For some reason, the word BLOG is a scary four-letter word for many people. There’s the writing part that can bring back those memories of a 4th grade grammar teacher and her evil red pen and then there’s the technical part of loading a post behind the walls of a website, which many feel is a place they never want to go.
With content marketing becoming more important to the success of your business, blogging is the central hub of this content. With that pressure, we need to demystify blogging. Sometimes scary things aren’t so scary once we shed some light and information on them. Let’s look at 4 things that will have you blogging TODAY.
Just Sit Down and Write. Don’t Edit. Don’t Obsess. Just Write.
If you are a perfectionist, this will be your hardest part. You will have a very hard time getting a sentence down without going back and editing it and then editing it some more before just deleting the whole thing and starting over. Hitting that “publish” button after you finally have words on the page that made the cut, will still seem so … FINAL.
In a great book I read years ago, Writing Down the Bones, the author, Natalie Goldberg, tells us to put a pen to paper and write without stopping for 45 minutes. No editing. Let the writer write and then the editor can do their work. When blogging, I like to picture sitting across from someone who has asked a question, and I am just typing the answer I would share with him.
Start Slow and Keep It Short.
Blogging is not writing an OpEd paper. It’s not an ebook. You don’t have to have 7 pages, single-spaced. Your blog is a place for you to have conversations with your target audience. Chat. Don’t lecture for hours. Give us your two cents worth on a topic. Two to three minutes of spoken words equate to 300-450 words of typed text. Start there. Pick a topic that you get asked about in your business and write down what you would say if you had two minutes to talk about it. Now get it out there.
Blogging is filled with grace. You can add more to your post even after it is published, you can write another post to elaborate or give a counter point, and you fix that typo you just can’t believe you missed, even though you read over it 48 times. The one thing I know about blogging, and any writing for that matter, is that the more you write the better you will get. The more clear your voice is heard in your writing style. [Tweet “You can never get better if you don’t get started! via @GinaSchreck”]
Let’s Get Technical.
Alt tags, meta-tags, logging into the back end of your website. It can feel as if you were asked to open the hood of your car and rebuild an engine. If you want a blogging platform with training-wheels, to get you started without even needing to set up your own blog, log into your LinkedIn profile and start writing POSTS on your profile. Just like writing on a blogging platform that you own, LinkedIn offers a place for you to share your expertise and wisdom with the world and it is showcased, read and shared from your profile. The only reason I would suggest that you use this as training-wheels before starting your own blog, is that you don’t own your LinkedIn profile. Sure it has your name and information on it, but LinkedIn owns the platform and if they cut the last link on their LinkedIn doors and went out of business (think MySpace), you could possibly lose all the content you wrote.
Once you are ready to remove the training-wheels and start writing on your own site (check out WordPress, Weebly, SquareSpace and others for easy templated blogs), you can take each of your posts from LinkedIn and load them onto your site. I use WordPress and love that it is as easy as writing in a Word document. You do not need to know HTML coding language to blog. You type write into the platform (or write in Word and then copy and paste so you have a backup copy). You can add photos to your posts to create more visual interest and BAM…you’ve got a blog post.
If your website is built on a WordPress platform (many sites are today), you simply login with your username and password, click on the POSTS link in your left navigation bar and add a NEW POST. Typically on the right navigational side of your blog is where you will find those scary words like, TAGS, META-DESCRIPTION and more. Anything that has the word TAGS, is simply a way to incorporate your search keywords that you feel best describe what you post is about. Google, and other search engines, use the keywords to match your content with the words people are searching for. Add a few TAGS and even tag your photo when loading it. What is the photo representing? Those few words are ALT TAGS. A Meta-description is the small amount of text that shows up under your blog title in a Google search.
When you search for something online, you will get the page of results and the text under the title will either entice you to click on that selection or keep scrolling down the page to find the choice that best matches your need. Look how techie you are now. Try throwing a few of those words out tonight at dinner just to impress someone!
Keep learning to improve your blogging.
Remember you won’t get better if you don’t get started. Start writing. Start posting what you’ve written, then make a point to visit YouTube, or Google, and look for blogging tips and tutorials to continue improving.
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