Blogging For The Non-Blogger
I’m not a writer!
Blogging is lame!
I don’t have anything to say!
It’s 2016, folks. The Internet is getting fuller every day. The only way to get out there is to…get out there. And the time is now.
Whether you’re a natural writing talent or not, blogging doesn’t have to be time-consuming or otherwise dreadful. We’ve put together a guide to creating a blog and writing posts, so you can get started ahead of the game.
Read on for your key to blog city.
#1 Give ‘Em Something To Talk About
Not to start you off on a bad note, but an estimated 2 million blog posts are published every day. So, if you’re going to do this, you really have to commit. Before you start building your blog, figure out what you’re going to be writing about.
You’re not going to be everybody’s flavor, and that’s fine. Even if .00001% of all the people on the Internet find your blog, that’s still like, 30,000 people. Basically, you have a lot of space to be you.
So, who are you? What are you trying to share with the world?
Your blog is a space for you to differentiate yourself. It’s where you’ve come to get excited. So, what’s the thing that you can talk about for hours? What do you care about that separates you from your competition?
Now, how can what you care about give value?
When I say give value, I mean give your future readers something that will help them. Your readers will become loyal readers if they think that you really care about them — and they’ll know you care about them if you write something that helps them.
If you want to write about how you built your business, show us. Show us graphs, screenshots, and emails. Tell us the story of your failures and what you learned.
Neil Patel, one of the most famous content marketers in the world, is a huge advocate of content that gives value to the community. His post about developing a successful blog, 11 Things I Wish I knew Before I Started My First Blog, includes screenshots of his actual Google Analytics dashboards, as well as his actual per-month cost breakdown for running Quick Sprout.
By giving us so much content, Neil basically guarantees himself returning visitors — meaning people come back to him over and over to see what he has to say.
And, duh, it gets him more clients.
Jacob Cass at JUST Creative uses his blog in part to promote huge savings on really expensive software — something that strengthens the community, builds loyalty, and increases engagement/sharing on his other posts.
Being useful means contributing what you can to your community. Find the place that you love to give from and make it happen.
#2 Build The Thing
Another Neil Patel-ism: Design is marketing.
You don’t need a design degree to know that it’s way more fun to read on a website that looks nice. So, before you start writing posts, make sure you have a nice looking place to put them.
Depending on how good at coding you are, or how much money you’re willing to spend on having a blog created from scratch, your options are varied.
If you’re coding illiterate and don’t have a budget to pay someone who is, start with Medium. Medium is a blogging platform that is purposely design-lite, choosing to focus instead on content — and it’s also where most of the popular content in tech/startup world lives, if that’s you’re audience.
If you’re less techy and more trendy, head over to Tumblr. Tumblr isn’t as ‘professional’ as Medium, but the design options are much more customizable; aside for a library of free and for-pay themes, you can edit almost every theme’s CSS to make it into the theme you want it to be.
If you’re ready to spend a small-to-medium amount of money on a website, check out website builders like Wix, Squarespace, or Webydo. These three platforms are great if you want to build a website including a blog section, or if you want a more ‘standard’-looking blog without writing code.
If coding ain’t no thang for you, or you have the budget for a developer, then go WordPress. WordPress is totally customizable, and once you’ve created a template, super easy to manage — plus, there’s a plugin for pretty much anything you might ever want to do, or any goal you want to achieve.
If you’re ready to be serious, treat your blog like a client and write yourself a proper brief. Once you know the goals, target audience, and look and feel that you want, you can build a design/concept that fits the people you want to find your blog, and that will ultimately make you money.
Once you’ve started writing, don’t forget the design! Using pictures/gifs in your posts will not only majorly boost engagement and sharing, but it will also bring you design-oriented peoples. People with good taste — isn’t that what you want?
How To Start A Blog: 10 Pro Tips by CreativeBloq
#3 Create A Schedule
The guaranteed, never-fail, always-works trick for blog success is consistency. If you use your blog as an every-so-often channel for sharing your feelings, you’ll have a tough time building a following; however, if your people know that every Wednesday you’re going to drop a design truth bomb, you’ll be able to keep up the publicity for the whole week.
No one is expecting you to post every day, or even every two days, but it’s amazing if you can. Studies show that the more often you publish, the more readers you’ll have (= more clients you’ll find = more money you’ll have), but don’t overwhelm yourself.
My recommendation is to commit at the beginning to publishing once a week. Especially if this isn’t part of your full-time job, once a week gives you enough time to write, edit, publish, and distribute.
Wait, distribute? Whaaaaattttttt? (See below)
Remember those two million posts I mentioned before? Shit. That’s a lot of posts.
Even if your posts provide amazing, in-depth content, with piles of tools and loads of shareable quotes, if you don’t float your post to the top of those two million other ones, no one will ever see it.
Clement Vouillon put together an amazing infographic that explains content sharing: how you can do it on your own, and where you can put it to get the best effect.
The reason people create content is because content brings in money. That’s it. Content brings clients, content brings advertising, and content brings revenue share. Unfortunately, however, content that goes unseen is content that’s wasted. Distribution is the only way to make sure that someone out there reads what you’ve worked so hard on.
How To Overcome The Content Distribution Hurdle by Kissmetrics
If Writing’s Seriously Not For You – Here Are Some Other Options
Okay, I get it. You made it all the way through that post, and you still don’t believe that blogging is for you. That’s fine.
You have options.
Vlogging allows you to dynamically share your opinions pretty much in real-time, with the same sharing and community options as blogging.
Ran uses his channel, Flux, to post daily accounts of his travels, client experiences, and more. And, because you get to look at him and see him talk, it feels super-personal.
The podcast potential is unleashed!
If you’re not comfortable writing and even less comfortable in front of a camera, then podcasting is where it’s at. With a podcast, you can talk on your own, with a partner, or interview-style with others about whatever speaks to your heart. It has the benefit of personalization, like a vlog, but is also super-accessible and informal. Slightly less shareable than blogging and vlogging, but still totally reasonable.
14 Design Podcasts To Put In Your Ears by InVision
You’re ready to get on the Internet. Good for you!
If you’re ready to supersize your client pool, check out the Marketing For Honest Freelancers email course. We teach you the A-Z of not-sleazy marketing that will land you dreamy clients.
Thanks for sticking with us. Send us your links when they’re up!
Shayna is the Head of Friendship at The nuSchool. Talk to her about veganism, ayurveda, dogs, and, duh, freelancing.
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