Last week I had the honor and pleasure to talk about blogging and why you should have a blog, to one of Kirk Hazlett’s Communication classes at Curry College, where he prepares the new generation of PR rockstars. Thank you Kirk!
To say I was excited is to put it mildly. I was thrilled and nervous at the same time.
You know I am very passionate about blogging and social media, and to have the chance to talk about one of my favorite topics to the future generation of PR pros, is a gift for that I am very grateful for to you, Kirk.
I love talking to people passionate about PR, and wanting to learn more, know more, and let me tell you Kirk’s students are very passionate. I had the chance to see first hand what Kirk always preaches about his future PR rockstars: They are passionate, they want to understand and learn more.
During my “intervention” about why and how to launch a blog, they asked questions, and they took notes. Good thing we had a limited time, otherwise I could have been talking about blogging all day long 🙂
One of their questions was what to write about, and my answer was look around, you have topics for blog posts everywhere around you. (Hence, this blog post.)
Based on their questions, it occurred to me that I should write about how to start a blog, when you’re a PR student and very new at it.
I did a research to see if I am reinventing the wheel and frankly was surprised to not find basic information for anyone thinking of launching a blog.
Of course, there are countless articles on the technical part (what platform to choose, where to find a hosting, etc), and on the soft part (why is important to have a blog, etc). But I haven’t found one to have both from a newbie perspective.
Seven Things You Need to Know Before Launching a Blog
It’s a great learning opportunity
If you are a PR student, launching your own blog and writing regularly, it will help you structure your ideas, it will teach you to look for blog post topics everywhere around you and how to frame them from a PR perspective.
It’s a great networking tool
You will be curious to read what others do, write about, you will connect with great PR communities and blogs such as Gini Dietrich’s Spin Sucks, Deirdre Breakenridge’s PR Expanded, or WUL by Shonali Burke, to name only a few.
By the way, don’t be shy, comment on their blogs, become part of their communities.
It takes discipline
If you want to launch a blog and be successful at it, you need to know two things: You need to be disciplined and write and publish regularly and, the second one is you need to be patient. Growing a blog takes time.
Writing regularly means choosing the frequency you want to publish on your blog (minimum once a week) and stick with it. As you grow and become more confident, you can revise that and write more often if you’d like, but when you’re just starting out pick a frequency you can keep at it.
At first, only you and your friends will read your blog. There will be times when you’ll be frustrated that no one is reading, but keep going.
Share on social media
It’s not enough just to write a blog post and publish it, you have to let people know about it. Share it on your social media networks, ask your friends to share it, as well.
Choose a blogging platform, a domain name and a hosting provider
Nothing screams beginner louder than a blog address such as your.name.wordpress.com or yourname.blogger.com.
If you are serious about blogging and want to be taken seriously by PR pros and bloggers out there, buy a domain name. It can be your name, or anything else, as long as you keep it professional.
There are many resources out there where you can learn how to do that, here is one of them.
As for a blogging platform I prefer WordPress. It’s easy to use, there are always plugins and themes released to make it better, and it incorporates SEO easily, which I am going to talk about below.
Optimize your content for SEO
Writing and publishing a post is not enough anymore. It was in 2004, but not in 2016.
Now, you have to have your posts optimized SEO wise, so that search engines index your blog and posts. Orbit Media blog explains really well SEO basics. Check it out.
You don’t have to have everything figured out
Be patient, blogging takes time and dedication. You don’t have to have everything figured out from the beginning.
Keep in mind that the best bloggers didn’t become experts overnight. It took them years to learn what they easily share with us today. Read them, learn from them, but don’t be overwhelmed. Give it time.
The more you write and publish on your blog, the more confident you become of your writing and yourself.
The vision you’ll have for your blog will change over time, and that it’s ok. It means you are growing, you are becoming better at it.
So don’t try to figure out everything from the beginning, otherwise you will never start blogging.
Learn the basics on how to set up a blog, start writing in advance (before launching the blog) a few posts, choose a publishing frequency and hit publish.
What tips do you have for starting a blog?