Many suggest to write well (blog or otherwise) you must read (a lot). However, for me reading a lot of blogs can have the opposite effect since we all know you can’t write while you’re reading. Plus I get jealous when I read something really well-written – the old, I wish I wrote that lament. Or if I read a realllly good piece I have what I call the “I’ll never be Hemingway” syndrome, where the writing is just so good and so tight that I feel defeated by it.
There are plenty of posts on how to have a successful blog. How to build an audience. How to build a community so engaged they’ll be writing your name on the next presidential ballot. And you’ll get there but what if you’re afraid to even start blogging. How do you get past your insecurities and become the blogger of your dreams?
Ignorance is Bliss. Being a successful blogger is about letting go in some ways. You can’t think about what others are achieving; the audiences they are drawing in. You have to focus on you and your goals. (Make them measurable and attainable. Focus on small steps leading you to the accomplishment of the larger goal. You know the drill.) Read others’ work, note what you like and what you don’t, but keep your eyes on your goals and measure against those not how fast it took someone else to do what you want to do. We all move at our own pace and so does our audience.
Off-topic?? What topic? While you don’t want to meander around the desert of crazy topics forever, and finding a niche can make you more successful and more of an authority in your area, you shouldn’t be afraid to write what moves you at the time, even if it’s slightly off topic. Posts such as these are likely to be some of your most authentic (and effortless) pieces. They provide a deeper insight into what makes you unique. But one point of caution, don’t be off-topic so frequently that your audience has no idea what you write about. You want people to return and they’ll do so for either interesting writing or content. Do your best to give them both.
Recycling, it’s what everyone’s doing. Before you start getting discouraged over blogs that seem to go nowhere — you begin writing and they just fall flat – know that you don’t have to publish every blog post you write. Some will become practice for your opus post. But practice doesn’t equal compost. Don’t kill them with an itchy delete button, trigger finger. With the ability to repurpose and edit, you can work on the rough ones later or pull out 140 characters worth of fabulousness and use it in your micro-blog feed.
Picture little Charlie Bucket. One of my favorite movies — Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — revolves around a look into a (previously unseen) candy factory and the extraordinary things that happen behind closed doors. The scene where the children await their chance to come inside is delightful. The anticipation on (most) of their faces, endearing. When writing your blog, picture excited faces pressing up against your virtual doors, waiting to get a glimpse inside of your organization. Make them feel like they know you and the culture you represent. If done well, your blog can help with recruiting (be it members or employees.)
Pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Here’s the pep talk your mom or dad would give you. Some blog posts will fizzle and some will sizzle. If you can tell your hits from your duds before hitting submit, you are smarter than I am. Your audience will tell you (and surprise you, on occasion). And although we all love comments and the ego boost frequently associated with them, know that sometimes people are reading and digesting and enjoying — silently. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not immediately invited to see Ellen or Oprah. Just keep working on your blog and providing the best (meaning value-add, not rose-colored fiction) information representing your organization and its mission.
Blogging is not a final essay test for high school English. Your concerns over writing ability should not hold your organization back from connecting through this medium. Sit down and let the ideas flow. If you’re passionate about your organization it’s not hard to pass that passion along through words.
What tips can you think of to help people embrace blogging? Let’s get a list going of blog basics and recommendations.