Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Does The Idea of a Blog Intimidate You?

Tonight's chat subject is about blogging. It seems natural to assume if you're reading this blog that you see the value in them. Well, yes and no. There are many folks who enjoy reading blogs but get intimidated at the idea of doing their own. If you're a writer, you serously should consider having a blog of your own.

So what's intimidating about writing a blog? First off it's a fear of commitment. Yes, being a blog author means you need to update it regularly, post regularly and respond to reader comments. The best plan is to set up specific days for you to post. It doesn't have to be daily but can be weekly, bi-monthly or rarely monthly. If you miss some, the world won't crash but miss too many and regular readers will stop dropping in.

Another intimidation factor is a worry of having nothing to say. Sure people visit blogs where the content is interesting to them and you need to provide that for them. Here at TWC it's all information for and about writers.

The best way to get past having nothing to say is to make a plan for the blog. What's the main topic? Does the name reflect that topic? Are there specific topics on certain days? An example would be book review Friday or guest author Wednesday. Setting up a plan gives you a jump off point. When you're on a roll, write several blog posts at once and save them on your desktop. Then it's all cut and paste on post day. This works great if you're doing a series of related blog topics like a workshop style theme.

The third biggest intimidation factor is figuring out how the blog works. Just as with anything, there is a learning curve so be patient with yourself or others. Visit other blogs and ask their owners how they did something you like. Read the help files and tutorials, Google subjects you're not sure about.

So, how about a way to get your feet wet? Try guest blogging. Yes, many blogs host guest speakers or interviews as part of their topics. It's a great way for a writer to reach new audiences (heh...and promote your own blog if you've got one). Search for blogs on the topic you'd like to speak about and contact the blog owners. Typically their email address is in their biography section.

Let me close by saying that just having a blog is only part of the process. You do need to tell people about the blog or no one will ever come to read it. You can do this with announcements. Putting a link to the blog on your email signature, webpage and business cards. Whenever you talk with someone about your blog subject, invite them to your blog and don't expect them to remember it if you're talking to them in person. Write down for them the blog address and what it's subject is.

That's it! It really is fun and if you stay away from complaining or posting personal information on your blog, then it's a great way to reach people.

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