Blogging Guide, Part 2: Ready, Set, Write!

Click here for Blogging Guide, Part 1: Which Platform is Right…

So you finally did it. You have your own blog. Congrats!

Now what?

While the blank page can be intimidating, to face a blog post shouldn’t be. You’re responsible for shortish pieces on whatever strikes your fancy and, unlike in a novel – which requires believable dialog, a plot arc and a storya good blog post needs mostly personality.

Whether you’re sticking to one niche (e.g. the road to publication or writing tips for authors) or a number of subjects, the material you present must reveal you in some way. Without this your text will be bland, making it harder to forge a personal connection with your readers.

Connections, you’re asking? Who needs ‘em?

Everyone. The Internet is a vast world and there are plenty of places for people to turn so here are 10 blog prompts to get you and your followers thinking:

1. Look at what’s trending on Twitter (by hashtag) and write an opinion piece about the topic at hand. Remember to use your researching skills to back up your argument.

2. Come up with a weekly feature. For example, maybe every Wednesday you interview an author about writing or his/her process. Or on Tuesdays you post a photo of your work area and write about your progress. Whatever it is, be consistent.

3. Talk shop, er, books and articles. What have you read recently that you loved or hated? What is your favorite book of all time? Why do you prefer one specific genre over another? Or do you no longer read at all, and why?

4. What challenges or fears have you faced in life and overcome? Inspirational writing is always popular.

5. Make a top 10 list. From nail colors to the best advice on book cover concepts; do your research and show off what you’ve found.

6.  Thoughtfully reply to a blog post by someone else in your niche and kick off a back-and-forth conversation about a controversial (or just plain important) topic.

7. Can’t think of anything nice to say? Don’t say anything at all, then. Instead sum up your feelings by posting a meaningful quote by your favorite philosopher, writer, actor, or musician.

8. As writers, we love words, but appreciate the other fine arts, too. Don’t shy away from putting up a video you found on YouTube or a photo of your favorite coffee shop, carnival ride or pet. These small glimpses into your life will be appreciated by your readers.

9. What do you want to accomplish over the next year and how will you get there? Tell your readers so they can root for you. And remember to talk about your progress now and again.

10. Still not inspired? Check out these interactive prompts that will get your mind churning.

Now that you’re raring to blog, remember that it’s only the first part of your online journaling journey. Promoting your work is next, meaning:

  • Send an e-mail to friends and family letting them know you’re joining the blogging ranks and ask them to send your URL on to others who may be interested
  • Reach out to other bloggers you know, or don’t, and introduce yourself. Perhaps you’ll want to feature one of their posts one day, or vice versa
  • Post a link to each of your blog posts on Facebook and on Twitter so your fans and followers can keep up with what you’re up to
  • Tag your posts so that they’ll be found by others with similar interests

Once you start blogging you may never want to stop. Soon, conversations with friends, last night’s sunset or your experience at the grocery store will become online fodder for you and your followers. Most importantly, enjoy the journey to finding your cyber-self.

For a great example, check out this Lulu author’s blog about her writing experience: TraceyJaneSmith.com. Have your own to share? Show it off in the comments below!

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5 Comments

  1. I started a humorous Mon.-Fri. photoblog in November, 2010 (and have never missed a weekday post). My blog has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

    Most bloggers I know make a point to thank visitors who leave a “like” or a comment and often return the visit, so the best way to drive traffic to your blog is to visit other blogs of interest and interact. I am now on a first-name basis with about 20 photographers from around the world because we comment on each other’s posts so often. I cherish this virtual community and look forward to their comments!

    Before I learned the importance of visiting and commenting on other blogs it took me the first 5 months to reach a total of 1,500 page hits. I had more than that number of hits just this last month, and I’m on track to exceed 10,000 all-time page hits this month.

    Blogging should be fun, not drudgery, so it’s important to write about what interests you and post at a frequency you can maintain* without getting burnt out. –John

    * I’m glad I started my blog as a WEEKDAY one or it would have killed me.

  2. Morgan

    What great feedback, John! Thanks for sharing your insights and experience with our other authors.

  3. Great tips! They’re certainly tested and true. Albeit, you must tend to Twitter and Facebook if you plan to publicize through them.

    When I first started blogging, I began with random posts about my life, quite carelessly composed. As I progressed, I learned to make quality entries which, aside from forging relations with other bloggers, is one of the most effective means of achieving popularity.

    Tip: Photography is a hot topic, once I started posting from my (quality, not overly blurry or uninteresting) collections, viewers and subscribers increased exponentially, to the point where I might have one or two subscribers a day.

    My blog is multi-subject, with reviews of all sorts (books, movies, music, and other technologies), photographs from around the world, excerpts from my writings, philosophical nuggets, occasional quotes, Spiritual insight, and personal updates.

    As a result, my subscribers vary as much as the subject – writers, photographers, movie directors, ordinary people delving into philosophy, etc.

    Another good thing is to have a “Mission Statement” of sorts, to let your readers know what you intend to do on your blog, and where you stand in regards to worldview, mine is located on the “About Me” page of my blog.

  4. I too started my blogging with random posts about my life. As the months have gone on I have learned to provide interesting and helpful content to readers. I do not post every day, but do aim for at least twice per week. Writing and self-publishing a book has also taught me to keep the reader in mind. If you have nothing to offer the reader, they will not stay or come back again.

  5. As a self-published new author, I started a blogging website with the title: Perspectives on Religion. It seems hard for me to discipline myself to writing more than a couple of times a month, especially since I know I have no followers other than family and friends. I appreciate reading these Lulu blogs for hints on how to do better … and I’ll appreciate even more to come! Any specific suggestions for me out there?

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Blogging Guide, Part 2: Ready, Set, Write! (lulu.com) [...]

  2. [...] Part 2 of this guide will include ways to kick off your blog including writing prompts, advice on how often to post, and much more: “Blogging Guide, Part 2: Ready, Set, Write!” [...]

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