Guest Post By Stephanie Gates of A Wide Mercy
For years I kept a blog where I posted pictures of my children, meandering stories about our days, and disjointed rants. About 40 people read it, and I knew most of them in person. But I loved the art and craft of writing, and in my gut I felt certain I could do something more substantial if I tried. It was time for me to take writing more seriously.
After working with a writing coach and an editor, and reading everything I could find online, I learned there are a few key steps that move a blogger from creating a diary to building a platform. If you are ready to get serious about your writing, here are a few steps to get you started.
1. Write for your audience, not yourself. Instead of simply posting your thoughts on a particular day, consider who you want to read your work. Who is your ideal reader? What does he/she care about? In what ways can you add value to their lives? Consider where your passions and story intersect with the needs and interests of your readers, and focus on those topics.
2. Know what you are “selling.” We are all content marketers, whether we realize it or not. Good blogs offer a specific worldview, and are “selling” one or two ideas that are woven throughout each post. Know what worldview you’re offering, and make sure every post points back to it. If a post does not build on your central idea, it does not belong on your blog.[bctt tweet=”Bloggers: Know what worldview you’re offering, and make sure every post points back to it @awidemercy”]
3. Be consistent. In your style, format, images, content, and timing, you will create a brand for your site through your consistency. The good news is, you don’t have to create new content daily to be consistent! Choose a look and a schedule and stick to it.
4. Read good blogs and websites. Find bloggers who are creating great work, and subscribe to them. Surround yourself with strong examples of what you are trying to build. While your work will always be your own, you will pick up good habits by reading good blogs.[bctt tweet=”Surround yourself with strong examples of what you are trying to build @awidemercy”]
5. Practice the art of storytelling. Develop your skills every way you can – workshops, writing groups, coaches, developmental editors, and websites focused on self-editing and storytelling are invaluable resources. Chances are, if you are interested in blogging, you are a natural storyteller. Continue to develop that skill.
6. Spread your voice. Guest posts and articles for larger blogs and sites help build both your platform and your writing skills. Start small, with blogs that are a little more established than your own. It may also be helpful to trade guest posts with another blogger, or to invite readers to submit to your own site.
7. Be approachable. Respond to emails from readers. Engage with readers on social media sites. If someone reaches out to you, be easy to reach. It will build trust and open new possibilities for your writing.
8. Say yes. The most important decision I ever made in building a writing career was to say “yes” to new opportunities. Most of the time, I was agreeing to do something I’d never attempted. Very often, I wasn’t completely convinced I could actually do it. But if someone approached me with a need that matched my passions and goals, I said yes. This one decision has opened a world of possibilities for writing and publishing.[bctt tweet=”‘The most important decision I ever made in building a writing career was to say “yes” to new opportunities’ @awidemercy”]
You can connect with Stephanie on her blog A Wide Mercy, over email at awidemercy at gmail dot com, on Facebook, and Twitter. If you’ve ever abandoned religion in search of faith, ever left your hometown to find your home, or ever climbed to the very tiptop of a jungle gym to rescue an overzealous toddler, pull up a chair.