Blog Like You Mean It

Or at least like you think someone’s reading it…

The best blogging advice I received (way back in 2006) was to blog like someone was actually going read my stuff. I was transitioning from the world of print where some of my stories were read by hundreds of thousands of people. Women’s Health, The Boston Globe, Chicken Soup for the Soul ring a bell? Now I was writing for … my coworkers, my husband and my mom …

Blog like you mean itBut the company paying my salary (and my team’s salary) believed in the power of blogging to communicate the brand message. They invested time, money and training into honing my skills. Blogging (with purpose) is a skill, just as writing a travel review, an expose or a how-to article. Marshall McLuhan was right in 1967 – the medium really is the message.

Give good blog …

Discovering how your community finds you and why they keep coming back helps you grow as a writer and a blogger. When your blog becomes a conversation, you’re doing it right.

Before you can grow a community, you have to actually write and publish your posts. That first step out the door can be a doozy – what if they don’t love me???

Thousands of blog posts later, I’m still learning. People actually read my stuff now and I even coach newbies how to find their voice and use it in a way that others will find it, read and comment on it. But none of us are experts and even the most experienced blogger sill has lessons to learn.

If you’re just starting to blog, use these tips to help bulk up that courage to write your first post. You can do it 

  1. Write with passion, humor and/or pizazz – your audience wants your opinion, not just the facts.
  2. Find your niche and stick to it. Learn as much as you can and be the subject matter expert. And don’t be afraid to ask your readers for help. You’re growing a community, remember?
  3. Learn to explore a topic fully and adhere to minimum word counts (300 to make Google happy).
  4. Add videos and pictures to your posts – and label them with keywords so Google can understand them too.
  5. Write consistently. Updating your blog once a month is not enough to grow a community.
  6. Keep learning. Just like technology gets outdated, so will your blogging skills – the only difference is that it doesn’t cost anything to upgrade yourself. All you need to do is read blogs.

Blog Tag cloudI’ve blogged for myself and for companies for more than 5 years, under my own name and as a ghost writer. The speed of this medium is so fast some days that I wish I had a crash helmet and shin pads. But it’s what the print world wasn’t able to give me – and the reason I’ll never go back.

The other night on Twitter and Facebook I asked some friends for the best blogging advice they ever received. They were happy to share.

@Ksunea – Be honest and passionate, admit mistakes and apologize if you’re wrong

@GibsonSV – Spell Check! It’s overlooked so many times!

@WonderMoms – Be transparent, do not hide behind your avatar and build relationships. One number thing is being real behind your brand/blog, wonder why some people hide.

@CommonCentsMom – Build and build some more, encourage other bloggers, or and have FUN! I tell them to go for it! and read writing blogs as well such as @copybloger. Lots of places to learn writing. I read about 1 hr every day

@shamattygalle – Cater to a specific audience and provide fresh/relevant content. This doesn’t mean posts have to be long! 🙂

@BeZensational – Get personal, but not toooo personal. Be real. For instance, posts on Yearly Pap Test fiascos are funny but I don’t need intimate details. You know what I mean? I also love to hear about the authors life, but not constant complaining. Like day in and day out. Positivity is required in life or it’s a long road. U get what U give Positive=Positive (Negative/Negative) A smile 4 a smile.

To someone who’s never written? BE YOURSELF. Don’t try 2 write what uthink ppl want 2 read. Just write, it’s great therapy.

@chieflemonhead – Write for yourself. Write from your heart. Don’t try to impress. #blogadvice

@hanwayink – My only advice is to not have a schedule (blogging without obligation), but i blog for myself, not a job

@suddenlyfrugal – Post regularly. You won’t get a following if you’re not adding fresh information on a regular basis. I shoot for 3 to 5 posts a week but mostly post at least once Monday through Friday.

@CFT411 – Well, posting regularly, I guess. I have had a very bad cold these last few weeks that has finally taken me down. Only three new blogs in a four week period. Other than that, though, it’s been five a week since February, 2008–over 760 now I believe.

Are you puzzling over your first blog post or your 50th? I’d love to hear about your blog frustrations (grumpy commenters) and fantasies (being picked up by the New York Times is mine). Share your stories here and let’s learn from each other!

Got social media questions? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn – I’m always on.

19 Responses to “Blog Like You Mean It”

  1. Shum says:

    Hey Julia,

    What a brilliant post! Such useful advice and very well curated!

    Cheers
    -Shum

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Thanks so much, Shum. I can’t take credit for brilliant though as it just wouldn’t be the same post with your comments!

