Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Get your blog underway today
If you’re new to it and you’re feeling a little apprehensive, don’t worry - we’ve all been there. There’s plenty to read on the why and how but as someone who’s been writing for over twenty years and is passionate about getting other people to jump in feet first, I wanted to put together an easy-going guide to get you started asap.
Charge up your laptop, grab a pad and pen, make coffee.
1. Jot down what you want to talk about
Your business, your hobbies, your soap-box. Find your happy place, your happy medium (pen, paper, laptop, crayon) and let it flow. Don’t overthink this bit - let your intuition do the talking and let your underpinning knowledge shine through.
2. Pick out things that further your cause
Are you raising awareness for a charity? Do you want to stand out in your industry? Do you have insight that no one else seems to be talking about? It doesn’t matter what it is, make this the centre of your story. Even if you don't mention it directly, just make sure it’s there, bubbling away under the surface.
3. Order your ideas
Use an A4 sheet if you need to or scrawl in a notebook. Write or print everything down and cut it up and reorder it with scissors if that’s your thing. What matters is that you take your reader on a journey from an initial idea or question through to an answer. Add in dollops of expertise along the way.
4. Signpost where to go next
The difference between content and copy is that content isn’t directly selling anything, it’s more subtle, it’s thought leadership. That said, don’t leave your reader hanging. Subtly lead them to click on your website to read more, pick up the phone to have a conversation or book your service - but don't make it a big deal. Know/like/trust is the big deal.
5. A picture paints…
When choosing your pics think of what your post feels like and reflect that in the images you select to go along with it. Are you going for professional, cheeky, comforting or challenging?
6. Who are you talking to?
Audience is a big deal. Don’t just think about the kind of language they’d use, think about what they’d respect, respond to, react to.
7. Write drunk, edit sober
A concept creatively attributed to Hemingway but still useful nevertheless. It doesn’t mean downing a bottle and losing yourself in inebriated drivel but it does capture the principle of letting go of third period English and reaching inside to your uninhibited self. Scribe and then leave it - come back to it in the cold light of day when you can put things right (if the hangover isn't too bad).
8. Don’t put things right (too much!)
It is possible to fiddle with a blog post forever and ever until the day you expire. Sometimes you need to do the brave thing: click post and walk away.
9. Use Grammarly (or spelling/grammar checker of your choice)
Use the free version and write away, safe in the knowledge that the software will catch your minor boo-boos in its little red net. I use a the Grammarly Chrome extension for Google Docs.
10. Have fun
Oh goodness your style is going to change as you develop as a blog writer but please, from the very beginning, enjoy your writing. It will come through, believe me. There’s nothing worse than reading something dry and lacking spirit. Write honestly, always.
A final word
Please be careful of your sources. If it’s a conversational opinion piece, please chat away. We all love this kind of thing. But if you’ve information to impart, make sure you’ve got this from a reputable place. How has it been published (a book, on the internet, in a magazine), who published it and how respected are they? What are they known for?
Give credit where it's due.
And a final, final word
My dissertation supervisor at uni told me the difference between a First and a Second grade is establishing new and interesting links between existing ideas rather than simply regurgitating them. So be innovative. If you’ve read somewhere else what you’re writing now, your audience will have too.
And a final, final, final word
Don’t plagiarise, ever. Like breaking wind in lift, it’s wrong on so many different levels (and everyone will know you’ve done it which is just embarrassing).
Go forth and write! If I’ve inspired or helped you, please get in touch and share your offering. I love love love reading things written straight from the heart. If it harbours the odd mistake but is littered with humanity and purpose, then all the better.