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How to Really Blog: The 43 Things That Bloggers Do

How to Really Blog: The 43 Things That Bloggers Do

    Question: “What do  you do?”

    Really Short Answer: “I am a blogger.”

    Blank look. After about 2 seconds — question: “What is that?”

    Answer: “I am a web writer and I share my thoughts online. I educate people about effective communication …”

    Thoughtful pause. Question: “As a hobby …?”

    If you are a blogger, you might have come across a similar scenario where you need to explain what occupies you during the course of your day. Or you might be searching for the answer to this question because you are the curious sort. Or you are interested in starting one and would like to know: What the job description of a blogger is. What does it entail…exactly?

    So…what do bloggers do? Many, many things.

    A blogger creates content for millions of people surfing the Internet, posted in reverse chronological order on – no prizes for guessing – their blogs, in the form of blog entries. Over and over again. They provide information that interests their readers, in “cyber-bites” – easy to digest pieces. Whatever your topic of choice is, you are bound to find hundreds of blogs writing on that same topic.

    Want to break it down even further? Well, here are 43 things that bloggers do:

    As a Writer

    1. Write blog posts, articles, web copy, and other pages. They spend hours agonizing over creating great, compelling, curiosity inducing, benefit driven headlines.

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    2. Tell great stories.

    3. Teach by writing how-tos, tutorials, in depth case studies.

    4. Upload videos and communicate via podcasts.

    5. Use infographics and images to hone their point.

    6. Curate Content.

    7. Offer subscription on their blog, possibly by offering a freebie such as an ebook or report upon sign up.

    8. Write guest post pitches and posts.

    9. Create own products such as ebooks, guides, worksheets, ecourses, etc.

    10. Participate in contests and competitions.

    11. Update their testimonials, guest posts links around the web and other honourable mentions.

    As a Researcher

    12. Research online and offline to bring you high quality material.

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    13. Link to other posts on the same topic that explains a point in question.

    14. Maintains ideas (swipe) file.

    15. Keeps an eye on what is happening – the latest trends and news.

    16. Subscribe to other blogs for pleasure and for inspiration.

    As a Learner

    17. Participate in education & training such as webinars, ebooks, courses etc.

    18. Attend workshops and conferences.

    As a Community Builder

    19. Respect their reader opinions even when totally different to their own.

    20. Encourage conversation around their posts. They respond, engage and create rappot with their audience.

    21. Answer reader questions via email.

    22. Handle guest post queries.

    As a Technical Expert – (Ok, comptence will do)

    23. Run the back end such as hosting, plug-ins, themes, coding to ensure that their site is up and running at all times.

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    24. Fix any unexpected problems on site.

    25. Track stats using Google Analytics.

    26. Conducts surveys.

    27. Optimize posts and posts for SEO benefits.

    28. Manage spam.

    As a Marketer

    29. Promote brand, create USP.

    30. Send out newsletter or auto-responder emails using email marketing programs such as aweber or mailchimp.

    31. Invest in traffic generation strategies.

    As a Networker

    32. Guest blog.

    33. Build relationships with other bloggers. Follow their blogs, comment, email, interview or engage via social media.

    34. Partner with other bloggers to create programs or ebooks.

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    35. Attend offline conferences.

    36. Speaking engagements

    As a Social Media Enthusiast

    37. Maintain their presence across many social media by sharing highly useful content.

    38. Learn about the new players.

    39. Update facebook page, set up a strong linkedin profile, enthusiastic following on twitter

    40. Keep an eye on trends.

    As an Entrepreneur

    41. Monetize through advertising, affiliate marketing

    42. Sell products such as ebooks, subscription based learning or services such consulting, coaching, speaking, seminars

    43. Bookkeeping and taxes.

    Phew! It is a miracle anyone would do all this willingly. The good news is you can take it slow and gradually tick off items on your list as you go along. Most will not apply, especially if you are blogging for pleasure.

    What did I forget? Add your thoughts in the comments below.

    (Photo credit: owenwbrown via Flickr – CC BY 2.0)

    More by this author

    Marya Jan

    Marya is a business strategist. She shares tips about life and success on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2021

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

    Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

    Posture

    First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

    • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
    • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
    • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
    • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

    All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

    Facial Expressions

    Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

    • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
    • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
    • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

    If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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    1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

    A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

    The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

    This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

    2. Relax Your Face

    New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

    The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

    To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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    3. Improve Your Eye Contact

    Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

    The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

    To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

    3. Smile More

    There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

    Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

    4. Hand Gestures

    Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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    It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

    5. Enhance Your Handshake

    In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

    “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

    It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

    6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

    As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

    Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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    Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

    Final Takeaways

    Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

    If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

    More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

    Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

    Reference

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