I’ve been blogging for almost five weeks. So what have I learned? Well, I’ve been thinking about that for the past few days. The list, not surprisingly, is rather long.
Sure, I had watched many blogs over the last year, learning what I could from the links in my feed reader. That education certainly helped me hit the ground running when I finally launched my blog. But it wasn’t until I was actually writing posts, commenting and building relationships that I really began to grok what blogging is all about.
Nowhere have I learned more about blogging than in how I write my posts.
I knew from my marketing background that writing should be interesting. It should speak directly to my target audience, engaging them in what they want to know. I knew that the best writing would add real value to my audience’s life by helping them solve a problem they face. And I knew that the most effective writing establishes me as an expert in my niche.
I’ve found each of these principles still hold true in blogging. Yet blogging has offered me a chance to refine my writing even more. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- It’s all about the conversation. For me, blogging has been about connecting people and creating conversation. It’s offered me a way to create relationships and community with people who are interested in what I’m interested in. I try to always consider that when I write; keeping it about a conversation and not a monologue or lecture. I feel my best writing makes you feel like we’re sitting in a room together talking.
- Be an expert. I’ve already said this above. But I even truer in the blogosphere. I know a lot about web development, marketing and creating successful businesses through the web. I’ve had to learn to stand more firmly in that and write about what I know. Someone may know more, sure. And that’s all right. I’m still the expert in what I know.
- Be willing to learn. I’m an expert in what I know. Yet, I don’t know everything. I know what I know and don’t know what I don’t know. So I try to take every opportunity to learn. If I see/hear/read something that I don’t know, I give myself time to evaluate it and if it holds water for me, I integrate it into my knowledge base and my writing.
- Voice your opinion. Bloggers move toward conversation and I’ve learned that conversation becomes quite boring without opinion. My first blog posts had me more reporting, making suggestions – not taking a stand. I quickly learned the benefits of voicing what I think, from my expertise. I find I’m more engaged with my readers. And I’ve watched my readership increase ever since.
- Stay informal. I have to remember that blogging is a conversation. I need to write the way I speak – as though I’m speaking directly to you. One way to do this, I’ve learned, is to stay informal. But more than informal – just be myself, not just a professional in a niche market, but a person communcating to and with other people.
- Stretch yourself. It’s so easy to stay inside my comfort zone and just play it safe. This means just write about and express what I’m really certain about. But that hasn’t been working for me. I’ve needed to stretch myself beyond what is comfortable by taking stands and sharing opinions on things that I’m a little less sure of. After all, I always have something to learn – see #3.
- Link away. I had to throw this one in here because it goes against almost everything that’s taught about marketing outside the blogosphere. I’m supposed to guard my precious readers from the clutches of other web business developers. I’ve quickly learned that this way of thought just doesn’t work in the blogosphere where cooperation and competition gets blurred into co-opetition. My blog has grown faster than I can imagine partly because I so freely link out.
This is what I’ve learned about post writing. I’m sure there’s going to be more to learn as I continue to refine my blogging.
I’d love to hear what lessons you’ve gotten from blog writing. So tell what you’ve learned or tips you have about post writing and I’ll include them and a link to your blog in a future post.