In my Rihanna Voice:
” Blog… Blog … Blog.. Blog.. Blog… she tell me how fi blog blog blog blog.”
Shh. You know you like my remix. 😀
Yes, yes, y’all…
It’s another sharp guy Guide!!!
And yes, you read that headline right. We’re going to talk about Blogging in usual #SharpGuy manner, in a way that even a dummy would understand.
This one is a bit lengthy, so I sincerely hope say you don chow.
Today, I’m feeling less in the mood for “senrenre” or any drama, so I’m going to dive right in.
Are you ready?
Because here we go:
Blogging For Dummies
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or hibernating a cave somewhere, you’ve heard of “blogging”.
Don’t even try to deny it. No one will believe you.
Maybe in the early days of the internet, but not now when every Tom, Dick, Harry and Ekaette has a blog.
But in case you haven’t heard of “blogging”, let’s give you a few sharp guy definitions:
Blog- A site that provides information about a certain topic, in the form of written content, similar to diary entries.
Okay, maybe that’s not simple enough. Let me try again.
A blog is a conversation between an individual (known as a blogger) and a particular audience.
The individual starts the conversation by providing informative content on a website, and the audience responds. And the conversation could go anywhere from there, but usually, it leads to influencing thoughts, changing opinions, destroying limitations, entertainment etcetera shmetcetera.
For the more complicated definition, click here.
Blogging, therefore, can be defined as creating series of blog posts that provide information about a certain topic.
That’s the long and short of what a blog is. An informational site that you add content to like a log. Just like in the movie “Avatar”, where the main character was keeping a daily log of what and how he was doing.
Yeah, something like that… except you don’t record it on video (or else that would be a vlog, which we’re not talking about now), you write it.
Oh and you’re not limited to diary-style content.
Another awesome thing about blogging is that it doesn’t matter what you’re interested in, you can create a blog about just any topic or in any niche.
For examples of blogs in weird niches, follow this link. Trust me, what you’ll find will shock you.
See what I mean?
A blog is about providing informational (and sometimes, entertaining) content. It doesn’t matter what niche you choose, it’s all about how you blog in that niche.
Now, a few misconceptions about blogging:
You have to have a degree in English or Literature or some other English-related courses
This is so false, it makes my stomach turn.
I don’t think I need to explain why this one is silly. In most cases, it is even better you don’t have an English degree. The English degree can sometimes stifle you.
Don’t get me wrong. You need to write with correct grammar and spelling mistakes are a big no-no but you should feel free to break a few rules and invent new words as needed.
You need to be a great writer to be a successful blogger
If this was true, many bloggers would not be bloggers.
I mean, Linda Ikeji is in no way a great writer (No offence, Linda), but she’s one of the most successful bloggers ever.
That’s because she treated her blog like a business, which we’ll talk about in a bit.
Blogging is easy
I know you’d like me to say it is easy, but it isn’t.
It takes time, effort and consistency. Bloggers, on average, take about 5-10 years of consistently blogging day in day out before becoming successful.
Sure, there are a few exceptions, but they’re exceptions, not the rule so if you want to be a blogger, you need to be ready to make this commitment.
There is someone that already blogs in my niche, so I shouldn’t start a blog in that same niche
In my experience, blogs don’t get read for just the information they provide, they get read for the voice and style of the blogger.
Find your unique angle, use that to tell the “old story” in a new way and your audience will love you for it.
So now that we have those out of the way, let’s dig a little deeper into how to get started as a blogger:
Step #1: The first thing you want to do is take some personal inventory
- Your interests,
- Your hobbies,
- Your life experience… all that.
Maybe growing up you probably loved watching a certain cartoon (and still enjoy watching it). You can make a blog about that or make a blog that reviews cartoons. Even if it’s just a certain movie, like the Star Wars Franchise, for example.
Many bloggers have definitely made money writing about their interests, it’s become a rule that you have to be interested in what you blog about.
Thus, the first step is to figure out what you want to blog about.
Step #2. Next, figure out your target readers.
- Who are they?
- How old are they?
- What do they do?
- What are their hobbies?
- What are their desires, fears and what problems are they facing?
This step is crucial. Knowing your target reader will help you create content that would connect with them and attract them to you.
You should also check this post out on how to come up with ideas for content and promote your blog.
Step #3. Set up the blog
In the early days of the Internet, you’d have to crank out some real code just to set your blog up.
Thank God, we’re over a decade into the 21st century, and you don’t have to do that any more (unless you want to).
There are these beautiful software online known as content management systems that can help you build a blog without having to write one line of code. Sure, knowing how to code can be a plus, but it’s not necessary.
I’ve used Blogger and WordPress, and I prefer WordPress. In my free ebook, I explain how to set up a site using WordPress, and you should check that out to learn how to set up your site with WordPress.
Anyway, with a bit of time and experimentation, you can figure out which content management system you prefer and you can then build on that.
However, I recommend using WordPress though.
Step #4. Create content
There are 2 different approaches to this. Using what you learnt at Step 2, you could either:
(i) Come up with a list of blog topics, schedule them and then create content according to your schedule, or
(ii) Come up with topics on the fly each time you want to write.
