Friday, April 25, 2014

Life is a blog. Living out loud.

I am often asked how I decide what to write about when I blog and for those starting out, I suggest you do up an editorial calendar and chart out themes for each month.  They can relate to the time of year, seasonal activities or issues that you feel are common with your peers.

Much of course depends on why you are blogging in the first place.  Is it to promote your business and to get known as an expert?  Is it to personalize your brand, so people know the face of your business or are you writing about one of your passions?  Perhaps writing is THE passion.

When I started out over ten years ago, I just loved writing.  I didn’t really care that much whether people read what I wrote or not.  I was having fun putting my words and thoughts to paper, and in many ways that hasn’t changed that muchJ

I don’t actually take my own advice as I don’t have an editorial calendar that I work to, except for when I am guest blogging. There I try to fit with the theme put forward but be creative at the same time.  I like to put a different twist on the topic.

On the whole, I tend to write about what is current in my life – so it could be a challenge I’ve faced; a common issue I have observed, some practical tips for other business owners or sometimes, just sometimes, a bit of a rant.  Although I have to say, some of the ranting ones don’t always see the light of day.  Pure therapy.

What you don’t want to do is write about what you had for lunch, for example.  Who cares?  Certainly not your readers.  I find the blogs that work the best are when I am sharing a piece of myself; perhaps being more vulnerable or what I am saying hits a chord with people.

The other popular blogs are those that are actually useful, with content and information that’s practical and the reader can implement and see results.

I recently did one for Huffington Post about being glad I was not a twenty-something, and that very much arose from a TV interview and a video I’d watched on the topic.  They had got me thinking and I was able to weave some of the dialogue from these two shows into my piece. 

The blog met with great interest and has generated a week-long discussion in HP, but it does flag another issue for the blogger.  You have to be prepared for the negative feedback or questioning of your point of view, and give comments back. I am working on developing a thick skin.
As I said to a friend this week, life is a blog.  Something is always coming up that I think… ah, I can use that.  I am big on analogies where we can learn something from a totally unrelated event that will have an impact on our businesses, for example.

In fact, my friends now know to keep quiet, or they could find themselves centre-stage in the plot of my next blog, in a good way of course.

When you start out, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to write daily or long blogs.  Seth Godin is the king of short, pithy blogs and look how popular he is.  So be kind to yourself.

In terms of style, lose the jargon, uptight corporate speak and keep it real.  Short sentences and short paragraphs, and then you are more likely to get people to read.  Don’t use a long word when a simple one will do.  This is not the place to show off your grasp of the English language, but do use words to paint a picture.

Best advice I got – write about what you know. 

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