Yes you can blog, here’s 7 tips to get started

Yes you can start a blog.

How to get started bloggingA post a day keeps the therapist away.

You should write. Whatever it is, you want to write. You are probably an expert in something, even if it is on observing austral relations from your backyard, trust me, I follow a guy who does just that.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Every man I meet is my superior in some way.”

If we met you’d probably be my superior in mechanics of taking care of a car, staying healthy and active, handling difficult conversations, reading, managing finances to name a few.

There are plenty of blogs out there and maybe you are thinking you’d like to start one too. Great! Here are some tips I’ve picked up from others.

7 Tips to get you started in blogging

1. Think small (as in niche)

Few and far in between are blogs about everything under the sun. Focus on 3 small things that will make you more motivated to write, and to keep writing. If it’s a topic you are not confident in but are keenly studying then write some posts on it, I guarantee that there are people a lot less knowledgeable as you, and besides you are a fascinating creature with such keen and interesting insights dah-ling!

2. Figure out how much writing you can handle

I’d love to spin-off a post every hour but there are other things I’ve got to focus on. And that’s ok. Getting a good grip on how much you can write and communicating that is awesome because you are not over-promising your readers if you have any (and while we are on that, it’s ok to not have as many for a while you need to build a structure that they can wander through first).

3. Don’t look to blogging to make money

Because you’ll be disappointed. Look to blogging as a way to build an audience, but not as a way to build income, at least not immediately. It could happen, it’s not impossible, but making money usually comes with having tons of readers who either want to click on your affiliate links or actually buy something from you. Getting to that point is a slow process, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

4. Don’t get caught up in all the wrong things

I am into marketing like a lot. One of my favorite thought leaders is Seth Godin, seriously I will read or listen to anything by him. In one podcast he talks about how people want to start a business and focus on all the wrong things like getting the right logo, how many features to pack into their website, getting their paperwork for setting up a business through, figuring out the logistics of how to ship and track things and how all these things keep them from what they actually should be doing –building an audience of people actually interested their product or service. At the end of the day, it’s not really the trademark or legal paperwork that will bring in the money. Those are all problems you can solve with time, resourcefulness or money. But marketing your idea and building an audience that takes guts, time and a bit of sticking your neck out there.

When it comes to blogging, I think, don’t focus on how awesome and amazing your blog should look how many features it should have, and whether you will have a mailing list to go along side it.

Just start writing, because honestly if it’s good, with time people will pay attention. All those other thing you can tack on as time goes on. But if you wait until everything is perfect, then you’re just delaying the real work/fun.

5. Listen and respond to your audience

Be open to wherever this blogging thing will take you. Write posts that your readers show they enjoy, and write in a human way. Connecting with people in real life is awesome; if you can create that kind of spark online with your readers then you’ve got something special.

6. Be original

How are you different from other blogs?

This is hard. But really look at it as a way of setting yourself apart, what’s your thing?

Are you going to sprout off data about stuff in a field where everyone is just sprouting opinions? Are you going to have your own spin by creating colorful illustrations about your life and fashion? Are you going to run an “Ask me anything” type blog loaded with pictures and short posts on health and beauty? You don’t have to figure it out from the first post, but with time refine until you are comfortable with it. I’m still soul-searching for mine.

7. Promote

Hey it’s your content so it’s worth promoting so that other people actually you know, see it? Promote from day one. Get in the habit, build your audience slowly, and when you hit say a 100 posts go back and promote posts that your readers loved. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ways of promoting content really it’s all fun don’t take it too seriously.

Try these to get started:

  • Tweet your posts out to your audience or to people/companies you profile
  • Mention it in groups or social networks
  • Write guest posts

While we are on it, I love checking out other blogs in my spare time, so what do you write about?

Dear Blogger, It’s me your reader

Image of young child looking up-Understanding blog readers

Quick, what 3 things do your readers care about?

Sure you have blogging strategy, an elevator pitch on what you write about, and a blogging schedule to get you publishing. But can you describe who reads your blog the same way you can describe your friends?

