4 Steps to Get You Started with Blogging
I started blogging a few months ago and one of the biggest challenges I've faced is being consistent. Sometimes I wake up with a great idea in mind for a post and immediately write it up for later edit. And other times I simply wake up straight to my daily work both at my job and school and slowly forget that I have a blog. That's why I've set up a plan to get to it on a consistent way and one which will help you too if you're in the same boat as me. Here we go.
1. Have a writing style.
In writing for a blog, I've realized that having a style is critical. You have an audience to engage and therefore should invest some time in thinking how you interact with your readers. If you follow other blogs, you'll realize that bloggers write informally and as if they were having a conversation with someone. I used to think that writing for a blog would be like writing a paper for a college class, not the case at all. Having a style will help you identify your best skills at doing it and will therefore become a more engaging activity for yourself; thus helping you invest time in your blog more often.
2. Have a schedule
At the beginning, I used to write every time I had a great idea to write about, at random days. Creating a schedule will help you dedicate a set amount of time per week and build up your content creation strategy. I now, for instance, spend 20 to 30 minutes each day reading and browsing through my twitter feed only to see what topics of interest are being talked about. Then, I quickly jot down notes for myself for ideas for posts which I get back to over the weekend where I sit down, edit, proofread, and publish. Be warned, though, having a set amount of time per week will not magically bring all the content to your head. You also have to factor in ways to curate your content of choice. To do so, while you brainstorm ideas for posts, you can use things like Evernote or Google Drive. I enjoy using my "Notes" app on my iPhone because it syncs with my home computer, I pull up the notes I write while on the train at the comfort of my desk at home.
3. Strategize your sharing structure
It used to be a tedious process once I had a post ready to actually share it. This is a crucial stage in your blogging process because you don't simply want to throw your post to a world of tweets or Facebook posts. What you need is to carefully think what is the time in which your audience hangs out in the social media world, this way you're more likely to connect with them. There are tons of services that suggest times to post and how to do it like Twitonomy or Tweriod. Then once you're ready to share your content, you can use things like TweetDeck to schedule posts. I personally prefer Buffer. With this service, you set up a post that can be shared to multiple platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and others (there are more features with the Pro account but I'm just fine with the free version) and shares it at specific time of your choosing. Yet it not only does that, it also shows you analytics of your links shared so that you track the topics that were more relevant to your audience. Be a smart author and share your content with purpose. This means that when doing so, you offer your opinion and a reason why you're sharing a link. That's part of building your personal brand and building up your authority on the web (note the word author is embedded right there).
4. Writing a blog does not mean "write only"
I have come to learn this on the go. I used to share links with titles only and then slowly moved on to sharing an idea rather than the title itself. Yet, everything is visual. People are attracted to images, memes, GIFs, and other cues that catch their attention. Always make your content more dynamic by adding videos, graphs, or simply images not only on the post but also on the tweets or posts to Linked or Facebook. In the Twitter app for iPhone when composing a tweet, the first thing that pops up is the set of images to insert. Images rule.
I am confident these four tips will get you on the way to being a great blogger. Of course there are many more tips and reasons behind blogging; whether you're doing this for fun, for work, or for making money, these tips will boost your blogging skills. Have a blog to share? Are you starting out? Leave your comments below.
I am an ePortfolio instructor working in New York City. I am also a student in the MA program in educational psychology at Hunter College. In my current position, I instruct students how to develop and build their ePortfolio to showcase their academic skills. I also collaborate in professional development seminars with faculty members from various departments on building the curriculum to teach the first year seminar experience. Read more about me.