So far, I mostly follow the 2nd approach, ‘cos some topics are trending at different times, and flexibility is important… BUT (and a big fat one), I’m starting to consider an option I’ll call the hybrid– where you’ll have scheduled posts, and at the same time, you’ll capitalize on trends to create content.
When crafting your headlines and posts, you’ll need to do a bit of keyword research, which I talk about in this post, to figure out what your target audience is searching for, so you can create content they’re looking for and draw them to you.
5. Promote your content
Let’s face it.
All the great content in the world is bullshit if nobody reads it.
Your content is only as great as its distribution. One very important part of creating great content is promoting it well.
For other tips on creating great content, see this post on how to create content that doesn’t suck.
The fact is if nobody knows about your blog, or your content, and nobody reads it, you’re basically having a monologue on your site.
Blogging is like starting a conversation. You need to ensure you create informative content that’s relevant to your target audience, and then tell them about it. Often. And shamelessly.
You can use social media to promote your content. On Facebook, for example, you could create a page or a group, share and post actively both on your group/page and on other groups/pages within your niche.
Provide so much value that your value does all your marketing and promotion for you.
You start a conversation, and then when your audience responds, you ….
Step #6. Engage with your Audience
A blog is a conversation. And by definition, a conversation is interaction between two or more people.
So when you start a conversation, and your audience responds, you have to engage with them to keep the conversation going.
This is an important part of building a loyal audience. Make it a priority. Do all you can to reply all messages, comments and questions.
Be yourself, be good and interact with them like a normal human being, and they’ll love you for it.
And now, to this already lengthy post, I’m going to add a few lessons I’ve learned about blogging.
#1. Consistency is key.
If there’s anything you take away from this post, it’s this point.
Blogging isn’t easy. There are good days, bad days and terrible days.
But if you want to be a successful blogger, you have to be consistent. Post on a regular basis, regardless of whether you’re in the mood or not, or whether you’re in a shitty situation or not.
You can only build a loyal audience by being loyal to them first.
#2. Focus on creating long term value over short term profit.
I’ve done a lot of site reviews, and seen way too many people who are following what I call the “Adulterated Linda Ikeji Business Model for Blogging”.
They see her success and decide to enter the same niche, and produce the same kind of content, thinking “sharp sharp, I will go and buy house in Banana Island“.
Oga, Madam… ko le werk.
Yes, you read that right. If you want to be successful at Blogging, you need to commit totally to it. You need to be ALL IN.
And to do that, you need to focus on creating real value that will pass the test of time, rather than just be another passing fad.
#3. Your blog is not about you.
This one I had to learn the hard way with my first blog which shall not be named (but it started with the word “Ginjah”).
Stop sharing so much content about you, your personal life or whatever brouhaha you’re going through.
Your readers have their own problems, and there is a reason they came to your site. They came looking for a solution to their problems, and I can guaran-freaking-tee you that telling them your problems is not it.
Your blog is about your readers. It’s not about you. Find a way to provide them with value in a unique way, and they’ll be loyal to you.
Otherwise, they’ll just think you’re a self-centered person and will stop visiting your site.
#4. Your blog is not a business till you treat it like one.
Somehow it’s cool to be known as a blogger these days, and all that attention is wonderful. However, attention does not make you $$$ if you don’t make the most of it.
Don’t start a blog today, and because you’re not in the mood tomorrow, stop for a while and then restart after 3 months.
Like some African parents say: “You’re playing with your life.“
You only blog when you feel like, and then later, say you’re a blogger. That just does not compute.
Your blog is only a business if you treat it like one. So get up, make no excuses, show up and go to work on your blog every day.
For a few ideas on how to make money from your blog, you should read this post.
#5: Write In YOUR OWN UNIQUE VOICE
With the current overpopulation of bloggers, there’s a high chance that no matter what niche you choose to blog in, there’s a blogger already doing it.
That is inevitable. There’s always the temptation to read that blog and store that author’s voice in your head so that when you want to write, you want to sound like that blogger.
Don’t do that. An original is always worth more than a copy.
You need to find your own unique voice. The truth is your readers can find whatever information they need elsewhere, so if you write like everyone else, why should they come to you?
Blogs are not only read for information, they’re read because of the writer’s style. Most times, it’s not about what you say; it’s about how you say it.
Nne, I wee stop there… for now.
This has been a handful, my fingers are twitching… I need to go and chow something.
Read this post, reread it, bookmark it in your browser, tell a friend, tell another friend and actually practice this. If you follow through on these, you’ll create a successful blog.
Don’t dull, do it like a Sharp Guy.
Keeping it 500,
Author: Tomi Joshua
Tomi is a case.
A bit brash, at first blush. But ultimately, he means well. There are very few things he won’t say or do in the presence of tolerant company (especially when it could make for a good story later).
Tomi is a Doctor, writer, certified inbound marketer (Shout Out to HubSpot), Digital Hustler, and online business addict.
He is most likely to be found dancing to the beat of his own drum, even in accapella.