Editor’s note: This post was written by Danny, a blogger for Instant Checkmate, one of the world’s largest people search engines. He is passionate about writing and is currently a student at the University of San Diego studying English and Business Administration. Find him on Twitter or Google +.
Not too long ago I started blogging for Instant Checkmate. I thought it would be pretty easy. I thought to myself, “I am a good writer; I did well in all my English classes at school; I often teach people how to write; I am passionate about writing. What could possibly be difficult?”
Well, unfortunately for me blogging is not an English class. Writing is an important part of the deal, but there are so many factors that go into blogging that the average person has no idea about. The amount of surprise I faced in the first week alone was enough to make me think I had no chance in this field.
There are a number of articles out there that will tell you the best strategies you can use when writing, the best ways to conduct outreach, and the best ways to utilize your social media, but before you read all of those there are a couple reality checks you need to have. Check out these five tips and you will be able to enter the blogging field with no surprises.
1. You’re Not Going To Do It Alone
This type of work will not be similar to anything you have done before. You are going to have to adjust to new styles and strategies of writing. Not only that, but you have to learn a ton of new fields. SEO, marketing, and web development are vital to a successful blog. It’s hard to be an expert on everything, so getting tips always helps. Every blogger started where you started, so ask them about their successes and failures to avoid making any unnecessary mistakes.
Who should you ask? Reach out to a couple of your favorite sites, to people who write about topics you are interested in, and most importantly to people who have been doing this for a long time. The best thing about the blogging world is that most people are pretty nice. If you are looking for some advice or a friendly conversation, most bloggers will happily answer your questions.
2. You’re Going To Be Turned Down
Notice, I said that most ofthe people in the blogging world are nice. When conducting outreach, you’re going to market your ideas in multiple ways (email, Twitter, etc.) and most of the time people will not respond. Even if you have the perfect idea, it is hard to market it in a way that facilitates responses. Or even if they do respond, a lot of the time it will be a polite, “No thank you.” Efforts will not always meet expectations, and that’s just something you have to fight through.
It’s a harsh reality, but top sites get thousands of submissions a day. Try new techniques to get responses, but more importantly (without becoming a spammer) never stop trying. Remember, persistence pays off and patience is a virtue.
3. Your Social Media Accounts Are Crucial
When I started I did not have a Twitter or a Google+. Both of these are high priority tools you need to use. If you do not have a good reputation online, many sites will be unwilling to let you guest post. Also, this is the easiest and most efficient way to market your material. Without a noteworthy social media presence, your site is doomed.
4. Be Yourself
Don’t blog just to make money. You have to write about what you are passionate about! Trust me, it will show in your work. It is very easy to tell when someone is indifferent about their own writing and website.
BUT, make sure you’re not passionate about everything. I love movies, current news, sports, and freelancing. Unfortunately, I cannot write about every single one of these things on my blog. Your blog should stay relevant to a certain niche. So be yourself, and write about what you’re passionate about, but don’t get out of hand. I had to realize there is a shortage of readers looking for a movie, news, sports, and freelancing blog.
5. There Is No Right Answer
Blogging is constantly evolving. Not too long ago, Matt Cutts’ decision on guest posting changed the entire way this field works. It is important to remember that as blogging changes, you need to change.
There is no one way to write, market, or converse. Constantly try new strategies, techniques, and ideas. You could come up with an idea that completely changes the game. Since you can do it your own way, it allows for your creativity to thrive. Don’t search for the one key to success, search for your key to success.
It’s up to you! Check out the archives for social media campaigning strategies and much more, but remember these tips so you are not caught off guard while doing your work.