As promise last week, we are continuing a series on blogging best practices. Be sure to read Part II from Megaphone Member Jon Simmons, where he discusses tips learned from his blog, Jumping From Cliffs!
Well, yes, to a point. But your readers want to get to know you, so don’t jerk them around with an aggressive political post followed by a whimsical post about your dream last night. Decide the overall theme of your blog and begin to develop your style to establish some consistency for you readers.
If you’re just starting a blog, write a handful of posts before publishing anything. Then go back and read them all with a critical eye. Consider the things you like, and the parts that sound off to you. Even better, have a friend read them. You want the posts to sound like they’re written by you, so evaluate how much of yourself comes through. Then rewrite the posts, building on the elements you liked and adjusting the problem areas. This exercise may take some time, but you’ll begin to see your personal style and voice come through much quicker once you start publishing posts.
A last important point is not to box yourself in topically. You’re a writer, perhaps publishing a book, but you don’t have to write only about author–related topics. In fact, that’s a fast way to get yourself ignored. Kristen Lamb wrote a great post about blogging for authors and a banana slicer (P.S. If you’re a writer, you must follow her blog right now. Kristen is simple excellent). She writes:
Yet, here’s the thing, writers (especially fiction writers) are CREATIVE people. We are storytellers.When we blog merely on information, we engage the left-side of the brain, but our fiction engages the RIGHT side of the brain.
Why are we trying to build a following/fan base for a right-brain product with a left-brain TOOL?
You’re a dynamic and creative person, so expand on other areas of life. A parent? I’m certain you (like Casey!) have some great stories. Like to travel? Run marathons? Are you also an artist? Write poems or short stories? Post about it!
People read blogs because there is something for them to gain. Big shocker, I know. We’re selfish beings who won’t waste time on something help us or entertain us. So keep that in mind as you plan your posts. In his e–book Gorilla Influence Formula, Tyler Tervooren suggests solving problems creatively in your posts. Sound familiar?
Start by making a list of “problems” related to your blog topic. As an author, that list could include inspiration, finding time to write, editing, cover art, publishing, marketing, social media and once you figure all that out, how to sell the darn book!
The next step is to think of personal stories that relate to those problems. Don’t have one (yet)? Find a friends or other bloggers who has worked through the problem and use them as sources for your post – be sure to link back to them! When you use other sources, think of writing the post more like a journalist: gather some resources, quote them, then expand on their points to have your own “take–a–way” for your post.
Some of these “problem” posts may take a while to research and write, but that’s ok! Better to take the time and craft a great and entertaining piece than to publish something prematurely.
Stay tuned for rest of the series, where we’ll dig into the nitty-gritty details of developing posts: images, grammar, links, and more.