June 10, 2010 by SheBeJack
I had a relationship once with a blog. We didn’t work out. He was entirely too demanding of my time and it took a lot of work to get to know him. So, I sent him off into the blog wasteland. Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience. So, who better to learn from than those of us who have failed? We have perspective and we’re hungry to ‘make it right.’ When a colleague of mine asked for my thoughts on what to say to his Millennial students when it came to writing and marketing blogs, I hesitated, but then replied:
Writing Your Blog:
1. Have something to say that’s worth reading: If you, Millennials, are the cause generation, then seize the challenge. Write about what you care about, while keeping your audience in mind. Content is still king even if the cliché is wearing itself out. If you want someone to read it, aside from your parents (love you Mom), then you have to promote it. Promotion means nothing, if your product stinks.
2. Know and enjoy your subject: My own blogging career has been shameful. One, because it’s practically non-existent, which isn’t okay given what I do professionally, and two, because I quit the blog I started. Ouch. That’s rough on the ego. The blog I built was around a subject that I knew nothing about: Corporate Social Responsibility. The concept: Is it possible for companies to truly be triple bottomline focused; people, planet, profits? I was passionate (or so I thought) about the subject, but I had little to say without first doing a ton of research. Therefore, the subject quickly became work, work I did not enjoy. Here’s a screen shot of my dead blog. May he rest in peace.
So give consideration to your topic. Is this something you actually have an opinion about (that will extend beyond two posts)? Writing and blogging can be about serious, professional, and important causes but you should not forget that writing is a creative expression. And creating is joyous. Don’t lose sight of your joy, or your blog will be over before a search engine even has time to find you.
3. Edit Yourself: Many of us, myself included, are still having a hard time with the idea that reading on the web is not like snuggling up to your favorite book. It sounds elementary but the basics remain. Good web writing is directed, concise and ‘skimmable’. Regarding length, remember that word count does not equal quality and this truth is magnified on the web. Keep your audience in mind, when considering length and edit yourself! Here’s a marketing guru, Seth Godin, who’s great at writing concise and well-edited blogs.
Marketing Your Blog
1. Don’t Assume Audience. Millennials often make the mistake of assuming audience. That’s not a criticism. It’s an assumption that’s evolved from your environment. You have been carefully nurtured and attended to by parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, teachers, coaches, friends and even people you do not know. If you have something worth saying then you’re going to have to prove it and do the work of tracking down an audience.
2. Find Your People: There are countless resource and blogs devoted to this but you’ll never know about them if you don’t do the research. Building an audience means being purposeful. You don’t have to be strategic at first, grab whomever you can, but overtime you can start to hone in on the types of targets you wish to reach (grad school recruiters, corporations, World of Warcraft aficionados, whomever) And remember to cover the basics, register on search engines, create an easy yet memorable url address, write content worth reading, etc.
3. Pay attention to opportunities: Corporations and ad agencies are currently hot on ‘blogger outreach’. In this somewhat new area of marketing, corporations are working hand-in-hand with bloggers offering free products and encouraging independent reviews. You can establish yourself as an expert in a field and maybe make a few bucks on the side depending on your interest level.
4. Spread the Love: Be sure that you build ‘blogger love’ by linking to other blogs when it’s relevant, encouraging comments and responding promptly to comments made on your blog. Consider writing guest blogs on other sites. Invite others to guest post on your site. Spreading the love not only builds community, it increased your likelihood of being noticed on search engines and other sites.
Now I’m off to give this blogging thing another try and to do my best in taking my own advice. Don’t expect perfection. That will keep you from enjoying the creative process and stall you out. Just keep trying and keep writing. Good luck to both of us.