Over the past week or so my social media feed has been filled with the hysteria surrounding the Problogger conference which was held recently on the Gold Coast.
In case you’ve been hibernating for the winter and have just woken up, the Problogger conference, now in its fifth year, is a training and networking event for bloggers wanting to make the most of their blogging experience. Attendees are treated to a fascinating group of guest speakers talking on topics such as profiting from your blog, connecting with your readers, blog design and technical advice, ideas for compelling content and much, much more.
It was interesting reading the live-tweets during the event and also the follow up blog posts from attendees. Many have been excited about creating compelling content to capture readers, others are talking about the personal connection that’s important to make, and others are getting down to the nitty gritty of how to blog and work with sponsored content and brands.
It also seems that many who attended the event aren’t necessarily wanting to make a living from their blog. They just want a rich and rewarding experience from their blogging. So with that in mind, I thought I’d share my tips for blogging.
I’m not a problogger by any stretch of the imagination, nor do I have any desire to be, but after six years in the game I think I have a little bit of experience to offer, particularly for those interested in blogging to their own beat of the drum. So here goes!
Work out why you want to blog and who you are blogging for. Maybe you are blogging to keep in touch with family and friends from around the world, perhaps you are blogging to share your love of cooking/sewing/craft, or maybe you are simply blogging to share your perspective on life.
Asking yourself why you are blogging, and who your ideal reader would be are two of the most important questions for any blogger. But don’t be deterred if you don’t have the answers right away.
It may take you a few bites of the cherry to figure it out. And as with life, your reasons will change. We are constantly growing and evoliving and your blog needs to change with you. But at any point in time, try hard to be clear on why you are blogging and who your ideal reader is.
Whether you decide you want to be a problogger or not, you need to make sure you write from the heart. And by this I don’t mean you need to pull your heart out and leave it beating on the screen, open and raw for all to see. I simply mean write what you feel. Write what you are passionate about. Write as you.
Really, if you can’t truly be who you are on your blog, you are actually missing the point of the blogging experience.
And blog readers are intelligent too, they can smell a fraud a mile away. So if you are simply orchestrating bland, meaningless words on a page you will fail to make a connection. And making a connection, is what it’s all about.
You will hear this a lot in blog and social media circles and it is spot on. There are millions of blogs out there on the internet and there are millions of readers. And as a new blogger it is easy to be in awe of the big blogs. The ones with huge followings, thousands of Facebook likes and Twitter followers.
It is easy to get caught up and think that what they are doing is the recipe to success. But it is not.
The recipe to success is to simply be yourself, after all that is how the big blogs gained and maintain their following. They make a connection with their readers and have built a community.
So how do you do this? You need to find your place in the blogging world.
Follow blogs that resonate with you, follow bloggers who are following these blogs, begin the conversation, comment on their blogs, reply to comments on your blogs and you will build your little tribe. You will find your home in the blogging world. You will find your tribe.
Mark Twain famously once wrote “Comparison is the thief of joy” and it he is absolutely right. Comparison is a useless, tiresome and stressful endeavour and one that will leave you curled up in the corner of the room in the fetal position.
You see the blogosphere is full of wonderfully, talented writers. There will times where you will be in awe of them, even envious of them and there are times you will compare your writing and your little ol’ blog with them. But you can’t. And you mustn’t.
By all means admire their talent to seamlessly weave intricate sentences and their ability to foster a deep connection with their readers, but never compare.
Human beings are a wonderful, complicated mass of matter and what makes us so amazing is the connection that our brains can make with our hearts. Work with yours. Your blog is a reflection of you, not of someone else, so be true to yourself and confident in your own ability.
And always remember, there is someone out there who is reading your words and smiling with admiration.
SEO, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, scheduled content, editorial calendars, clickable titles… there are so many things that you can get caught up in. And if that’s what you want, great, by all means go for it. In fact the gorgeous Maxabella, (blogger extraordinaire and problogger guest speaker), recently posted a series on how to do all this and more, and is well worth the read.
But if you just want to blog because that is what your heart is telling you to do, just do it.
Don’t worry about your stats or whether or not you are sharing your posts on Facebook at the right time of day. Just write. Be you. Make the connection with your readers. Connect with other bloggers on their blogs. Let the process be organic.
The business of blogging has it’s place but it’s not for everyone and don’t ever feel like that is what you must be doing.
After pulling together this post, I have realised I could have summed up my five tips into one single piece of advice. It’s the one thing that is so simple, yet so telling when it comes to blogging. And this well worn, but simple quote from Oscar Wilde sums it up perfectly…
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in blogging? Or if you’re just starting out in the blog world, share your blog link in the comments so I can pop over and say Hi!