- Use a good title. Without getting technical, good titles are valuable because they have the power to engage readers, drawing them into the blog post. The title also helps search engine spiders categorise the post for search enquiries.
- Plan content. Once you get a few blog posts under your belt you’ll find keyboard block, that descends when you start to type, diminishes. However, there’s nothing wrong with jotting a few headers down on a piece of paper before you start.
- Have confidence. Don’t be afraid to express an opinion that’s original, so long as it’s not offensive to anyone. There are too many blogs that are fairly boring, in my opinion, because they don’t step out of line with what everyone else is writing about on the subject. If your blog is ‘standalone’ it’s easier to express a point of view that might raise a few eyebrows, rather than if your blog is integrated within your company website. But there are ways and ways.
- Be different. Think about varying the way you communicate. How about setting your blog post as a Question and Answer session, inviting opinions from others on a topic? Consider making an audio or video post, even featuring a YouTube video can help ring the changes. Keeping your content fresh by varying the way it’s presented keeps your audience engaged, can help you learn new skills and actually be quite fun too.
- Use humour, when it’s helpful to do so. It all helps to make you more human to your readers.
- Add images. This is something I see written about a lot at the moment. The truth is you don’t have to add images, but we’re all very image orientated these days. Images help with engagement, so try to find something suitable. . Be mindful of copyright issues before using any photo/image that isn’t owned by you. If you don’t have anything suitable, try one of the sites that offer free downloads (with some restrictions). Try Stock.xchng for example.
- Read and revise. Once you’ve written your blog post, however short, it’s a good idea to go away and have a cup of coffee, take the dog for a walk, whatever. Then re-read your post again. You’ll often see a better way to express what you’re trying to say. As a rule of thumb, try not to ramble or you’ll risk losing the attention of your reader. (stick with it folks, we’re nearly at the end)!
- Check spelling and grammar. I would think most, if not all, blogging platforms have a spell check facility. People judge you on the way you speak and the same can be said for the written word. Mistakes do happen, so don’t beat yourself up about spotting an error after publication. You’re not at school now!
- Don’t be scared to push that ‘publish’ button. This is a common fear amongst many new to blogging. What’s the worst that can happen? The odd spelling mistake? We all do that. After publication you’ll undoubtedly read your post and think you could have done better. Most of us do that one too. Just ‘do it’ and move on.
- Tell people. All those who have subscribed to your blog will receive notification of a new post, through the wonders of rss (really simple syndication). Use your Twitter/Facebook?Google+/LinkedIn channels to announce your new post. If they like what they read they’ll tell others. That’s what it’s all about – spreading the word. (Try it out by pressing the share button at the bottom of this post.)
Practice makes perfect. I’m not, but I keep trying. That’s the nature of the beast and it can really stimulate a creative flow. Bet you never knew you had one?
If you’re wanting to start blogging there are two workshops running soon. Thursday 16th February in Corby and Thursday 8th March in Northampton. Visit the Events page for more details.