I love sharing with strangers. I’m not quite sure I understand the appeal but I keep coming back to it. For some reason, I continually fixate on the idea of creating a personal blog to summarize my thoughts. Not just useless thoughts, but truly useful information (hopefully). But before I get started, there is a lot I have to think about, possibly add some structure and maybe make a plan of what I want to do.
I’m sure I’m not the only one here, if you are reading this you have probably entertained the idea a few times yourself. This might be a good place to start, use it as a motivator of sorts. Anything to get you going is a big help, I know it was for me.
I took some time to list out a few things I needed to think about before getting started. Feel free to read through them and let me know what you think.
First off, why the hell do you want to start a blog? If your answer is all the cool kids are doing it, quit now. Personally, I decided to share some of the knowledge running around my head to help others and to learn more. It’s really important to know exactly why you want to blog because all your writing will revolve around that fact. Here are a few possible answers to that question:
Marketing a product or service
Blogging or content marketing packs tons of firepower to increase sales for a product or service. It may not give you immediate results, but it will increase brand awareness in the long run. I can talk for hours about this, but if you decide to blog because it represents an avenue to market to your potential customers, keep it up.
This is a big one. If you are blogging with the goal of sharing your knowledge for the greater good, thank you. I don’t know how many times I have used articles or blog posts to learn more about a specific topic. The more and more people get used to sharing their knowledge with the world, the more our society can evolve as a whole. Before I start getting too deep here, if this is one of the reasons you want to start blogging, please keep going.
Another major reason people start blogging is for personal growth. Writing down ones thoughts helps structure the mind and keep you in check. Written text has a way of making things true. It can help you set goals, complete things you have been thinking about for a while and get sh*t done.
This can all depend on your niche. By structuring your thoughts you force yourself to think about what you are writing. This process forces you learn more and to make sure what you are saying has some strength in a debate.
If you are on some sort of emotional quest, it can be a great way for you to connect with others or gather feedback. In some cases you might even use your blog as a conversation started. Without trying to sound like a hippy here, its a great finding out who you really are. Self meet self, you guys should get to know each other.
This might sound like the egotistical option, but it is truly a good idea. A blog is the perfect way to showcase what you know. The CV or Resumé has gone the way of the dodo, and has become a far less effective way of finding out about someone’s qualifications. This is where a personal or professional blog comes in. You can structure your strengths in easily readable articles to prove to others you know your shit. This doesn’t mean you should stop using social networks like LinkedIn, it just gives people a better way of getting to know you.
This isn’t a diary, I’m talking about listing out your quirks and problems when it comes to getting shit done. Anything that will prevent or hinder your writing must be addressed. You don’t have to fix it, I’m just suggesting to be aware of them to be able to work around any problems.
If you are anything like me, my number one problem is distractions. I am all over the place and it can be quite the burden when it comes to taking a few hours to write an article. In my case, I have to specifically allocate an amount of time to write my article because otherwise it will never get done.
Sometimes it can be as simple as a language barrier or even being bad at grammar. Don’t let that stop you, you can buy some super simple software that can take care of that. I know people can get antsy when it comes to a misspelled word, but the reality is that 95% of your readers won’t care if you made a mistake.
As long as you can find a way to side step these issues, you will be good to go.
Topics to discuss
Sometimes it can be difficult to find out what you want to write about. This comes back to asking yourself why you are blogging in the first place. If you are planning on sharing knowledge or marketing yourself, start with content related to your expertise(s). By focusing on what you know best, the content will come flowing right out of your head.
One more thing, when you are picking your topic, you don’t have to write about just one thing. You can write for more than one group of people if you want. I decided to write about multiple topics because I’m interested in multiple topics, it’s as simple as that.
Now I have to pick a timeline. How often and at what frequency do I want to write my content? That’s a tough one. You need to be consistent to make sure you are regulating your readers expectations. If you are releasing articles everyday for a week and suddenly stop for 3 weeks, your readers will think you quit and moved on. It’s better to pick an amount of time that keeps you steady without making this painful. If it become an annoying task, I will probably stop doing it.
Oh boy. Staying focused takes a lot for anyone harboring a startup(esque) spirit. If you are all over the place like I am, you will need to be true to what you can accomplish and set goals that are tough but attainable.
Adding calendar events, constant reminders and alarm clocks will help you stay on track and focus on the final goal. It takes a lot of discipline to maintain a blog. We will see what I can do.
Ask for feedback
This is the part where I ask you for help. It’s ridiculously important that you ask your readers for feedback. Moms approval won’t cut it here. Feedback is the only way you will figure out what you are doing right. If your readers think you suck at writing (maybe you do) find out why and figure out how you can fix.
Maybe you are having issues writing about certain topics or maybe those quirks are coming back to haunt you. If you don’t ask you may never know. Some idiots will give you shitty feedback, as long as you know this beforehand, you are much less likely to get affected by useless responses.
Use this information wisely. Any feedback is good feedback as long as it helps you evolve.
That being said…
Please tell me what you think about this article. Any feedback is appreciated. I might be a tad pissed off if you insult me, but I will try to take it as constructive criticism and improve my writing.