You know when a theme is developing in your life when the same sort of thing keeps cropping up. Well, I don’t know if twice in succession qualifies, but I’m going to go with it anyway. Yesterday I was catching up on my podcasts, and listened to a Grammar Girl episode entitled “How to get started blogging”. Then today I ran my blogarizer spreadsheet and was directed to an article entitled “10 must-use tips for beginning bloggers”. OK, enough already: I can take a hint.
Both articles are pretty good, in a general sense. Mignon Fogarty, the “Grammar Girl”, deals with knowing your audience, finding good, and reliable, information, and how to build your audience. Melissa Tamura, author of the 10 tips post, also talks about knowing your audience and, in essence, how to grow it.
I’d like to come at this from a different angle or, to be more precise, to emphasise different aspects of blogging. Here goes:
- Start blogging. That’s right, just start. Stop navel-gazing, second-guessing the universe and playing “what-if?” games. Just start. Creating a new blog in something like Blogger takes all of five minutes. In fact, the most difficult part is thinking of a witty and memorable name.
- Definitely define your audience, but start with yourself. What I mean by that is, write the kind of articles that you would find most interesting/enjoyable/useful to read. Then your blog will probably go one of two ways: either extremely eclectic, which stands a good chance of attracting a wide variety of people, or extremely focussed. Those two are not mutually exclusive, by the way. I think that latter possibility warrants a bullet point of its own…
- Be extremely focussed. I mean extremely focussed. From time to time I receive comments from people along the lines of they have nothing unique to blog about. That’s plain wrong, because everyone is unique in some way. For example, you might be the only art teacher in your town who takes their class on a virtual art gallery tour every week. How does that work? How does a virtual gallery visit stack up against a real life one? I don’t know from first-hand experience what the answers to these questions are. But you do.
- Put your audience first. I think if you’re going to write for an audience, you should at least try to make reading your work a pleasant experience. This is all highly personal and subjective, of course, but for me the two things I really can’t abide is swearing or implied swearing, and writing which is about as interesting as the list of ingredients on a packet of cornflakes. There’s no need for the former, and you can improve on the latter by analysing what it is you like about the writing of the blogs, magazines, newspapers, authors you read on a regular basis.
But the most important one of these, if you’ve decided or almost decided to start your own blog is the first one: just do it!