Some people say blogging is dead.
So what. People have also been saying the printed book is dead (it isn’t) and that writing is dead (not true).
Blogging is still a vibrant tool for you and/or your business. In fact, as social media becomes more crowded and paid-ad oriented, you should look at relying more on your own site to engage your customers/readers.
And let’s not forget that you own the content of your blog, whereas on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc., you own nothing. Any of those sites could delete you tomorrow and you’d lose the content you put on those pages. Gone. And there’s not much you can do about it.
But you own your website. That’s the big reason to post all content of value to your website first, and then repost (or link) it elsewhere, like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Medium, etc.
The purpose of this post is to give you some quick advice on blogging. This isn’t a definitive list, just something to get you going or to restart you if you’ve stopped.
- Just do it. Blog often, but at least weekly. More if you can, but don’t worry about frequency as much as consistency. If you can only blog once a week right now, do that. But make sure you hit it every week. Preferably on the same day, but don’t stress if that doesn’t happen. Just get moving.
- The important thing is to start writing and to keep writing: that’s both for your increasing your skill and establishing/maintaining your audience. Basketball players don’t get better at jump shots by shooting once a month. They shoot many shots often. The same is true of writing. Practice, practice, practice.
- The other good thing about practice? You lose your fear. Just like how getting under a heavy snatch will ease your trepidation of executing a heavy snatch, same thing with writing. If you produce regular content, it gets easier to let those thoughts out of your head and into the heads of others.
- Go negative at your own risk. I’m not saying don’t do it, just know what you’re getting into. While negative blogs garner attention initially (“Hey, did you see what Jack Wagon wrote?”), they tend to lose their flavor rapidly and can leave your reader with a bad taste. (This is especially true for gym owners who have housekeeping or behavior issues to address. Save that stuff for in-person conversations. Don’t become Debbie Downer.)
- Teach. Your blog is an excellent opportunity to instruct and illuminate. You don’t have to write amazing truths or make expert-level instruction videos. (Awesome, but not necessary.) If you are able to select great content from a multitude of resources and thereby enable your audience to learn from it, you can have a lively and informative blog to which people will return
- Photos matter. Shoot a bunch. (For every photo I publish, I shoot ten you never see.) You don’t have to publish them all. (Please don’t publish them all.) But pick one or two or three good ones.
- Use a good camera if you have one. Quality equipment can make a huge difference.
- Think about the background of the shot. Train your eye to look for things that detract from a shot, like an open bathroom door or a pile of garbage. Nobody likes a photo of their clean and jerk PR with a toilet in the background.
- Edit your photos. You don’t need to go crazy. Edit/filter enough to improve but not dramatically change the skin color, and hue of everyone/everything in the shot. My favorite photo editor is Snapseed. I do most of my photo editing on my phone, even if I didn’t shoot on my phone. This might be blasphemy for real photographers, but so what. I’m not a real photographer. I’m a writer.
- Stay short. This doesn’t mean you have to “listicle” but many people have short attention spans. I do. Mostly, I try to stay under 800 words. Get in and get out. I know some folks say that longer posts are shared more, but are you aiming for maximum shares? Or are you aiming for maximum communication to your audience? If you aim for the latter, you’ve got a good chance at gaining the former too. Communicate your ideas effectively, and people will share them. But they won’t share your ideas if your writing is long and boring and confusing. And that’s why I’m ending this post right now.