Friday, 19 April 2013

B is for Blogging

Are bloggers journalists? 
It's the great debate. Bloggers, journalists and a host of other professionals will still be arguing this one on their death bed. My personal opinion - who cares?

For me, the truly magical thing about blogging is that you have your own little corner of the web. It's a place where you can write for fun and discuss your own interests (with people who share the same ones), get something of your mind, even give yourself a bit of DIY work experience, or make a little money for yourself.  

Whether for business or pleasure, you should write a blog. It's the ideal way to hone your writing skills and also to find out if you have what it takes. You learn to express yourself. You develop your own style. You learn how to write for a particular type of audience. Whatever lights their fire, you'll learn how to deliver it.

Just one question: how do you write a blog?
That's a darned good question! I mentioned in the A section that you should know your audience. If you know them, write for them. Discuss the things that interest them. 

The simplest way to do this is by choosing a theme for your blog. This could be a hobby of yours, such as martial arts or photography. You could also write a blog about your profession, such as marketing, computing or teaching.

A blog can be about anything, really, but remember that writing consistently about a subject that readers are interested in is the easiest way to build up a following. You'll also become known as an expert on the area. And we all like to hear from someone who knows what they're talking about.

How long should the posts be?
There's no hard, fast rule about how long your blog posts should be, but the general convention is 200 to 400 words. They can can be longer if you wish, but avoid writing posts of 1 000 words or more (unless you want to lose readers). If a particular topic requires lengthy posts, you can split it up into a series. (Brownie points for me for following my own advice!)

Make your posts easier to read by splitting them up with subheadings. When reading texts on the Net, people tend to skim-read them first to see if the content is useful to them. If it is, they'll read the whole thing. The subheadings will steer the reader gently through the text, and the easier your post is to read the more chance you have of people reading them.  

Feel free to break up texts with pictures, too. They add colour to the post. Besides, visually, long blocks of text just ain't schmexy!  

On a final note... Do your put your own picture in?
You'll notice that I have put my picture on this blog. The face behind the words. However, the late Italian writer Italo Calvino believed that if writers kept from making public appearances, their work took on more authority. He had a point, but really, what harm can it do? Just enjoy yourself.

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