Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Three Parts of Blogging with a Mission

No, this isn't about writing a beginning, middle and ending to a blog post. It's not about headlines, bullets and pictures. Go ahead . . . list all the three things you've ever heard of when it comes to blogging lessons, or how to be a great blogger, and you won't know what I'm about to say.

I'm not trying to teach you how to blog for a living, but I want you to utilize blogging to the best of your ability so that the practice best promotes your writing. Whether a novelist, poet, screenwriter, hobbyist, how-to guru, or public speaker who sells books in the back of the room, blogging is now a mandatory tool to have in your toolbox.

1. Manage your blog well.

There is no magic number. Some, like Justine Musk (one of my favs), write weekly. Jeff Goins blogs daily. I strive for three times a week - just long enough to be remembered and missed at the same time, IMHO. But whatever you choose, stick to it.

Make sure your heart is in your post. If you can't write with passion and heart because you're posting too often, then cut back, but hopefully at least weekly. Take notes throughout your day, noting flashes of your brilliance as they dart by. Don't feel badly about penning four of five posts at once, then scheduling over a week or two.

Answer comments to your posts. People are more inclined to leave messages if you respond. Do so with thought, too, and not a simple "thanks."

2. Guest post with style. . . and a plan.

Find blogs that compliment yours, in which you can match your skill-set and offer wisdom or entertainment to another blogger's readers. Do this as often as you wish, knowing that the more you do, the more attention you bring back to your blog.

How do you find them? Study the lists of blogs placed on blogs you read, usually down the far left or right of the page. Do simple searches in Wordpress.com or Blogger.com . Study profiles on Facebook pages. Read the bios at the end of features, essays, or short stories. Then pitch them as you would any other freelance assignment. Yes, a few pay, but most don't. You're striving for a current, a stream that carries people from other blogs to yours.

Write for them as if you were being paid 50 cents/word. Quality attracts readers and thrills blog owners to invite you back.

3. Comment intelligently.

Comments are like crack to bloggers. Lack of comments can throw a gray cloud on their day. Learn to leave a comment in response to half the blogs you read.  First,  it's just good manners; hey, you just read free material someone slaved over.

Secondly, think hard before you comment. Make your comment count, sounding intelligent, funny, or highly informed. "Love it" or "thanks" just don't do anything for anyone. It's pleasant, but the writer has no idea what you loved or what you liked. Instead, leave a meaty remark, showing you indeed digested the topic. You want the blog owner to be intrigued . . . maybe enough to invite you back, or promote you himself. Every blog owner loves a regular follower.

Thirdly, leave your calling card. Not just in the form blocks provided, because those aren't posted for general view, but within the comment itself. You want people to know your website, blog or email. You want them to follow you. You want the blog owner to get in touch. You want searches to find you at all these places you've left your mark.

Blogs are mighty tools, but like using the butt of a screwdriver to drive a nail, if you don't use blogs wisely, they just don't do the job as well as they could.



9 comments:

haad license said...

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.

Sioux said...

I've never used the butt of a screwdriver to pound in a nail, but I HAVE used a heavy pair of scissors before. (Granted, it was a small nail.)

Your point about making each post count is an important one. Our posts are our business cards, our billboards. If they don't attract the kind of attention we want, why bother?

quietspirit said...

These are good things to remember.
I espcially like the idea of thinking about our blog posts throughout the day. I try to have a theme a month.

Karen said...

Thank you so much for this post. I started my blog RunningWithKaren.com more as a hobby and a way to hopefully help a new runner (or two) believe in themselves and keep running.

I've found that I really love writing. I have to say that not every one of my posts has been terrific as I've been finding my voice and niche. I do plan to use your tips and start reaching out to other bloggers to write guest blogs as well as inviting them to write a guest post for my blog.

I do comment a reasonable amount, but will take your advice to heart about mentioning my blog in the comment where appropriate.

Thanks again!

Hope Clark said...

Yay blogging! So glad to strike a chord with each of you. There's blogging and then there's blogging. Slapping something up just to tick off a to-do list isn't doing it justice. Have a great day!

Marie Gilbert said...

All great points, especially responding to a comment. Glenn Walker is our writer's group "go to person" when we have a question about blogging. I post twice a week. One post is a continuing paranormal story that I add to each week and the other post is about family, ghost hunting or adventures with the grandkids. My site is http://gilbertcuriosities.blogspot.com

ConnieReadBurris said...

Ahh...it feels like you wrote this post for me. This week I've resolved to leave comments where appropriate. I've been taking & taking w/o giving back.

Next challenge on my plate is creating a blog.
Thanks for the encouragement!

Nancy said...

Excellent post, Hope. I think many people start a blog as a lark. When I started my blog, I was passionate about the subject, committed to posting regularly, and swallowed a healthy dose of patience while waiting for readers to increase. It's paying off, even though not as quickly as hoped for. Your post shows that blogging is not a lark. It's an important part of my writing world.

www.writergrannysworld.blogspot.com

SSpjut said...

Hope I always enjoy your posts. Since subscribing to your blog and newletter's, I've gleaned some wonderful tid bits that have helped with all levels of writing, encluding my own blog site; sspjut.com. and other's that I ghost blog for. Thanks.