Talking about your friends, in real life, is easy. These are the people you go through life with. In blogging, your readers and subscribers are your friends, but understanding them is often skipped in favor of just writing fresh posts.

Great friends help calm fears, address concerns, amuse or solve a problem for each other. Poor friends just ramble about things their lives, events, opinions, business, leaving the other friend unfulfilled or dissatisfied, or worse feeling like they just consumed a load of junk food.

As a writer the challenge is to write good healthy stuff, that your reader will enjoy, and cater to their sweet tooth every once in a while. That is the type of content that gets shared, because it speaks to what your reader is all about. It’s the good healthy writing that spreads.

First, understand your readers

(aka The Good Healthy Stuff)

Who are they? What do they like to read? What do they do in their spare time? What magazines, articles, blogs do they follow? What kind of work do they do?

It can be as simple as taking a closer look at who is following your blog, by looking at your subscribers, or going on Google, Quora or LinkedIn, and looking up group discussions that talk about topics or groups you write for. What do your readers care about?

The best thing you can do for your writing is to understand what motivates people to read your work, and what motivates them in general.

Blogging benefit: You’ll be able to sprout off more topics that your readers will care about or genuinely want to read because it is content that speaks to their needs, and it adds value to their lives.

Second, write for your reader’s ecosystem

(a.k.a. The Sweet Tooth)

OK, so you understand that your reader care about “a” that’s why they read about it on your blog. But what else do they care about?

In my case, I care about internet marketing, so naturally I read on topics like copywriting, blogging, social media. But the interesting part is figuring out what else I care about. Since I care about Internet Marketing, then I am slightly above the average internet user, in that I look for ways to help market stuff online, so naturally I would know about internet memes, trends, and tech gadgets. I would also, for example, have some curiosity about reading so I would enjoy new books fiction or non-fiction, and news related to the internet marketing industry, like Google’s latest search engine update.

ANother example, if you write about home decor services, then your audience would be people who want to make their homes better. My guess is the bulk of the audience would be homemakers or stay-at-home moms. These moms, might also have kids,  so enjoy planning kids activities, favor a healthy active lifestyle, look for bargain travel options for the family, and also enjoy gardening and such. So writing about topics in this ecosystem would be enjoyed by your audience.

Marketing benefit: Breaking out of the rut. There is only so many things you can talk about when it comes to one topic, but finding ways to creatively tie it in to topics your audience already cares about changes it up a little every once in a while. This can be applied to blogs, Pinterest or even tweeting with your audience.

Do you know your audience? Do you write for your audience’s eco-system?  Your writing can only improve if you know who you attract, and what that person cares about. So write the healthy stuff that leaves the reader feeling better for reading, and every once in a while spoil them with a treat for their sweet tooth.

Image credit: Flickr- LstCaress

This post is part of a series that will get published every Monday on Content Marketing or Blogging, follow me via Twitter or E-mail to receive your daily copy of helpful small business online marketing strategies.

Daisy Quaker is a freelance internet marketing consultant, specializing in social media strategy, content marketing, e-mail marketing and internet marketing strategy, find her on Twitter and tell her what strategies work for your business.

Are you loosing readers in your first 50 words?

Bird-Writing good blog leads in 50 wordsWhat do you lead your blog posts with?

I once attended a news writing class where the lecturer only cared about 2 things: what the newspapers had written about that day, and how we could start of in 50 words or less, a story about a recent event on campus.

It had to be under 50 words, and it had to spark interest.

From attending class, I quickly learned to develop a thick skin about my writing and welcome criticism.

Who cares about the bird?

News writers know a great many things about good writing. They know, for example,  the only point of the first paragraph, called the lead, is to spark interest. And the job of the first paragraphs is to lead to the second, which would explain more on the story. So only the most important human-interest aspects of the story lead their writing, and the details are painted in later.

