by Monique Sharkey
So, you’ve decided you want to start a blog - awesome! Many people wonder if blogging is dead but, I would say it’s not. As long as there are people who want to read them, blogs are here to stay. Not only that, unlike social media, when you have your own blog that content is yours forever. I would definitely encourage you to create a blog. To start you on your new adventure, I’ve identified four important things you absolutely need to know.
Know Your Why
Take a moment to write down why you are starting your blog. What is the purpose behind your blog? Is it to generate leads for your business? Is it to make money? Are you looking to showcase your writing? I suggest putting it on paper so you can always look back and see it.
Knowing your why helps shape your goals. It doesn’t have to be very deep as long as it is personal to you. If this is your first blog it can be kind of intimidating. But for now, don’t focus on if anyone will read it or not, don’t worry about making a profit, just know why you want to do it.
Remembering your why is crucial when you feel like quitting.
Know Your Audience
Your blog won’t go far without any readers, right? The next step is to figure out exactly who you are writing to. Whether your audience is anime fans or fitness enthusiasts or bread lovers, once you’ve figured out your topic and who you are writing to, get to know them! Social media can be useful here as you can get connected with groups or pages that cater to these audiences. Just don’t spam the groups because no one likes that person! You can also create polls and questions on Instagram to see what articles your readers are interested in. Be sure to respond to comments as much as you can (don’t forget the social element in social media) and just keep having conversations. Some blogs make the mistake of just constantly promoting products and throwing ads at the readers all day. This is actually counter-intuitive to your growth!
Another tip, depending on the platform on which your blog is hosted, is to view your analytics. Being able to see what time of day your posts get the most views or what day of the week performs better than others can be a useful tool to help you grow. Of course, this is AFTER you have already started and have written a few posts but its something to keep in mind when deciding where to put your blog so that’s why I’m including it in this list. Make sure you choose a platform that works best for you.
Know Your Network
Networking with other bloggers has been a huge benefit to my growth. I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to be in a room with other people who share your passion and all excited about sharing ideas and collaborating. There is strength in community and I really can’t stress that enough.
If you’re just starting out, don’t worry about that because at events there are usually all levels from beginner to years of success. The fact is, we all started somewhere! You can learn about different tools to grow your blog, how to be a better writer, what apps to use for promoting your posts – just about anything you want to get better at you will find someone else who has done it. One event I attended was specifically about photography and the presenters gave amazing tips on how to take better quality photos for your blog. The best part is a lot of these events are free! Search on Google for any blogger meetups in your area. Another awesome resource is The Blogger Union. They have chapters all over the US but if there isn’t one near you, they do provide a lot of information on social media. You can also join a blogging group on Facebook. The point is, stay connected because networking is valuable in any industry.
Know Your Worth
You were given your unique voice for a purpose! A lot of people can start a blog or a business, but no one can tell the story or sell your product the way you would. It’s important to know there is value in that. If your goal is to monetize your blog and work with brands knowing your worth can mean not settling for less when it comes to rates and pricing for your services. But also know your worth in a deeper sense. Know that your voice is what will keep your readers coming back. People want to connect with someone who is authentic. So, let the real you show through in all that you do. Being vulnerable is hard. But showing up and showing the human behind the screen is what will create an authentic community.
These are the essential ingredients that I believe you need to have before starting your blog. But before you get cooking, there is ONE more special sauce that will really take you to the next level. CONSISTENCY! Now that you know your why, your audience, your network, and your worth – tie it all together with a consistent schedule for your blog. This step keeps your audience engaged in your blog. If you post one month and then don’t show up again until 6 months later, your readers can lose interest. It doesn’t mean you need to post every day, but whatever your schedule will look like, stick with it. This is especially important when you’re just starting out because you want to build your content and show the audience that you are really invested in this!
Now it’s time to get out there and create some content that will show the world the brilliance you have to offer. Happy writing!
Art by Serj Marco