It seems like a lifetime ago, but before changed direction to follow my path as a writer, I spent four years as a virtual assistant. I specialised in social media and marketing for solopreneurs and small business owners, helping them navigate the new and sometimes uncharted waters of this emerging phenomenon.
There is no disputing the fact that Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In and Pinterest, just to name a few, have changed the way that our world communicates and interacts both personally and professionally. And it seems that it is only going become more influential on our lives as technologies and platforms improve.
I must admit though, the social media junkie in me does cringe at the way I see some people using tackling it so I thought I would make a regular habit of posting some of my favourite social media tips. From blogging tips, to Twitter, Facebook and email marketing I have some great tips to share from my VA days.
Let’s start today with Blogging. Personal blogging, not business. There is an important distinction between the two that being that on a personal blog there are really no set rules, it is your own space to create as you wish. A business blog must remain professional and effectively portray the image that you want your business to represent.
So here are some of my favourite personal blogging tips:
– Find a platform that you like. Whether it is WordPress or blogger, both have their good points, they key is to find the one that you find easiest to use. I use both! This site is a WordPress based site and I like it for a more professional feel, whereas I really like blogger for my personal blog as it is so simple and easy to use. One thing to remember is that if you choose blogger over a self-hosted WordPress site, Google owns you! They can decide to take it away in the blink of an eye. So always keep copies of your posts elsewhere, it would really be devastating to lose everything.
– Build it and they will come. Well, to a point. As long as you blog from the heart (see point below) readers will come and stick around, but you also need to get out there and do some work. Read other blogs, comment on them regularly, use Twitter and Facebook to help build your reader base by connecting with like-minded others out there. Also make it easy for people to follow your blog. Add an RSS subscription widget and a subscribe by email button along with your social media icons so readers can connect readily.
– Connect. Blogging is about connection. It is about throwing your thoughts out there to be heard and it is only the start of the discussion. Make it easy for people to leave comments. Try not to use complicated comment pop-ups or word verification as they do turn people off. And make sure you read all your comments and respond if you can. Even if it is a quick thank you for commenting. People leave comments to connect with you.
– Blog from the heart. Your blog may be about your journey as a parent, it may be on a niche topic such as craft or cooking, or it may simply be about life; whatever you blog about just make sure you are blogging from the heart and comfortable in what you are sharing. Blog readers are highly intelligent, they see through all the fancy fonts and pretty images so be honest, authentic and yourself then the connection will be made.
– Know your purpose. Do you blog to write? Do you blog to get noticed? Perhaps you blog as a supplementary income? Whatever your intentions be clear in your purpose. If you are all about stats that’s fine. Get onto Google Analytics, work your numbers and work your blog. Open advertising space or offer sponsored posts. On the other hand if you just blog for the connection and conversation that is more than okay. Your purpose may evolve and change over time and that is okay too, just always know your purpose and have it clear in your own mind. It will shine through in your blogging.
– Remember where you started. My pet hate in the blogging world is when a blogger starts off then becomes too big for themselves. They may not intentionally do this but just due to the time consuming nature of blogging and well, life in general, it happens. Bloggers who don’t respond to comments, bloggers who no longer leave comments on other blogs, bloggers who change their style – they may have forgotten where they began. Don’t ever forget where you came from and why you started – for the connection, so don’t let it slip.
– Be respectful. Enough said.
– There are no rules. It may seem that I’ve just listed a set of rules above but it really just advice. There are no rules with personal blogging apart from do it because you enjoy it. If it all gets too much and seems like a chore – stop! Take a break until you feel ready to take it on again, maybe you will, maybe you won’t. Just enjoy the ride and if you no longer do, hop off.
Do you blog?
Leave your blog URL below and let me know what your favourite piece of blogging advice is.