By Joan Stewart
Copyblogger is one of my very favorite resources to learn about blogging, writing and sales copy.
But a post written by Jonathan Morrow, 20 Warning signs That Your Content Sucks, does a disservice to beginning bloggers and could easily turn them off forever to blogging, one of the very best ways to promote your expertise and pull traffic.
If you haven’t started blogging yet, or you’re still experimenting, ignore that advice.
Bloggers, like babies, have to start with a lot of little baby steps, particularly people who struggle with writing and the day-to-day chores of keeping a business afloat.
I’ve been blogging for about six years, made a lot of mistakes, and learned from them. I also worked for more than 15 years as a newspaper writing coach, so I have a big advantage over many other people who can’t write, or can’t write well. Here are my 5 tips for beginning bloggers.
- Review existing content you have on your hard drive and in your file cabinet. I’m betting you’ll find at least three articles, groups of tips or other content you can turn into a blog post quickly by retyping it, adding your opinion, and updating old information. Make sure it hasn’t appeared anywhere online, or you’ll fall into the “duplicate content” trap. The website where it first appeared will get credit for it, in the eyes of the search engines.
This will give you time to become comfortable with your blogging platform. Trying to do everything right, at the beginning, is frustrating.
- Several shorter posts, written over a week or two, can do you more good than one long post. Let’s say you’ve written a post on “10 ways to be a better parent and outsmart your kids.” Each of those 10 items might better serve you as separate posts where you go into greater depth on the issues. Each post can have a different set of tags, or keywords.
- Some topics aren’t worth more than a few paragraphs. Trying to stretch a topic to fill three screens of type can kill your blog and your schedule. I’ve written these quickies when alerting my audience to sources needed by a journalist, and when I come across fun things I find online like how the story of a circus elephant helps explain the definitions of advertising, promotion, publicity and PR.
- Improve your writing by experimenting with various writing styles. Seth Godin, one of the top marketing bloggers, makes his point effectively in this four-sentence post A car is not merely a faster horse. When you see another blogger’s writing technique, experiment with it in your own blog. Never plagiarize, however.
- Not every blog post has to be great, especially when you’re just starting.
- Your time might be better spent doing other things that will help you succeed in business instead of spending several hour writing a post. That’s called reality.
- Subscribe to Copyblogger’s feed and read it daily. Poke around in the archives.
Bloggers, what tips can you add to the list? How much time do you spend writing? Am I wrong?