More Advice for Beginning Bloggers

More Advice for Beginning Bloggers

Here are a few things that new bloggers need to keep in mind:

Blog posts are ephemeral.

If you are going to post frequently, then many (MOST) of your posts will be forgotten. Although it is important to craft your posts thoughtfully to create good content, you will not write the perfect post every time. I really only feel fantastic about a post once every 3-4 weeks. It is just impossible — and not even really expected — that you will turn out something great all the time unless you’re Wally Bock… but he is a professional writer and 63 years (and a half) years old and my bet is that only one person reading this post will meet that criteria (Hi, Wally!)

Let your posts rest a bit before you put them up.

Please believe me when I tell you that I understand the urgency you feel about posting right away. You’re creative; you blog because you want feedback about your ideas. But your work will be better if you let it rest and come back to it after some time. You will have new perspective when you re-read it later. Try reading the post aloud because doing that will help you catch awkward phrasing or misplaced words.

Use an editor.

Having someone else read your posts is helpful. I have two colleagues who read each of my posts before they are published. Their careful reading helps me improve both the content and the technical aspects  of my writing. Your editor doesn’t need to be a paid professional, but if you choose a friend, you want someone who is not afraid to offer helpful suggestions. You need more than just a “this is great” even though that is nice too.

Try not to overanalyze or worry about your posts.

The most important thing is to just write another post and continue on. There really isn’t time to fret about something once it’s been posted and read. People really read more for content than writing, anyway. Think about it… what posts are you drawn to? My bet is that it’s ones that have content that resonates with you in some way or teaches you something. Of course, there needs to be some level of skill with the writing, but not perfection. Plenty of so-so writers have excellent, well respected, and widely read blogs.

If you are a seasoned blogger, what other advice would you offer? If you are a new blogger, what other topics would you like to see addressed here?

 

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission. 

Filed As:  editing, perspective

About Becky Robinson

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

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  • You are right on to say most of our posts will be forgotten. Heck, most won’t even be read! That’s not why we post. We do it for ourselves. I think satisfaction, not perfection, is the goal. I would disagree with one point, that of using an editor. That’s good advice if someone wants to be a professional blogger, but most of us just want to blog about our profession. I try to minimize them, but I don’t care really if my blog has an error. That to me is part of the magic of this platform. Your writing should not be sloppy for sure, but it does not have to be perfect – not even close. Even Bob Sutton (the gold standard blog for me) has errors in many of his post.
    Thanks for encouraging folks!

  • Great post and a real keeper Becky. Thanks! Your practical tips here are surefire tools for all good writing, and much appreciated!
    On a smaller note – Would you agree that Wally Bock writes so well because he is gifted with linguistic intelligence? In addition, he has developed his sense of cadence (musical intelligence) and metaphoric acumen (spatial intelligence). Wally connects to and both learns from and teaches other listed leaders (intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence skills). He is highly logical (logical mathematical intelligence) and interested in contributing the world he inhabits (naturalistic intelligence).
    It’s just that Wally’s age had less to do with his talent than his brain and his consistent and lifelong learning.
    What do you think?

  • Bret –
    I can understand your point of view about not using an editor, but for people just starting out, it can be hard to get a sense of how long posts should be, especially. Letting someone else read is not really about catching errors so much as it is about having an opportunity to sharpen your message. Often when I read posts from new bloggers, their posts are long enough to split to 2 or even 3 posts. An outside reader might be able to give that advice.

  • Wow, Ellen… thanks for your insight and for adding your expertise to this post.
    I refer to Wally’s age because I think his wealth of experience (that comes with age) with writing contributes to his success. The sense of cadendence Wally brings to his writing is amazing; in fact, he and I have discussed his enjoyment of poetry and how he has honed his writing by practicing various forms of poetry https://blog.momentor.com/poetry-deliberate-improvement-and-me. One reason I recommend reading posts aloud is because I think it helps in developing that sense of cadence.
    I hope Wally sees your comment, Ellen, because you so aptly described his gifts and abilities.

  • Another great post Becky. I agree strongly with your “let it rest” and “editor” points. With my blog, I’ve found it very helpful to sleep on a post and then let someone else review it prior to publishing.

