So you want to create your own blog? Congratulations! You are now one step closer to joining the 152 million or more other people, companies, startups, and family pets that already have one. [Source]
Needless to say that based on the sure volume of content that is being generated on a daily basis, that many blogs go unnoticed and eventually wither away. So my question for you is, what do you want to get out of creating a blog?
If it is to identify yourself as someone knowledgeable about a subject, share your thoughts or opinions on potentially anything, generate original stories, discuss business practices, or maybe to start your career in an adult industry (thank you not to be named, student), then creating a blog may very well be something worthy of your time.
Before you choose a topic to write about though, you need to face the facts and understand that the likelihood that you will obtain a great deal of Web traffic, sponsorships or PR companies sending you free stuff to review within the first few months will not happen. When you select a topic it must be for you (unless it is for a company, and that is a slightly different matter), something that you are truly interested in and can devote a set amount of time each week, if not several times a week to work on.
Selecting a Topic
Do you like cats? Simple, write about cats. Are you an advocate for including bacon in every meal? Bam! Write about. Are you looking for a job in marketing, software development, or twirling signs? Write about it.
Because you already know what you want to get from your blog, you can now easily select a topic because you have thought through it and know you can devote time to the topic. It is as simple as that, sort of.
Your Blog Topic, Sort Of
Selecting a topic is actually quite simple; however, as we had mentioned prior you are among 152 million + other blogs, and there are likely to be other people writing about the same topic as you. So is this going to be an issue? Potentially, but it depends on the community. The topic you write about now places you in a community whether you like it or not. Food bloggers are considered foodies, social media bloggers are often called gurus (sorry, I meant full of shit), and of course game blogs are run by gamers.
Some blogger types are awesome at supporting one another, while others will make a point to comment on your site, trash you for no reason – sort of similar to a troll, but mostly based on jealousy – and on the rare occasion even write slightly cryptic blog posts trashing yours. Why yes, there are immature people on the Web.
Do not let this get in your way of befriending the competition though. Even if you are just blogging to blog, there are groups of other like minded individuals that you would do well connecting with. For those of you socially awkward people this is even easier, because all you need to do is go to their blog and post a positive comment about their thoughts. In some cases you can link back in these comments as well, but make sure that it does not come off as spam or others are doing it. Some comment systems also allow you to hyperlink your name to allow others to come back to your site.
Quite simply, if you are going to be looking for a job in marketing, write about it. Find some other bloggers that are writing about marketing – it is better if they appear to be well established, have engagement on their content, and engaged with people on social networks – and comment on their posts.
When The Realistic Nutritionist started out as a wedding blogger she found a community of wedding bloggers who ended up sharing her posts, commenting back and forth, and eventually lead to some future connections that has led her to a career as a professional blogger. Just try to keep in mind that burning bridges, even on the Web, is not ideal for the future.
What sets you apart from the competition is your personality, and of course your writing style plays a major role as well. For example, because this is a recap blog post about creating a blog, and is taught through a reddit based community; I’m using a bit stronger language than I usually would, and hitting important keywords such as cats and bacon (which coincidentally is not just writing to your audience, but organic SEO that Google loves). Either that or it is my real personality and would prefer professional connections to continue thinking I actually wear ties.
Make Your Topic Your Bitch
Your personality is what brings people back to read your blog. If you have found a community of people who like what you have to say on their posts, they may very well come back to see what you have said on your own site. This also goes for being personable on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc..
You can’t just write about a topic, you must make it your bitch. If you are going to devote time to a topic, do not just cover the nuts and bolts that make something work. Provide your personal insight, views, and experience about why the nuts and bolts make the topic work.
Example, Timeline has just been released to at least all North American Facebook users and that means people will be searching on Google for what it means to their business and privacy. While you could state Facebook replaced feature A with feature B, what people will continue reading your insight for is how these replacements or changes will affect them.
Do not worry if others have differing views, that is what their blog or your comment section is for. The more unique your views and thoughts are on a topic, the greater the chances that someone will want to ask for more details from you. That said, don’t unleash the entire zoo at the same time. Give readers a hook at the end and encourage them to ask questions or for clarifications.
Creating an Editorial Calendar and Sticking With It
Editorial calendars, make one as soon as you create your blog if not before. One of the faulty issues that come with blogging is that most writers are terribly inconsistent. With inconsistency comes a lack of readership, and the potential to allow your blog to wither away and die. As much as we would love everyone to add our blogs to RSS readers we simply can’t rely on it.
Use something like Google Calendar and create two weekly hour long sessions that run through the end of time. It doesn’t matter at what time or what days you pick, just make sure it is time that you can devote to either finding new topics to write about or creating a new blog post.
Once you get into a groove of writing during your designated times you will also be able to set an expectation for when your new posts will be published, and readers will know to return on those days. Hell, you can even say somewhere on your blog or at the end of your posts what days you post on. Either way pick your days and stick with it. Sporadic blogging is ok, but it is much easier to build up an audience when they know you are coming.
Session 2 – Wednesday, April 18 at 4 p.m. EST
In session two of the blogging 101 course we will cover a few of the more popular blogging content management systems (CMS), and when in particular you should look into getting your own domain. I like to think of myself as a cheap ass blogger, and would be happy to bestow upon you my cheapassery while still looking professional.
Still trying to figure out that perfect blog topic? Ask a question in the comments and I will provide some feedback.