy” blogger, you’ll blog about your insights with your life as your source material.
Whatever you choose to blog about, be passionate, and stay enthusiastic. Your enthusiasm will make blogging easy.
So, there you have it. My best tips after 15 years of blogging. Have fun with your blogging.
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