The beauty of blogging is that anyone can publish anything, anytime.
Its downfall, too, is that we can all publish anything, anytime.
The endless options of topics about which to write and angles from which to write can be overwhelming. The insane number of blogs and blog posts already floating around out there in cyberspace can feel intimidating.
Regardless, you have a voice, and it deserves to be heard. The good news is, with consistent practice, we can hone our writing, blogging and marketing skills.
Here are 10 simple tips on how to break through the clutter of the bazillion blog posts being published today.
1. The title has to rock.
Without a great blog title, few will click on your post. I find that putting numbers in my titles does wonders. (Sometimes.) There are no hard and fast rules. Titles need to be intriguing, unique, and captivating. Spend time on the title. Come up with a bunch and narrow it down to the best one. Ask for others’ opinions if you feel like it. Always make your title something that, as a reader, you’d definitely click. (Here’s a great, free resource on writing powerful headlines.)
However, even with a fabulous title, if the post is inadequate, no one will be compelled to comment or share. And comments and sharing is what spreads your message far and wide.
2. Make your posts amazing.
Be creative, honest and compelling. Follow up your amazing title with an equally amazing post, whether it is an article, poem, essay, video, or whatever. Be passionate about what you write; share your views and feelings. Be open. Share something of yourself without apology.
Say something specific! Offer information of value to the reader.
3. Read well-crafted books & blogs.
Seeking inspiration? Read books about the craft of writing. Also, read books that are not about writing. Read great authors—fiction, nonfiction, memoir, poetry, classic, postmodern. Whatever calls to you. You absorb bits of style, syntax and diction by reading the writers you admire most.
Also: read great blogs. Know your medium. Blogs are usually on the shorter side, but whatever the length, notice how most great blog posts are made up of chunks: short paragraphs, lists, quotes, section headings. Notice what blogs make you want to keep reading. Emulate the successful—but be true to your own voice.
4. Be compassionate.
Consider others’ points of view. Respond to comments with gratitude and compassion for the reader who took the time to read and the effort to write a comment. And if you get any really nasty, mean comments (which you probably will, eventually)—don’t hesitate to delete them. The internet is teeming with terribly closed-minded comments; it can do without any more.
5. Be a humble expert.
You are somebody who knows something about something—through experience. Consider yourself an expert in what you are writing about. Know all about it.
6. Be a sponge.
At the same time, you are a beginner. Be open, curious, in awe. Thinking less of yourself is humility. Wanting to be something other than who you are, wanting to run from what you are experiencing in this moment, is a natural, human tendency.
Feeling small, frustrated or petty? Pause, breathe, and get in touch with your purpose, your heart, the reason you put words on the page. Recall your innate goodness and inextricable connection to all else.
7. Ditch perfectionism.
Writing is a skill. Skills take practice. We are constantly changing, evolving, and sometimes even improving. Let your writing reflect that.
Any legitimate writer needs to write, often. As daily as your life allows. Keep a notebook with you or nearby at all times for jotting down ideas when they come to you.
Develop the ideas that are the most interesting to you. Write about anything and everything. Write what you know. Write what you don’t know. Write where you’ve been. Write where you’re going. The options are limitless!
8. Beware of oversharing.
A rookie mistake of many personal bloggers is sharing too much information about their personal lives. While a personal connection and anecdotes from one’s own life experience are valuable and should be a regular part of your blog posts, be sure to know your boundaries and draw the line where you feel comfortable, personally and professionally. I suggest keeping a personal diary separate from your other notebooks or files on the computer.
9. Use categories and tags.
If you don’t know how, learn. Labeling your posts with relevant categories and tags helps your blog’s search function better and can help keep readers on your site reading archived posts about topics that interest them.
10. Live by example.
Don’t just write about yoga, mindfulness, meditation, relationships, parenting, gardening, or whatever it is you are writing about. Live it. Practice what you preach. Live with integrity and express your truth through actions, not mere words.
These are just a few guidelines that I try to remember throughout my own writing process. Rules are made to be broken.
One last reminder. Earning lots of page views is super and exciting, but sometimes a piece that gets just a few hundred views will connect with just one individual reader who is so moved that they leave a thankful comment.
As a blogger, that’s what I’m writing for.