Friday, August 1, 2014

So You Want to Write a Blog - Part 1

Blogging is all the rage today. It seems that everyone wants to write a blog. And although it’s relatively easy to get started, maintaining the momentum is the hard part.

All blogs are not create equal. Generally, they can be broken up into several categories—news, instructional, advice, opinion, promotional, journal, and general musings. Each has its own use.

You may want to write a news blog—not one that deals with national news but one that covers little known local news. Elena Santangelo’s “Norristown Diary,” a blog about her hometown in eastern Pennsylvania, is a good example. Not only is she covering news that slips past the mass media, she’s also learning a lot about her town as well. There’s a need for a blog like this—if nothing more than to raise awareness about local issues.

Instructional blogs like this one have their own niche. Blogging is a great way to share your expertise on a subject, especially if you’ve been successful with it. In this case, you need to be somewhat of an expert on the subject you tackle.

And then there are advice blogs dealing with personal finance and investments, health, food, travel, you name it. With this type of blog, you also need to have some expertise, otherwise your readers won’t take you seriously.

If you’re a person with lots of strong opinions, especially on trendy subjects like climate change and gun control, then you may want to share your opinions with your readers through a blog. In this case, you’ll need to do creditable research so that you can back up your opinions and not just rant and rave.

You can also promote yourself or your business through a blog. Promotional blogs can go a long way in social media marketing. Then can help establish you as an expert in your field, thus attracting customers to you. They can also promote your products and services.

Perhaps you travel and want to write a daily blog en route. In this way, you can take your readers along with you. This shouldn’t be a boring diary of where you went, what you did, and what you ate. Instead, it should be a lively look into the location and culture, and even the people you meet along the way. This type of blog is usually short lived, spanning only the length of the trip. It does, however, make you more observant because you’re constantly looking for good blog material.

Lastly, you may want to write a blog that can only be classified as a general musing. Usually, this sort of blog is intended for a small group of close friends or followers who may be interested in the comings and goings of your life. But even this type of blog needs to be planned out and organized. It should offer some insight into your life. It should not consist of just your daily ramblings. That will eventually drive even your closest friends away.

How often should you update your blog? The answer varies. Some bloggers update once a week while others do it every few days, and still others daily. Maintaining a daily blog can become a chore.  Except for news and journal blogs, most are updated weekly.

There are probably millions of blogs on the Internet. And there are millions of readers for those blogs. But matching your blog to even a handful of those readers can be a challenge. To do that successfully, you have to imagine your target audience. Your blog has to speak to them to get their attention. It has to offer something unique—something they can’t get elsewhere.

NEXT WEEK: Some tips for making your blog a success.

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