      Appreciate your stopping by and commenting…again:-)
      Julia

  2. Beth Hill says:

    Great advice Julia – as always. As a new blogger, it is so hard for me to get a post started. And, since my ultimate goal is to sell products, it’s even more difficult to make it personal and transparent. From reading your advice and others, that seems to be extremely important. Hopefully that will come more easily with experience.

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Hi Beth,

      I’ve taught writing to adults (at a college and in a prison, which is another story) for a number of years. And there’s one truth that transcends every single writer – starting. It’s hard and uncomfortable and it makes you not want to start. No different than someone who wants to win a race, the only way to get experience is to put yourself out there and just do it. The first step is a big one, but each one after gets easier and easier. I’m looking forward to reading YOUR blog – go get em!

      Julia

  3. Jim says:

    Hey Julia,
    Awesome blog post! Looks like you’re doing great.

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Hi Jim! Gosh it’s been a while – thanks for stopping by! Life is good and I’m loving what I’m doing now. Hope all is great in your world as well!
      Julia

  4. sheila says:

    Oh, thanks so much for including me! My fantasy? A million fans. lol. It’s just nice when people take a moment to comment. Frustrations? OhMyGoshhhhhhhhhWRITERS BLOCK! lol. Oddly though, when I’m blocked I find I get a lot done around the house and that usually frees up some brain space for bloggy ideas or finishing up my second book.

    I think it’s pretty funny actually, with all the thoughts that swirl in my head all day, to get writers block. Isn’t that weird?

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Hey Shelia,

      Thank you so much for reading and comment! I agree, it feels so good when people take time to comment. Traffic is nice but I’d rather have less traffic and more people who comment – like you 🙂 I find my writer’s block frees itself when I do something physical – almost like a muscle that needs to loosened up. But there’s a danger of not writing too…sigh…

      Good luck with the second book – I’m looking forward to reading more about what you do on YOUR blog!

      Julia

  5. when i started my creative blog, i did so with the purpose of doing it for myself, primarily. i posted regularly and wrote about things that interested me. i have been so lucky to have such positive and engaged readers who share with me and with the other visitors! it’s an amazing thing to be a part of. what a ride, really 🙂

  6. vicky says:

    What a great topic. Before I started my blog I interviewed 10 bloggers and asked them a variety of questions. It was so useful and gave me the confidence I needed to start blogging on my own.
    One question, never got answered: Have you ever bought a book about blogging?

    • Julia Rosien says:

      Vicky, there are lots of marketing books that touch on blogging and an over abundance of books on writing. And I’ve bought more than my fair share of of both over the years. I have to admit that I’ve never bought one on blogging though – there’s so much free info on the Internet. And of course, reading blogs is a great way to learn what works and what doesn’t.

      I’ll throw the question on Twitter and see if anyone can help with recommendations.
      J~

  7. FunkySteph says:

    Great advices Julia. Need to think more through it to get my blog being better. I blog personally and it is not easy to build a community… Sometimes it is even discouraging as it could be hard to build the pay it forward network… Thanks for sharing.

    • Julia Rosien says:

      It is hard work, Stephanie and it takes a long, long time. I think you’ll enjoy my post tomorrow – it’s all about the heavy lifting that goes on behind the scenes. Thanks for stopping by to comment!
      Julia

  8. Melonie Dodaro says:

    Great post! Yes, a blogger writes with always the readers at the top of her mind.

  9. Andrea says:

    Thanks so much for this! It’s given me some fresh ideas, and reinforced that I’m doing a lot right. I only started mommygearest.com four months ago but I’m loving the creative (if time-consuming) outlet. I used to be a marketing comms writer and when I moved to more corporate writing, I really missed it. Blogging about baby and kids’ products has helped me get back to the kind of writing I love. Except, this time, I can put ALL of my quirky personality into my writing without fear of my copy being axed by legal or clients. Thanks for the great advice, and if you ever have a chance to read my reviews, I would be grateful for any feedback. 🙂

  10. Abdallah says:

    Be authentic and transparent. Also, get involved in other online communities and engage with them social conversations. Many of these community members will follow you to your blog

  11. This is so timely because I just wrote my first serious blog last night! It’s scary and you think people will laugh at you, but you gotta put it out there any way. Thank you for your column Julie. I will now proceed to follow you on Twitter(where I found you) and I will like you on Facebook. I need all the advice I can find and it sounds like you know what your talking about! 🙂


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