Whether you were inspired to start your own blog or were asked to contribute an article to an existing one every new blogger needs a good starting point. The obstacle in the way of that starting point is ‘What should I blog about?’
Don’t worry, it’s not as frightening as it sounds.
Inspiration is a good way to overcome that obstacle. Deciding to launch your own blog is a good starting point because you already have an idea of what you want to say. Blog titles and topics are just swimming in your head. Pull one out and start writing.
But if you were invited to contribute to another blog, most editors would provide you with blogging guidelines and topic suggestions. Pick a topic and start writing.
That’s it? Just write? Yes, but there’s more.
You just need to get some ideas on paper. Don’t let them marinate in your head for too long. Get them onto a blank sheet of paper. Capitalize on the momentum of inspiration while you can. After getting some ideas onto a page, work on refining your piece.
Know Your Audience
Who are you writing it for? Your friends? Mom, dad and cousins? Or are you writing for your customers or potential prospects? Get to know your audience. What do they care about? What would you want them to know?
Know Your Purpose
Are you blogging to entertain? To educate? To start a discussion? To engage? Each blogger has their own set of motivations and reasons to produce content.
Seth Godin, an entrepreneur and a marketer, for example, writes short but thought provoking posts about marketing. Cal Newport of Study Hacks covers topics on personal productivity and personal development through learning. Dr. Steve Gangemi, aka the Sock-Doc blogs about natural injury prevention and treatment. And Jenny Flake cooks, bakes and blogs about her favourite recipes. I can keep going. The examples are endless. Everyone has different goals and motivations. Everything from inspiring and educating their audience to building their expertise.
So when you go out and start writing blog posts think about why you are writing it, what you hope to accomplish with your work and does it get closer to your goals?
Do Your Research
Depending on the topic you want to cover, to be more credible, build expertise and gain confidence do some research to support your points and arguments. Sometimes data or references may not be available so feel free to support your main argument with anecdotal examples from personal experience. Or get a quote from an established expert.
Up to this point it I make it sound like blogging needs to be academic. It doesn’t. Get personal. Share your thoughts, opinions, experiences and knowledge. Offer alternate perspectives. There are many people out there who are interested in your opinions, experiences or just to read an opposing perspective.
Style Takes Time
Unless you’ve been writing for years, you won’t really have a style. Your style will develop over time as you find your voice and audience. And even when you do finally develop a style, you’ll still be working on it, making it truly your own.
In the beginning, just start writing.
Prior to making your first blog post go live, get someone to review it. Most of the time the editor will focus on spelling and grammar. Making sure your work is comprehensible for the target audience. But if you’re writing an academic, investigative or research piece an editor will also make sure you verify your facts and provide references.
Set It Free
Once you get the post out there. It’s out there for everyone to see. Although you’ll feel a major sigh of relief you’ll still might stress over of what happens next. Don’t stress. If you’re starting your own blog the only people that will read it in the beginning will be your own parents. But if you’re contributing to an established online publication or a corporate blog it can fast track the growth of your network and expertise.
It may seem like there’s a lot of steps to writing great blog posts, but there’ really isn’t. In the beginning you just need to start writing, and everything else to follow.