It doesn’t matter what career path you choose to take, for you to stand out amongst thousands if not millions of other professionals with similar qualifications is by having an online platform where you can comment on various trends in your industry and showcase your portfolio. The easiest and most convenient way of creating an alluring brand is through blogging. Blogging not only positions you as an authority in your respective field but also helps you get more clients.
Taking up blogging especially if you have nobody to guide you through the journey is like walking through a minefield blindfolded. Having grown from a meager 1,500 hits on my blog in the first one and half years of blogging to garnering over 400,000 hits on a single article, I have compiled the following list of 15 secrets to becoming a successful blogger.
1) Buy a domain and self-host your blog. People don’t take you seriously if you have wordPress.com or blogspot.com at the end of your URL.
2) Be authentic. Don’t preach water only to drink wine especially if you are the face of your brand. People can always tell when you are being real and when you are faking it. Some will go to the extent of exposing your hypocrisy to the entire world. Believe you me, repairing your reputation is such an uphill task.
3) Grow with your audience and think long-term. Say you start writing while in campus, with time your readers will graduate, get jobs, marry, have kids etc. If your writing is static they will soon outgrow you.
4) Write to one person. Reading should be a personal experience. Make the reader feel like they are having a conversation with a friend seated across the table. Remember, you don’t command friends, bombard them with meaningless stats or vocabulary. In addition, avoid using words like ‘you guys’ ‘dear readers as they lack a personal touch.
5) When writer’s block strikes take time off. If you write for a living then have a couple of unpublished articles stored somewhere because there are going to be times you can’t spin a single paragraph no matter how hard you try.
6) Develop a thick skin. You will get lots of negative comments, some will be nastier than others, nonetheless, don’t let that stop you from going back to that blank screen. Regularly collect feedback from readers whether negative or positive and learn from it. As a result, you will continuously improve your craft.
7) Specialize. Inasmuch as creatives hate having their freedom curtailed, to become a successful blogger you have to specialize in a particular category. Writing about politics, religion, economics, relationships etc may seem liberating, however, few will trust you since nobody can be good at everything. Build your brand around one genre and occasionally write about other themes.
8) Give the reader an unforgettable experience. Make the reader a central part of the story. Let the story unfold as they watch instead of using past tense, which makes it stale. Even better, make the reader the main character so they get feel every single bit of the adventure.
9) Develop your own style. Resist the temptation of writing like your favorite writer as it only makes you seem like a cheap knock-off thus creating a glass ceiling. Developing a writing style takes time so don’t be too hard on you just yet.
10) Use simple and clear language. The purpose of language is to communicate. Only use Jargon and uncommon vocabulary when writing purely for experts in a certain field otherwise, most readers will miss the essence of your articles and assume that you are either boastful or covering for the fact you have no idea of what you are saying.
11) Have someone proofread your work before publishing or use grammar software like Grammarly to weed out the typos. Glaring grammatical errors are annoying, as a blogger you hardly spot them in your own works. Sometimes some errors still filter through and readers can be unforgiving. I know too well about this.
12) Chop down your articles to the point that every single word serves a purpose. Say after your final edit your article has 2,000 words, cut it down further to 1,500 words. This is the toughest part of writing because everything seems important. When it comes to writing, less is more.
13)Read more than you write.
14) Write from the heart. Art created from the heart goes to the heart. If you want your readers to engage with your content and share widely then you have to connect deeply and appeal to their emotions. Art created just from the head may be structurally right but often fails to move the reader thus hardly goes viral.
15) Make the first two paragraphs so captivating that one has no choice but to read to the end. A typical reader has five-ten tabs opened on their browser. If they are not hooked to your article by paragraph two they will simply close the tab and move to another piece. Avoid the rookie mistake of always starting a story from the very beginning then build it to climax towards the end. Start with the juiciest part of the story then fill in the details of how it got there.
Finally, learn how to deal with the fame that comes with blogging. Fame comes with lots of perks and equally numerous challenges. The pressure will be intense, people will expect so much from you, and judge you harshly which could easily land you into financial trouble as you are forced to borrow in order to maintain a certain lifestyle and spoil countless joy riders.
In retrospect, have a couple of real friends who have known you long enough to keep you grounded and raise an alarm whenever the fame starts getting into your head.
Written By Mark Maish