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Don’t Go Into Blogging If You Don’t Know These 7 Things

Don’t Go Into Blogging If You Don’t Know These 7 Things

Blogging is a creative way to express your feelings, reach out to potential customers, and improve your communication skills. Whether you’re blogging for profit or fun, a blog gives you the power to communicate with people all over the world at the click of a mouse.

However, before you run off to publish your amazing blog, it’s important to know these seven blogging tips:

1. Be ridiculously good at one thing and write about that.

Are you a professional photographer who would like to reach out to potential clients? Compile the best photographs from every gig, put them in a blog post, and tell a story about why those pictures are special. Make sure to thank the people in the photos for allowing you the pleasure to work with them, because expressing gratitude for the clients you have will encourage potential clients to give you a chance.

Are you a self-published author who would like to sell more books? Write blogs about related ideas and share the occasional “preview chapter” of one of your works. Don’t forget to make your reader’s life easy by ending your blogs in a link that goes straight to your book listing!

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Have you struggled with universal issues like poor body-image, yo-yo weight-gain, an abusive relationship? Express your feelings on a blog directed to people who struggle with the same thing. Tell them a story to inspire them. Offer them action steps and guidance. Be vulnerable and upfront about your struggles to connect with your readers emotionally. Expressing yourself is therapeutic, and helping others will give you a sense of purpose.

2. Determine who you are going to help.

Your blog isn’t about you; it’s about your reader. Ask yourself these questions to sharpen your message and ensure you’re writing with focus:

  • Who am I going to help?

If you don’t know what kind of reader you hope to engage, then you’ll probably find yourself performing for a crowd of none. Teenagers, college students, busy parents, and business owners all speak in a different language, so it would be absurd to think you could effectively express your idea to all of these people in the very same words. If you don’t know who your reader is, you won’t be able to connect with them on an emotional level; and if you can’t connect with your reader on an emotional level, no one will care about your blog.

  • How am I going to reach out to them?

Now that you know who your reader is, you need to figure out where they are. If you’re targeting busy professionals, you might want to join some networking groups on LinkedIn and share your articles there. If you’re writing for busy parents, you could join a parenting forum to meet like-minded people, and include a link to your blog in your profile. If your goal is to help people lose weight, there is an endless supply of weight-loss support groups on Facebook that might find your blogs helpful (just make sure you ask the group’s owner for permission before you share anything).

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  • What makes them so special?

You need to know what makes your reader tick. Are there certain words or phrases they use to describe the world and how it relates to them? Do they prefer short action-based posts, or would they rather read a personal story that illustrates your point? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, that’s okay; experiment with as many blog styles and formats as you can. Pay attention to what formula results in the best reaction.

3. Focus on style and substance.

No matter how good you might be at writing, your effort could be for naught if you don’t pay proper respect to the elements of style. Style and substance are equally important. If your web design looks unattractive, blog layout is impossible to navigate, content is riddled in typos, or site loads at a sluggish pace, people will leave your blog and go elsewhere for their needs. Run your blog as if it’s a business. Oh, by the way, you just so happen to be the CEO of this business, so you don’t get to make any excuses.

Reading Doctor Who

    4. Read first.

    If you can’t even be troubled to read, it’s arrogant to think you have the chops to make it as a blogger. The best writers know that reading is essential to their growth process. When you’re so absorbed in a book’s plot that you can’t put it down, or are so in love with a blog that you spend hours digging through their archives, take a moment to ponder why you feel that way… because this is the very feeling you want to inspire in your reader.

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    5. Ask for help.

    Confession: I suck at a lot of things, especially graphic design and HTML/coding. If I tried to design a logo, blog layout, or book cover myself, they would look like crap. But you know what? It doesn’t matter, because I can pay professionals to do those things for me. If you’re working on a shoe-string budget, don’t fret: browse through freelancer listings on sites like Upwork and Fiverr to get some help. If you’re going to do it, do it right; if you can’t do it right, hire someone who can.

    6. Don’t quit your day job (yet).

    When I first started my blog, I had a single reader. I call her “mom.” Be comfortable with the fact that people aren’t going to magically discover your blog as soon as you click “Publish.” I know it’s hard to be patient, but consistency is the only key that will unlock the door to success. Think about ways to monetize your blog in the future, but be aware that you probably won’t see any profit for a long while.

    But don’t get too caught up in that just yet. Think about income generation, but don’t get consumed with it. If you’re a beginning blogger, your primary goals should be to establish a daily writing habit and offer immense value to your readers.

    Below are eight questions that will help you keep your readers happy and engaged:

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    • What makes your reader laugh?
    • What does your reader think about during the day?
    • What are some common traits that you share with your readers?
    • What does “success” look, taste, and/or smell like to your reader?
    • What roadblocks prevents your reader from achieving goals?
    • What words and phrases does your reader use to describe the world he live in?
    • What sources of stress trouble does your reader face, and how can you relieve her burden?
    • What story do your readers tell themselves about life, and how can you tell a better story?

    It would be smart to use sign-up forms to collect the contact details of your readers with an email marketing service like Aweber. This allows you to notify subscribers of your new blogs (and increase your traffic). You’ll also be able to inform them of promotions and/or product launches after you figure out how to monetize your blog.

    7. Reach out to fellow bloggers in your field.

    One of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog is through writing guest posts on other people’s blogs. Don’t get trigger-happy; you need to wine-and-dine a fellow blogger before you try to score. Leave a thoughtful comment on a recent post or two, interact with them on social media, and maybe share one of their posts with your friends. After a little bit of interaction (I’d suggest giving it at least three weeks), send them an email offering to write a guest post. If you correctly applied the steps before this, they might recognize your name, which helps your cause. Here is an email script you’re welcome to copy/paste and modify to fit your needs:

    Hello! This is (Your Name) with (Your Blog or Business Title). I discovered your blog a few days/weeks/months ago, and especially enjoyed your piece, (Insert Blog Title Here). I loved how you (Insert Specific, Meaningful Compliment Here). I am also in the field of (Insert Your Niche Here), and was wondering if you could use a guest post? Below are a few ideas for blogs that I would be happy to write for you. If you would like to see samples of my work, you may do so at (Insert Link Here). Thanks for your time and have a great day.

    I hope these seven blogging tips help you make your blogs more creative, helpful, and share-able. Feel free to post a link to your blog in the comments if you have one. Also, in four sentences or less, tell us what you hope to offer your readers. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments.

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    Daniel Wallen

    Freelance Writer

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    How to Fight Information Overload

    How to Fight Information Overload

    Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

    This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

    As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

    What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

    1. Set your goals.
    2. Decide whether you really need the information.
    3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
    4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

    But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

    The Nature of the Problem

    The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

    When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

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    No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

    That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

    Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…

    Why information overload is bad

    It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

    Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

    The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

    You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.

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    So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.

    1. Set your goals

    If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

    Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

    Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

    Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

    2. What to do when facing new information

    Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

    First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.

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    If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

    And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

    You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.

    3. Minimal Effective Dose

    There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

    Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

    4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information

    Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

    This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

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    Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

    In Closing

    As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

    Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

    (Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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