I first wrote this series for the Megaphone Society, a community of writers that I have co–founded with my friend and author Casey Voight. She and I developed these “best practices” from our own blogging experiences, our day jobs are marketers and from other resources I’ll link to.
As these practices have helped my own, non–book author blog, I realized my fellow healthy–living bloggers may find something useful as well. And so I’ve adapted the series for a weekend edition of Piloting Paper Airplanes. Enjoy!
“But why?” you ask. “Isn’t blogging supposed to be casual and off–the–cuff writing?”
Well, yes, to a point. Your readers want to get to know you, so don’t jerk them around with an aggressive political post followed by a whimsical post about your dream last night followed by a tough love post about fighting through a workout. Decide the overall tone of your blog and begin to develop your style to establish some consistency for you readers.
If you’re just starting a blog, write a handful of posts before publishing anything. Then go back and read them all with a critical eye. Consider the things you like, and the parts that sound off to you. Even better, have a friend read them. You want the posts to sound like they’re written by you, so evaluate how much of yourself comes through. Then rewrite the posts, building on the elements you liked and adjusting the problem areas. This exercise may take some time, but you’ll begin to see your personal style and voice come through much quicker once you start hitting the publish button.
Remember that you don’t have to box yourself in topically. You’re a runner/cross–fitter/foodie/healthy living blogger, but you don’t have to write only about health–related topics. In fact, that’s a fast way to get yourself ignored. Kristen Lamb wrote a great post about blogging for authors and a banana slicer that has a great lesson fo bloggers of all types – be creative! She writes:
Yet, here’s the thing, writers (especially fiction writers) are CREATIVE people. We are storytellers. When we blog merely on information, we engage the left-side of the brain, but our fiction engages the RIGHT side of the brain.
Why are we trying to build a following/fan base for a right-brain product with a left-brain TOOL?
You’re a dynamic and fun person, so expand on other areas of life. A parent? I’m certain you have some great stories. Like to travel? Run marathons? Are you also an artist? Write poems or short stories? Post about it!
People read blogs because there is something for them to gain. Big shocker, I know. We’re selfish beings who won’t waste time on something that doesn’t help us or entertain us. So keep that in mind as you plan your posts. In his e–book Gorilla Influence Formula, Tyler Tervooren suggests solving problems creatively in your posts. Sound familiar?
Start by making a list of “problems” related to your blog topic. As a healthy living or fitness blogger, that list can include eating for a better run, strength training, your cross–fit WOD adjusted to do at home, great recourses you’ve found, how to stay motivated and so much more!
The next step is to think of personal stories that relate to those problems. Don’t have one (yet)? Find a friend or other blogger who has worked through the problem and use them as sources for your post – be sure to link back to them! When you use other sources, think of writing the post more like a journalist: gather some resources, quote them, then expand on their points to have your own “take–a–way” for your post.
Some of these “problem” posts may take a while to research and write, but that’s ok! Better to take the time and craft a great and entertaining piece than to publish something prematurely.