So you started your own blog, hooray! You’ve been taking a stab at posting regularly and experimenting with different writing forms, but feel like you’ve recently fallen into a rut and can’t shake it. I have 5 tips to help you escape the novice phase:
1) Connect your posts. Link previous posts in new posts to keep conversations going, both between yourself, and between you and your readers. Don’t let your content die, just sitting collecting dust on an electronic shelf. Do a monthly roundup of highlights from the past few weeks. Do updated posts, like this pair of before and after posts about my impressions of college. These are some of the best ways to keep a healthy balance between stock and flow blog posts:
There’s an idea about the perfect amount of stock vs. flow a blog should have, stock being the posts that are timeless and people find through internet searches and whatnot, and the flow being the new things you write that are discovered through news feeds in real time.
The smart thing to do is to incorporate your stock posts into your flow posts, aka update your perspective. That will leave you with a delicate balance, what we all strive for. – Austin Kleon
2) Go beyond a guest post. While they are awesome and a great stepping stone to making cyber friendships with bloggers, collaborations are the way to go once you have the basic guest post down. Work with other bloggers on the same ideas to get a compare-and-contrast type feel, like Sabina and I did about spicy foods and EDM music. This is a great way to get a meaningful conversation going and to find points of conversation between you and others on the web.
3) Be consistent, but don’t sell yourself out. It’s difficult to keep a constant flow of articles in the works during a busy exam week and such, but your readers will understand. They’d rather see one quality article during that week than three short, choppy articles that you threw together without proofreading. Speak when you feel like you have something to say, not because you feel like you are obligated to. You are a creature of thought, not a factory. At the same time, don’t use your laziness as an excuse for not writing. If you are interested in developing a readership, you have to show others that you are reliable in getting content out regularly, and worth following.
4) Write reaction posts. Part of being relevant on the internet is being on top of breaking news, whether it be focusing on international events, or occurrences relevant to your particular corner of the blogosphere (fitness blogs read up about new studies about exercise and diets, music blogs follow up on new albums, and so on and so forth). This means incorporating a slight sense of urgency into your writing. One major way you can do this is through reaction posts. This is your own personal take on something that is arguably important to other people’s lives, which is why it’s making ripples in the news in the first place. (Ex: My reaction to TIDAL)
5) Call on an enthusiastic friend to help you out. Sometimes the going gets tough, and you just gotta phone a friend. The cool thing about bringing someone new on board your own blog is that they are a fresh new contributor, and they get the benefits of being on the internet without the hassle of maintaining their own blog. It’s a great way for individuals to get a taste of what blogging can be if they aren’t yet ready to commit. My friend Maddy creates weekly playlists on his Soundcloud account, which I publish on this blog as a series called, “Mr. Moist Presents“. I have a great time previewing the playlists and picking out my personal favorites before sharing all of the songs with you all.
Other great resources from the internet:
15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog, by Joshua Becker, on Becoming Minimalist
9. You’ll become more well-rounded in your mindset. After all, blogging is an exercise in give-and-take. One of the greatest differences between blogging and traditional publishing is the opportunity for readers to offer input. As the blog’s writer, you introduce a topic that you feel is significant and meaningful. You take time to lay out a subject in the minds of your readers and offer your thoughts on the topic. Then, the readers get to respond. And often times, their responses in the comment section challenge us to take a new, fresh look at the very topic we thought was so important in the first place.
19 Ridiculously Useful Tips Every Blogger Should Know, by Alessia Santoro, on Buzzfeed
(this article is a great starting point with links to other articles that will give you technical and inspirational tips about how to blog effectively)
9 Steps Towards Becoming A Successful Blogger, by Beth Leipholtz, on Thought Catalog
8. Don’t hold back. Being a blogger takes a certain kind of person. You have to be willing to put your own experiences out there, to approach awkward situations with humor and serious situations with a level tone. There will always be readers who feel the need to comment and express their disagreement, or flat out hatred of how you approached something. You have to brush them off and think of all the readers who appreciate what you do and say.
Got your own tips to keep yourself writing? Share them in the comments below!