Congratulations. You’ve decided to become a blogger. Don’t let anyone discount your words because you don’t have some fancy degree. So long as you’re ready to do the research, edit until you have a strong post, and supplement with relevant pictures and videos, then you will build a reputation as thought-leader in your chosen arena.
If this sounds like basic literary composition, then most likely you did well in English class. However, if writing papers on required reading didn’t motivate you, here is a refresher.
My guess is you have done a lot of this. And the knowledge you gained is probably what inspired you to become a blogger. Now the real questions: Did you write any of those sources down?
If you have them bookmarked or on a written list, 10 gold stars to you. Already, you are further along than when I started blogging. If not, then welcome to my club where we have to go back and find them as we need them. There are a number of ways to organize your sources online via Trello, Google Sheets, Evernote, etc. Offline you have notebooks, index cards, or sticky notes. Your choice. What works for you is what’s right.
The number one reason to cite sources is to avoid plagiarism. But sources also increases your credibility, gives credit to others who have contributed to the topic, and allows people to read further into the concepts you’re presenting. The actual formatting of the citation depends on the publication. For blogs, linking to the online source is helpful. If there isn’t an online source, you can always note the source at the end of the post.
Write, Revise, Edit, & Re-Edit
A lot of people get hung up in the drafting process. I’m not sure who told them they were supposed to get every word right the first time, but those people are pure evil. I’m pretty sure every article and blog piece I write goes through at least 4 edits, and every fiction piece 10 or more. Whether you write your drafts by hand or on the computer, expect to draft a couple versions before finalizing your post.
The best advice I can give is to really let loose on your first draft. Start writing on a particular topic and allow yourself to go on tangents until you exhaust yourself. Highlight all the material related to the point of the post. Set the tangents aside to develop later. Draft another version focusing on connecting your key points. Keep drafting adding layers of links and information until your post clearly communicates the point you’re trying to make.
Then go get something to eat or take a nap. Come back. Put your post in preview mode and read it. This is where I find the last of my typos and grammatical errors. Sometimes I miss a few. Thankfully, you can always return to your posts to fix them.
Use pictures and video to help tell the story. Original photos and illustrations are best, but let’s be real. Unless you have a whole team at your side, stock photos are a necessary thing. There are so many stock photo companies now you should be able to find something that doesn’t look too cheesy.
However, here’s the big no-no: downloading media from private accounts and using them without permission. This is bad for your reputation. If you want to use a photo from a privately owned brand, contact the web administrator for permission and give proper credit.
And that wraps up our June theme on website blogs. If you missed our previous posts, check out Social Media is the Wrong Platform for Complicated Topics and our VIDEO: 3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Blog Platform. Also sign up for our newsletter (in our menu) so you have always have fresh marketing information on hand!