Example: An otherwise mundane story about say a firefighter who had to rescue Mrs. Teshire’s cat, named Lucy that got stuck in a tree that had a rare Galapagos bird nesting, yesterday at 5 p.m. on Grand Avenue could lead:

“The rare Galapagos bird, one among 1000 of its species in the world, was discovered yesterday in attempts to rescue a cat that got stuck in the tree it called home, along Grand Avenue.”

This opener sparks interest by telling you, the reader that a rare bird was accidentally discovered in your town. Questions like, “Who’s cat? Why did it get stuck? Is the bird safe?” might pop into your mind after reading this lead, which means you would read on.

The writer could then paint in details about the event in a few of the next paragraphs, then switch to information or news about the bird, or the reasons why its going extinct, or any other related information.

Do your blog post leads spark interest?

News writing is all storytelling, because it explains things that have already happened. Leads in news writing aim to answer the: who, what, when, where, and why should I care, but only starting off with elements that tempt them to read more.

If you have subscribers to your blog, then sometimes the first mention of your posts is through their e-mails, if a reader clicks on a title, then the lead is what makes them decide if it’s worth reading. So what do you entice your readers with?

Wether you write to entertain, inform, or inspire, the next time you are starting a post think of the headline, then tailor the first 50 words to make your readers stick around to read the rest. Paint a scenario, and then give them solutions, give an anecdote that ties off to the story, or just start by answering the “Why should I care?” and reel them in.

The point of the headline is to get clicks; the point of the first 50 words is to get readers to read the story.


Have a better idea for the lead in the example above? in 50 words or less, post it in the comments field below!

Image credit: Flickr-phalinn

This post is part of a series that will get published every Monday on Content Marketing or Blogging, follow me via Twitter or E-mail to receive your daily copy of helpful small business online marketing strategies.

Daisy Quaker is a freelance internet marketing consultant, specializing in social media strategy, content marketing, e-mail marketing and internet marketing strategy, find her on Twitter and tell her what strategies work for your business.

6 Fresh Blogging Strategies For Time Pressed Business Owners

This post is part of a series that will get published very Monday on Content Marketing or Blogging, follow me via Twitter or E-mail to receive your daily copy of helpful small business online marketing strategies.

Fresh Blogging Strategies for Business BlogsSo your business blog started off exciting but now you’re having trouble keeping it fresh? Or you’re pressed for time and the thought of staring at an empty page does not seem all that appealing? Perhaps you just want an easier way to keep your content fresh and regularly updated to increase readership.

These strategies will take 5 minutes to wade through and 10 minutes to carry out.

1. Narrow your blog content

It might be more enticing great to cover a wide range of topics, but narrowing what you are going to cover is actually liberating. The thought of writing about anything and everything can feel intimidating, knowing what range of topics you are going to specialize in, can help you brainstorm more topics to blog about.

2. Create a blog schedule

Plan ahead of time what topics you will write about on which posts or days. Posting everyday might be the ideal but not very realistic, and having sporadic content runs the threat of loosing some regular readers.
Having a schedule on specific days and topics you cover makes you more accountable. An even better idea is to come up with ideas for headlines, write them down and then figure out which days you will blog about them.

3. Throw in some multimedia

Switching between a written post and a video can help you get a break from writing every once in a while. This also changes the tempo of your blog, and can help you and your audience get a break from just reading your content.

I’d recommend keeping it 5-10 minutes long, with more emphasis on the 5 when you are starting out. Save your 20 minute posts for later when you have built a following.

4. Review news or articles that inspire you

Giving your readers a breakdown of industry news, or articles that inspire you can help take the pressure of having to create something new every time. Put together some news on your industry or business, that you read about over the course of the week, and tell your readers how it might affect them, or why it is relevant. Incorporating this into your schedule makes for easy writing and light reading.

5. Consider crafting an “Ask …” series

Advice columns are fun. Consider turning your FAQs into short blog posts. The appeal of advice columns is that readers are already seeking answers, and writing a response is a lot easier than coming up with topics that you hope will interest your readers.

6. Delegate or Outsource

Not enough time? Consider having a team member or savvy writer help you get the ball rolling on your business blog, contact me.

Image credit: Flickr-Selva

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