by Chuck Whiting
In this fast-changing digital world, the art of blogging has become a fun and educational pastime for many. Over the years, I’ve found that readership picks up when you provide information people can use. Following are a few tips for creating a successful blog.
* Choose a topic/activity you love or have experience with. Most bloggers write about things they’ve learned and applied in real life.
* Fact-check… Then fact-check again. Even veterans in the field are prone to occasional mistakes. Make sure your information is up to date, and read each blog article several times before uploading.
* Consider the tone of your blog articles. Being rude or overly critical doesn’t usually land you brownie points. Try to take a positive approach to the topic at hand. You want to build a strong reputation for professionalism and fairness.
* Follow the rules in the Associated Press Stylebook. Okay, I admit to harping on this a lot in my articles. But following the rules of professional journalists will help add credibility to your writing. And, who knows? A newspaper or magazine editor might ask you to write for them… or better yet, re-post your articles.
* Double-check grammar, punctuation and spelling. Here I go again. But you want to be sure you’re not embarrassed by misspelling someone’s name… or causing confusion with run-on sentences. Readers are impatient. Write clearly, and they might keep reading. Write poorly, and they’ll quickly move on.
* Choose a good platform for your blog. There are a number of free blogging sites from which to choose. They include www.Blogger.com (by Google), www.Wordpress.com, and www.Tumblr.com. You can conduct a Google search to see what other easy-to-use sites are out there. I chose Blogger because it’s easy to use and has strong SEO keyword traction. It sometimes takes only a few minutes for my posts at Music City Arts Update to appear in my mailbox as Google Alerts. This has helped the artists and organizations I support, as well as my clients. But Blogger may not be the best platform for you, especially if you are linking the other things you do such as podcasting. I’d recommend your studying all of the most popular blogging sites to make the best decision for the long haul.
* Include a photo or art with each article. That adds color and helps build interest.
* Provide links to your website (as well as a way for people to contact you) in every article. With Blogger, you can click on key words to create links. However, you have to be careful not to “clutter” your articles with links. Otherwise, your article might be branded as “spam”.
* Once your blog article is uploaded, you will want to let everyone know about it on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Copy your website link at the top of the page. If you need to shorten the link for Twitter, visit www.Bitly.com or other abbreviator. Write a sentence, paste in your link, and you’re ready to share your insights with the rest of the world.
* Don’t be disappointed if someone writes later to say you goofed on a fact or two. Actually, that can be a good thing. You’ll learn something new and be able to improve your article. You can always edit what you write.
* Something to remember: Once you click “send”, your blog article will probably exist online forever. This is especially true if friends decide to share it with others. So be careful before you click “send”.
Of course, there are many experiences (good and bad) I could share about my blogging experience. Feel free to drop me a note if you have any questions: Arts@WhitingPublicity.com. And don’t forget to visit my blog: www.MusicCityArtsUpdate.com.
Chuck Whiting is founder of Whiting Publicity, an adjunct professor at MTSU and Motlow State, and co-author/co-songwriter of “The Littlest Star” holiday book and music CD. Learn more about him at www.WhitingPublicity.com.
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