So you’re thinking about blogging. Presumably, you’re passionate about something. Excellent. Now you want to share it with the world. Also excellent. A doubt may come to your mind—do I have the writing chops for a blog? Will anyone want to read what I have to say? Thankfully, you don’t need to be a professional writer to start a blog. To give yourself the best chances for a strong readership, use the following tips as your pre-blogging guide.
1 Write Your Strategy Statement
What’s the purpose of your blog? Develop a strategy to guide the way you’ll write about your topic. Use the following strategy statement to get started:
Under the topic(s) of [overarching topic(s) of your blog] I blog about [subtopics] in a [type of voice and style—conservative, straightforward, humorous] manner in order to [entertain, amuse, inspire, anger, debate with, educate] my readers, who are [the people you’re targeting].
2 Write Often
Get in the habit of writing every day. This sounds challenging, but it’s not as difficult as you’d think. Use Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain” method. For each day that you write, you cross the day off on a calendar with a red marker. Your only job is to not break the chain. You’ll eventually have a long chain of red Xs, proving your commitment to the habit; the longer the chain gets, the more motivation you have to keep it going. This helps new bloggers who struggle with developing content. Your readers expect you to show up and blog, but you may balk when it’s time to think of something to write about. As long as you’re writing every day, you’ll have content.
3 Learn to Write Great Headlines
Headlines are your first, and sometimes only, opportunity to catch your readers’ attention. They’re worth investing time and energy in, because otherwise you may lose your readers before they get to the first paragraph. The key to writing great headlines is to make the benefit of reading the post clear. The benefit might be learning, laughing, discovering, being surprised, or becoming smarter/better/faster/stronger. Here are a couple of types of headlines you can write:
Headlines for Listicles
Listicles, which are articles in the form of a numbered list (like this one), have been a popular blog post format for some time. They signal to the reader that the information is concise and organized in an easy-to-read format. Humans are drawn to digits beside text. Listicle headlines typically read:
- [#] Types of _____
- [#] Most Popular Ways to _____
- [#] Foolproof _____ Tips for _____
- [#] Smart Strategies to _____
Do Not Read This Section
Are you still reading? It may be because, as some research shows, negative headlines and wording attract readers. By using an alternative message and wording, you can attract attention by letting the reader know you’re a real person and have something different to say. Readers like authenticity. Some examples of negative headlines:
- What No One Tells You About _____
- Strategies You Didn’t Learn for _____
- Wrong Ways to _____
4 Create a Post Calendar
Some bloggers post too frequently for readers to catch up, while others post too infrequently and lose readers seeking new content. A happy middle ground exists; to find yours, create a post calendar. Ask yourself: How many minutes each day or each week can I dedicate to blogging? How often do I want to provide new information? How often do my readers check the blog? What list of topics do I want to write about? Then, create a calendar so you can keep yourself accountable for posting.
5 Write with Passion
You’ll attract readers if you can express your passion and expertise in a way that’s engaging and exciting. If writing for your blog feels like a chore, remind yourself why you’re doing it by revisiting your strategy statement and reflecting on what you want to achieve. Write with emotion and share your opinion if the post calls for it.
You don’t need to be the best writer to start a blog and develop a following; readers want to know your expertise, personality, and passion. Use the five tips above to give yourself a strong start in blogging and enjoy how rewarding it can be.