So you want to start blogging. What does writing a good blog take? What makes it engagingly readable? And bring people back for more? Would some tips and traps help?
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So why bother writing a (good) blog?
If you’re reading (or listening to) this, you’re probably an already accomplished professional in your field. Or what I like to call your life’s work? Maybe ready to share some of all that acquired experience? Ready also to “give something back”? But all the while accepting the benefit of raising your visibility, credibility and presence in doing so, right?
Well, over 10 years of regular blogging has proven to me to be an excellent way to project and to position ourselves as the authority that we are in our field. Blogging strongly extends our credibility and grows our visibility. Provided it has good, relevant content that is published regularly and consistently.
Way back in June 2009 one of my clients suggested I start blogging from all the experience my coaching leverages and engenders. He recommended I use the free version of WordPress and just get started. Plus he offered to publish it via his website. He never did. But I got started nonetheless.
In my very first blog I outlined my purpose and objectives and made a commitment to write regularly. Which was to “give something back” by sharing insights in the public domain that my coaching of business people just like you and me created every week. And to develop a collection of relevant resources that my clients could use to broaden or deepen their perspectives around what we were specifically coaching on. Maybe even to create the basis for my IP over time? And here we are 11 years and 300 blogs later. And blogging is something I’ve become very well known for.
You will know what drives you and what you wish to achieve by starting to write. It’s the vital starting point for any blogging journey.
Writing a Good Blog is integral to being a Key Person of Interest
a) having a good “elevator pitch” to succinctly describe who you are and what you do
b) regularly publishing content (eg blogging)
c) creating IP (intellectual property) out of your knowledge, experience and wisdom
d) raising your profile and
e) partnering with other high-performers.
I’ve found that blogging aids all the above very well.
Blogging makes it so easy to share insights and reflections. To let others benefit from your expertise and experience. Preferably backed up by recent, practical experience and relevant case studies. And referring to useful resources like books, research and other useful websites.
Other than your time and effort, it’s free to air. Yes, you will undoubtedly target certain audiences depending on your purpose. But you’ll have no idea where in the world someone will find, and read or listen to what you have to say.
So what makes a good blog good?
For me there are two primary things that matter:
- Having something to say – that is, relevant, topical, valuable and interesting content
- Saying it well – in ways that really engage the reader so they “feel like he or she’s talking to me“. And that will relate to many people.
Many people suggest why they enjoy reading my blogs is that my style is “conversational”, diplomatic and non-confrontational. That it is interesting enough to keep them engaged to read (or listen) to the end. That I prefer asking questions to making statements. Guiding the reader to what I’m suggesting. Or ending a sentence with a question, right? So that they feel like I’m talking to or with them. Not necessarily about them, and certainly not at them, if you see what I mean?
I like to write so the reader feels included. “We” is preferred to you or I. Suggesting we’re in this together. It helps with Being more Relatable. We are hopefully starting a dialogue as readers can choose to comment on your post, or contact you directly.
Readers love a story. I’ve found facts are better remembered when wrapped in a story. Metaphors rule. They relate in pictures. People relate to pictures. Which aid the story aspects our minds love. Villains can be hidden in the characters of a story instead of having to point a finger at someone or something.
Relevant research underpins credibility. Leaning on what an authority said is much more powerful than just saying it ourselves. Acknowledging the source is professional.
Humour helps. But not at the expense of anyone else. We supposedly learn and absorb better when our humour has been piqued. We can relate better. And are supposedly “more open” and also absorb better when we’re smiling.
We have to be sooooo much more politically correct these days. For instance, amongst friends I might suggest that “I’m a German with a sense of humour“. That could easily be taken as offensive by other Germans. So I’d never write that (smiley face).
I’ve found that many people feel somewhat self-conscious at the start of their blogging journey. I know I did. I wrote about this also in Writer’s block – what’s stopping you? so I won’t elaborate here. Other than to say that somewhere out there, there is someone that needs, and is waiting for your message. For something you are best equipped to provide from your very own and unique background. You don’t know who or where they are. What you know, from your own experience, is the kind of pain, frustration or desire for change they may feel. So why not just write for them?
We all struggle with the fear of being judged, don’t we? Particularly by peers. And even more the ones that are overly critical and don’t mind having to show their superiority, right? Are you really going to let those few (I nearly said bullies) have that much power over you? I believe we have a choice on who to focus on. And I hope you choose to serve those looking for your message. You’ll never satisfy the others. So why bother trying?
And perhaps reading a little about that old chestnut that gets in the way of so many good, new initiatives: Procrastination.
Writing a Good Blog – so what?
Once you’ve overcome the typical initial inhibitions, and get started, with a purpose and a commitment (and someone to help hold you accountable), I know you’ll find your rhythm. Blogging is such a great opportunity to help you enjoy that you are adding value along the way.
As an author (of Life Learning’s of a Life Coach), I know what it takes to write a book. Blogging is soooo much easier. I’ve found that collecting your thoughts around a theme or topic is not only useful to add value for others to benefit from. But also to gain more clarity around your thinking around that for yourself.
I’ve realised while penning this blog post, that what I want to share is far too long for one blog post. So, having dealt with the “why” in this post, I’ve separated the “how” into another post called: “Tools and Techniques for Good Blogging“.