As Forbes reports, according to Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and chief technology officer of the inbound marketing software company HubSpot, and the author of Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs, “blogging, at its core, is about offering something of value to your audience.” It’s that simple; if you have something to offer, then you are ready to start a blog. We’re not saying it’s going to be easy. But since when is any satisfying achievement in life easy to accomplish? And while creating something from scratch can be terrifying, it’s that much more exciting when your vision actually becomes a reality.
The blog concept
So where do you start when you want to start a blog? What are the crucial ingredients to create a blog? Well, for starters, you need a vision. Are you looking to offer career advice? Do you want to inspire readers with your parental experiences? Are you experimenting in the kitchen and eager to share your recipe successes and flops?
Think about your passions and from there you can create a mission statement and a goal for your blog. And whatever your topic may be, you really need to love that topic. After all, as pointed out on Blogher.com, “if you don’t have the passion for your topic, you don’t have much to offer your readers…and, they will soon be gone.” As far as how to create a blog, once you have a direction you need to find your voice. According to Honey Good, writer, blogger and Founder of HoneyGood.com, “we are all writers as our thoughts carry us through story after story, each day in our life.”
Your voice comes from what you have experienced in the past, how you interact with people every day and how you talk to yourself when no one is watching. A great place to start when you want to find your voice is to record a journal. Write freely, jot down whatever you are thinking, whatever you want to say and even the things you’re a little embarrassed to put in writing. After a few days, read what you have recorded—you will find your voice.
Speaking of consistency, to create a successful blog, you need to commit to providing consistent content. This means that you need to provide content on a consistent basis. As in, you need to write new posts regularly and reliably. You can’t write an article once a year and expect people to listen. You need to become a constant source of information, inspiration, fun, entertainment, advice, honesty, humor, help and everything in between. Whatever you offer, offer it often.
Your blog needs to be unique. Before you run the other way, terrified that you are boring (you’re not, we promise!), that doesn’t mean that you need to write about life experiences that have never been done before. What you write about, or even how you write, doesn’t need to be groundbreaking. But you do need to offer something new that people don’t already experience from another source. Maybe it’s the way you tell a story, or maybe it’s the way you use pictures and visuals.
Maybe you have unique experiences to share or maybe you share them with such brutal honesty that you stand out. Whatever your angle is, make sure you put your own spin on it so that people will read YOUR blog instead of all the other options out there. You also need to embrace search engine optimization, keyword usage, internal linking and other technology tricks to help boost your readership.
If those terms sound a little bit too “techy” for your taste, then you might want to brush up on your digital marketing skills. For people to read your blog they need to first be able to find your blog, which is where things like SEO (search engine optimization) come in. And once you have readers there, you need to keep them there with sticky content and internal links to related articles on your blog. There’s a lot you can do to increase traffic and engagement and to start a blog you need to be familiar with these tactics.
Lastly, when you start a blog, don’t be afraid of a little self-promotion. Does that mean you should stand outside with a sign saying, “read my blog!” Of course not…this isn’t the 80’s. Do the modern-day equivalent and use your social media networks to your advantage. Spread the word, tell your friends, create a community where you encourage comments, shares, conversation and where you offer regular updates on what you (aka your blog) are up to. Ok, enough chitchat. You know what you need to do, you have all the tools to make it happen, now go ahead, take a leap of faith, and start writing!