blogging for non-bloggers

I recently went to a writing workshop, and realized how many writers don’t blog.  Many claim to write everyday, but just can’t seem to grasp the concept of writing on the web.  The main problem?  “I don’t know what to write about.”

So, I figured that I would share some of the things I was telling my fellow writers to do.

#1 Write about what you know

This can be ANYTHING!  Whether you consider yourself a wordsmith or not, if you know what you are talking about–it doesn’t matter.  Just talk about it like you were telling an acquaintance what you do for a job/hobby/school.  That’s the beauty of the blog–it’s not about academia.  It’s about knowing something because you are actually doing (or learning how to do) it!

#2  Break it down

Break up what you are talking about into sections, so that you can write it down in about 500 words or less.  The other great thing about the blog is that it’s short and to-the-point.  People are used to logging in and reading short status updates or quickly skimming the headlines to figure out what is happening in their closest friends’ lives or the nation.  Keeping things short will make sure that your audience is getting the most amount of information, in the shortest period of time.  Plus, this will give you something to write about in your next entry and keep your audience coming back.

#3 Embrace multi-media

Pictures speak a thousand words, and a good video can make all the difference.  This is especially useful if you are doing a “How-to” blog.  Breaking up big chunks of writing with a great picture of you doing what you are talking about is a great way to keep a reader interested.  If there are heavy instructions, sometimes its best to add a video so it doesn’t seem so intimidating.  This is also great if you post pictures/videos of yourself.  People love to feel like they know the person they are taking advice from.  It builds loyalty and trust.  If you don’t have your own photos, it is totally acceptable to add one you found on Google.  Most blogging sites will allow you to post pictures and videos for free, or for a small fee.

#4 Share the blog with your friends

The days of getting people to sign up for newsletters are over.  Don’t get me wrong, you can and still want to get subscribers, but now you can let people know about your blog by posting it on your favourite social network site.  Blogs like WordPress allow for automatic posting on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  That way, all you have to do is hit a button and all your friends and followers know they are welcome to take a gander at your latest blog entry.

#5 Keep it up!

This is by far the most difficult thing for me–posting consistently.  But this is how you will truly gain and keep your readers.  Most experts suggest that once a week is a good rate, but if you are just starting out, you can try for once a month.  The best thing to do, is to actually plan ahead.  Write down interesting ideas before you start on your first post.   So for instance, if you are blogging about photography, week one can be on choosing equipment, and the next could be aperture, then shutter speed, lighting etc. etc.  By planning it out, you won’t run into repeating yourself by accidentally talking about too many things in one post.
I hope this helps you get started on your first blog.

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