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How Writers Can Get the Most Out of Their Blogs
January 30, 2009

On the Writers Guild of Alberta mailing list, there’s an interesting discussion going on about whether having a blog is worth it or if writers are just talking to themselves. Along with sharing their opinions on blogs and blogging, people offered some great advice on how to get their blogs out to a larger audience. Below is some of what they had to say.

Diane Schuller said:

I think it’s a holistic approach that’s needed. A combination of:

  • visiting & commenting on others blogs;
  • using keywords;
  • getting listed in the various directories;
  • smart titles;
  • cross-linking;
  • providing helpful information;
  • and so on.

So, I don’t think it’s any secret, just a lot of work and covering multiple bases.

and:

I agree … that most blogs are so darn boring and useless. Writers can make theirs stand out from the crowd with an injection of good writing and solid content. It’s still very competitive so I suppose it depends upon what the person’s goal is in having a blog in the first place.

Diane also pointed writers to a series of articles and podcasts from CBC’s show Spark that dealt with effective blogging.

Wayne Arthurson had this to say:

That said, if you still feel the need to blog, here’s another aritlcle from Wired, the editors gave three tips to increase blog traffic: http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Linkbait_Your_Blog

Heather Cook also provided some bang-on advice:

Part of the secret, I think, is to view your blog as less a way to talk to others and more a way to communicate and open a dialogue. I have found success when I became more of a community member, forging some reciprocal relationships with other bloggers.

and:

Another thing I forgot to mention…. is that a lot of bloggers (me included) tend to get focused on themselves waaay too much. What about commentary on things happening in an industry or talking about someone else for a change?

Finally, here is what I shared:

These are great tips. Some others:

  • Keep it short — you’re writing for the web, not print.
  • Post regularly — three posts a year isn’t faithful blogging.
  • Design: Make sure your writing is easy to read on the screen (dark text on light bg, good sized text, line lengths not too long) and is accessible to everyone (including those with screen readers and PDAs and cell phones).
  • Be funny or controversial (people will respond and begin a discussion and/or share what you’ve written with others). Look at bookninja.com — that site gets thousands of visitors a day, and it’s just a blog.
  • If you’re neither funny nor controversial, at least be knowledgeable. Have something to say that’s worth hearing/sharing/talking about.
  • Find a niche topic and focus your blog on that — this will help you gain an audience, look like an expert, and will help with search results.

For those who don’t see the value in a blog or don’t have the time to blog, Twitter might be an option. Unlike Facebook, which is essentially a closed community, Twitter is open and promotes communication between peers and colleagues rather than just between “friends.” Here’s a short video that explains Twitter better than I could:

Essentially, Twitter is similar to the Facebook status box without the other Facebook cruft, and while the video I posted talks about keeping up with friends and relatives, I find it more useful as a way to keep up with others in the same field, doing similar work. It’s a way to share ideas and form an online community outside of friends and family.

Any other advice for writers who want to get the most out of their blogs?

Posted by Eric in Tips & Tutorials | Permalink