How to blog successfully

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While web logging or “blogging” – as it’s more widely known – is showing no signs of slowing down, there are those looking to dip their toes in the blogging waters for the first time. One woman who’s made her mark in the blogging world is helping one aspiring blogger at a time…

Author, journalist and blogger Alexandra Campbell (who owns the successful blog themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk which she started in 2013) leads workshops and consults on blogging, dispensing top tips on how to blog successfully and why you should indeed blog.

She led a select workshop for women journalists and media professionals, kindly hosted by the Corinthia Hotel and in association with WIJ in September.

Why blog?

In the workshop, Alexandra started the session by pointing out reasons for blogging. It can help:

  • Boost your website in rankings
  • Get publicity
  • Build relationships with clients
  • Provide content with social media
  • Create a reputation as an expert
  • Build an email list
  • Develop your creative voice
  • Make money
  • Improve your CV

Alexandra pointed out that blogging helps establish you as an expert in your field if you are writing content that is relevant to a specific audience; a regular-posting blog attracts hits to any websites you have, and it has become a part of an ‘author platform’ and branding. Alexandra emphasised that setting goals for your blog is the key to success.

Have a Blogging Masterplan

Alexandra advises those thinking of creating a blog to consider:

  • What will your blog be about?
  • Who is the blog for?
  • What’s in it for the reader?
  • What’s in it for you?
  • How will you measure your success?

Have one person in mind

Unlike writing for magazines and newspapers which is usually for a particular demographic and/or group, Alexandra suggested that when you are writing for blogs, it’s helpful to aim at a particular type of reader, with the following factors firmly established:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Socio-economic status
  • Hobbies
  • Family life etc

That way the posts have a focus and a reason for a person to seek your content out, and it’s less likely to be wishy-washy.

Alexandra also tackled:

  • How to come up with ideas for blog posts: including case studies; tips; news; reviews; professional insights; your professional life; questions; season/perennial topics; celebrity; interviews; lists; information curation; negative stories/lessons learned and research.
  • The structure of a blog post: the importance of headlines – a smart headline helps the reader establish what’s in it for them; keyword inclusion throughout the first paragraph; subheadings which keep the post scannable and skimmable; good images; and a call to action.
  • Easy ways of creating or acquiring blog post images – Alexandra recommended some sites such as unsplash.com and gratisography.com – and the importance of tagging/adding alt text.

Design design

Deciding domain name can affect a blog’s success, as can where the blog will be hosted, so consider how much you’re prepared to pay to host.  Clarity trumps cleverness so black text on a pale background would be first choice. A web designer is recommended to ensure design translates to mobile, tablets as well as laptops and desktops.

Promoting your blog is key

Alexandra also pointed out the importance of promotion. After all, who will read it if you haven’t mentioned it? Ways of doing so:

  • Ask friends and family to talk about it – be selective about which posts you ask them to promote as you can’t do this every time
  • Guest posts
  • Commenting on other blogs via a genuine conversation
  • Social media – Alexandra mentioned Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as potentially most effective, with Pinterest for female-based products, but also said these are not set in stone.
  • Blogging collectives
  • Press releases
  • Your email signature
  • Submit your site to search engines

 

Money money money

Alexandra also covered advertising, sponsored posts, affiliate sales, products to sell, services to sell – and selling your blog.

At the workshop, the women left feeling inspired and ready to make a start on creating blogs, so look out for them, world!

What are your tips for blogging? Do you even like to blog and if you do what do you blog about? Send us a tweet @WIJ_UK #WIJblogging

Alexandra is available for training and coaching and can be found at themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk

Ebunola is a social media executive at Gorkana and budding fashion illustrator. Some of her work can be viewed at instagram.com/ebunola1 and she can be found tweeting at twitter.com/ebunola1

 

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