Day 4… Today my mentor, John Thornhill, talks through how to write a first detailed blog post. He shares a lot of insight and guidance on what and how to engage with audiences through what we write on our blog. All blogs have to start somewhere, so make sure your first impression on the blogosphere is a good one! Here are some tips that I learned from John and reading the “Bloggers Roadmap”, by Dan Sumner.
Like any new situation, it is important to introduce yourself and give people a chance to get to know you. In your first blog post, tell your readers who you are, what your blog is about and why you are blogging. Even a short introductory paragraph can be enough to give your readers an idea of what they can expect. Also, don’t forget to include relevant keywords in the title, like “First post” or “Welcome”, so your readers will know right away where they’ve landed. Making the decision to start a blog is easy. Thinking up new and original topics for blog posts on a regular basis is much harder. A great way to get into the blog writing zone is by reading other blogs. That way, you’ll discover what content is already out there, and you can work on refining a new angle or perspective that makes your blog original and worth reading.
One of the hardest parts of writing a blog is learning to find your voice. Your identity and personality should shine through in your writing. It’s what makes your blog unique. The voice you create will depend on the purpose of your blog, and the target audience. If your blog is professionally focused, then your tone will naturally be more formal. If you are writing a personal blog, you can give yourself more leeway in what is appropriate. Get to know your core audience. Then you can hone your voice so that it really speaks to them. Understanding your audience will also help you find new topics that will interest them.
A poorly written post, or one that is riddled with grammar mistakes, just looks unprofessional and is a big turn-off for readers. Even if you’ve gone over your draft and it looks perfect, you should proofread once more as soon as the post is live, to make sure that no formatting errors occurred during uploading. Here’s another common trick used by bloggers and writers: before hitting “Publish”, take a break for a few hours or even till the next day. Then come back to the draft with fresh eyes before making the final edits and going live.
Your blog shouldn’t be a one-way street. Truly engage with your readers by facilitating dialog. Make sure to include a comments section, give readers the option to subscribe to your blog, and pose questions to readers to encourage their feedback. Respond to feedback whenever appropriate or necessary, even if the feedback is negative. Show your readers that you welcome and appreciate their comments – after all, they are your guests, your audience and your inspiration, all rolled into one. The stronger your relationship with your readers, the stronger your blog will be. When creating your first blog entry, take a deep breath and take your time. Particularly at the beginning, when you are new to blogging, you’ll need to devote significant time to make sure your content is truly click-worthy. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you will probably be able to speed up the process.