  • Becky, Wall is a leader and leader of leaders that I especially admire for all the reasons you articulated so well here:-)
    I once heard Margaret Atwood state that writers are born, not made. Fact is — they are both, if we consider writing – with the brain in mind. Agree?
    Glad to toss in my two bits here – to support your thoughtful sketch of Wally’s writing – because it’s a gem I value too:-)
    Great site and a fun find:-)

  • Hi Becky:
    Solid advice for new those new to blogging. I also share the sentiments expressed by you and Ellen in regard to Wally’s incredible gifts as a writer. Thanks for sharing Becky…

  • Thanks for this post Becky. As someone new to the blogging game I’m always interested in finding what works and what doesn’t.
    I really appreciate your point of not over analyzing and worrying about posts. I think this goes hand-in-hand with what Bret is saying about blogging for yourself. It’s really easy to get caught up in thinking that every post needs to be a masterpiece or having a need to always getting more traffic. I have to constantly remind myself why I’m doing this in the first place. That’s when I enjoy it most.

  • Mike – Thanks!
    Tom – I have to admit that I haven’t taken a look at Bret’s advice to bloggers. I had these posts planned and didn’t want to be influenced by what he had to say. Thanks for reminding me that I want to go back and read/watch his posts.
    If you keep providing good content, the traffic will come. It can be discouraging in the beginning, but it seems like you have a good perspective. Readers (and writers) are built one post at a time. Keep up the good work.

  • When I started, the two words that I heard that stuck with me were persistence and consistency. I figure that if I keep doing what I’ve been doing, in a consistent manner AND I continue to enjoy it, others will want to come and join me.

  • Becky, I’m tremendously honored to be held up as an exemplar of sorts. Thanks for all those kind words. I’ll reply to all the nice things you and others said about me in another comment. I need to think a bit on that before I write.
    On the blog issues, though, I think you hit the target dead center. If you’re writing to be read, then letting a piece cool before publishing is good advice.
    As it happens, I also agree with Bret on this. One of the strengths of the blogging platform is that errors can underline the humanity. BUT, that’s more likely to be a good thing if your posts are as good andas interesting as Bret’s are. Otherwise, you risk readers taking an error in spelling or grammar as evidence of an error in logic or research.
    If you’re going to try blogging give it long enough to establish a rhythm for your writing. Four to six weeks seems about right for most people. If it doesn’t work for you, let it go and move on to something else.

  • Even non-bloggers like me can find value in this post – the advice carries over to tweets. One of the reasons I choose not to blog is that there are so many others (like Wally, Bret, Becky et al) who do such a magnificent job. I applaud their efforts, and learn much from their posts.

  • Wally,
    Thanks for the idea of trying out blogging for 4-6 weeks. Honestly, a trial period for a blog is something that never occured to me. It makes sense, though. Social media outlets are not one size fits all and you need to try out several before you find your niche.
    Angie,
    Thanks so much for chiming in. I am glad that you found value in the post even though you aren’t blogging. There is alway room for another great blogger though!
    And, Angie, can you think of anything more ephemeral than a tweet? That comforts me at times, certainly.

  • Your advice to allow a post to rest for a bit before publishing is sound not just for blogs but for any document you create. It can be very difficult to have the patience to do so, but there are certainly plenty of instances we can all recall where an outstanding point occurred to us (or worse, recognition of an error) soon after clicking the “publish” button. Of course, it is always possible to go back and edit later, but this feels like fighting fires and early readers will get the original, “sub-optimal” text.

  • This for provides incredibly wise advice. I do think taking the time to reflect on what you have written is so important. How many times have I posted and then found an error that will distract the reader or I’ve had another useful thought! I am grateful to Wally for the recognition he gave when I first started blogging. His encouragement made a very big impression. I don’t think he appreciates how highly regarded and liked he really is!

  • Becky – Another excellent post. Your sound, steady, take a breath advice seems like it might be part of your brand. Your points relate to seasoned bloggers as well.
    A few additions:
    Blog becomes brand. Choose topics and point of view you want to be known for. Individual blogs may be forgotten but the overall impression remains.
    Grab ’em at hello. Make sure the title and the first few sentences get people’s attention and deliver what they say.
    Use the 10 second principle. Resume lore has it that people will give the page a 10 second glance and if interested will then spend more time and read more thoroughly. So use topic sentences, graphics, white space etc. to emphasize major points of interest.
    Use blogging to create community. Engage people so they leave comments and want to return to see what others are saying as well.
    And speaking of community – Did Wally intentionally create that typo to illustrate his point? If so, very clever. If not, very clever.
    Best to all bloggers old and new

  • The typo was NOT on purpose. I guess that makes me clever by accident. Sometimes that happens.
    I’m a fast writer and far better at making typos than catching them.
    For me there’s a difference in comments and blog posts. I let blog posts sit and read them out loud before posting. I rarely do that with comments. It’s mostly a time management issue.

  • Here are some thoughts on the “great writing every time” part of the post.
    https://wallybockwritesforbusiness.blogspot.com/2009/11/great-work.html

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