So you wanna be a blogger?

A friend of mine started a blog a few months ago and put up his first post. It was outstanding. A month later I realized I hadn’t seen anything else come through my email for his blog, so I went and checked it, and it still had only one post. Since he is a close friend, I wrote to him the following email:

Dear [name]:

Congratulations on an excellent opening blog post and for posting as many times as the average new blogger posts before abandoning the idea: once.

dave

I have seen this more times than I can count. It’s not always once, but often just a handful of posts before a person just moves on to other things. I guess that’s how you know if you’re a blogger. Bloggers blog. Writers write.

It is harder work, and longer work, than you can even imagine. You think you’re just going to share your life with the world, but you learn quickly that nobody cares to read about your life. You have to find a way to connect your life to the lives of your readers. That’s not easy. No one cares what you had for dinner — if personal stuff like that is all you’ve got, keep it on Facebook. Same with typos, bad writing, and lack of attention to detail.

Then there’s SEO — search engine optimization. I don’t even want to write much about this as it will scare the living daylights out of you. But it’s something you’ll have to do at some point.

Then there’s learning to write. Most bloggers start blogging because they love writing and think they’re good at it. There’s no better way to find out how much you need to learn about writing than starting a blog and trying to write regularly, and well, for a growing audience.

Then there’s the discipline of actually doing it.

There’s also the process of figuring out where your authoritative voice is. What can you write about that you are an expert on? Maybe you’re not an expert on something but are you funny? Are you a fantastically literate writer? In short, why should anyone come read your blog? What’s in it for them? How can you add value to the lives of your readers?

Then there’s social media. At some point you’ll have to get familiar with how to market yourself through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.

Then there’s growing your blog. I’m a living example that it will never happen unless you go way, way beyond your current circle of influence. You’ll need to guest post on other blogs, ask if people will interview you and link to your blog, get on TV if possible — generate interest and buzz about your work every way possible. Incidentally, I have been terrible at this because of my introversion  If anyone reading this post, who has more than a thousand subscribers, would be willing to look at my “serious” blog at DavidKFlowers.com and contact me about an interview or guest post, or tweet out some of my stuff, I would so greatly appreciate it. That is, if I can add value to your life as well somehow, of course.

As I have said, this is not my serious blog, the one I’m really focusing on trying to promote. My purpose is not to write an exhaustive piece about blogging, it is just to give you a perspective on how much is involved. If you want to learn more, Google tips for new bloggers. It’s a gold mine out there!

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I am a licensed counselor in Michigan. I also teach for Spring Arbor University part-time.

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Posted in Blogging

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