In honor of my three year anniversary blogging and my guesting/ hosting night (Wednesday on #LinkedMoms) with my good friend Margarita @downshiftingpos, I thought it time to reflect. Tomorrow I will be chatting about the art of blog writing. I came to this adventure three years ago, as a stay at home Mom, hoping to bridge stay at home and work at home again. I was, in my previous life an award-winning newspaper reporter. I led teams to big awards on big topics, mostly hard news. I wrote about train wrecks, murders, massage parlors that were fronts for other things, kids getting mauled by pit bulls and covered my share of car crashes and elections. And I loved that life. Then I became a Mom, and in between, I also had a lot of health issues. Work at home was my best option. So, three years ago, after hearing a speaker at the London PWAC Periodical Writer’s Association Canada meeting, I jumped to blogging. The speaker was again one of those Print Is Dead gurus. But her chat about social media resonated. So I played around a bit with blogger and started to like it. When I had a following of 1,000 readers a month I was over the moon, in the beginning. Now my numbers are higher and I do a lot of paid jobs and I love my on line life. But I have made some errors along the way. Learn from my mistakes.
I give you Paula’s top five blogging mistakes:
1. Stealing: Borrowing something without checking for permission. I took a graphic I found once. I was new and I had no idea about where to get pictures. I received an email angrily telling me to pay for the graphic or take it down. I had no idea. I never did it again. Always give credit where credit is due. Ask first if you are unsure.
2. 2-Dimensional writing: I have written some posts that I thought were brilliant and yet nobody read them. Why? Because I knew nothing about promoting myself, or advertising my blog or growing my audience. Those posts are still out there, receiving more eyeballs now. You have to connect with communities to get that following and to cultivate comments. You need to help your writing become 3-D and jump off the page.
3. Holding Back: In the early first year I held back often. I wasn’t fully convinced blogging was an art. I still had hopes I could sell my “real” articles on similar topics to print media and make more money (I made much more in print and still do.) Now I know that some of the best writing happening right now, is happening on blogs.
4. Giving too much away for free. I occasionally, in the beginning had trouble saying No. Actually that was my first two years blogging. If some brand approached me about an article, I got all Sally Field. They Like me, they really like me. And I posted and did them a favor. Now I know better. Blogging is a business. Frame it as a business and always be professional. My writing has always been a career. Writers get paid.
5. Forgetting my audience: A good writer always knows and envisions their audience as they are writing. I did a Baby Einstein type of video review and giveaway once. And I had no entries. Dumb mistake. My audience is not Moms with babies, never has been.
Now that I have shown you what not to do, come join me Wednesday night for our #LinkedMoms chat where we will talk about blogging. Bring your questions, observations and experiences and we’ll try our best to answer.
#LinkedMoms chat is 8 p.m. EST. On Twitter, if you are unfamiliar with twitter parties or chats, you follow the #LinkedMoms hashtag and enter it with each comment. Hope to see you there!