Not long ago, it was pretty tough for creative collegiettes™ to show off their skills. Budding poets could show off a few verses in their school literary magazines and artists could submit a few pieces to local galleries—but overall, creativity was a dorm room affair.
Now, things are different. Now, collegiettes™ who spend their time writing or illustrating or shooting photos have an easy way to show their work to the world - and it’s as simple as a few clicks.
We’re talking, of course, about blogs. They’re arguably the easiest and most effective way to show off your creative skills for the world.
But how can you make sure your blog actually gets read, instead of sitting in the dusty corners of cyberspace? Read on for tips from two established bloggers—one in writing and editing, one in design—to find out how to join the blogo sphere successfully.
1. Pick ONE topic and stick to it.
It’s easy when you realize you want to start a blog to let your vision get too broad. After all, most collegiettes™have tons of varied interests and skills. But your blog will flounder if you try to post about everything.
HC Design Intern Carrie Morris, who blogs about illustration and design at Cupcake Shape, says blogging about the one topic she’s mostinterested in has made her site stronger.“If you are passionate about something, it’ll come across in your writing and other people who like the same things will follow you,” she says.
Lindsay Tigar, an associate editor at an online magazine in New York City who blogs about love and relationships at “Confessions of a Love Addict”, says it’s important to choose a topic with some relevance to the career or goal you’re chasing. “We may all be a jack of all trades and experts at nothing, but that doesn’t mean we should write about it all,” Lindsay says. “If you’re an aspiring magazine editor/writer, pick a topic that could help you with clips. For example, if you want to write about food for a food mag, write a food blog.”
Whether it’s travel, crafting, fashion or art, everyone has one interest that trumps all the others. What do you love more than anything else? What could you talk about all day without running out of things to say? Whatever it is, that’s what your blog should be about.
2.Commit to a schedule.
Once you get started, it’s easy to let blogging fall to the end of your priority list. After all, your homework is due tomorrow and your shift at work starts in five minutes—and no one’s going to yell at you if you don’t post a blog.
The problem is, if you don’t post, your blog’s not going to produce the results you want. So as soon as you start blogging, break out your calendar and put yourself on a schedule. Lindsay chose to post once a day for a full year, but your schedule should be one that makes sense for you. Try once a week to start out with.
Once you’ve decided what your personal deadlines are, make it a point to avoid missing even one. It’s important to post frequently, but even more important to post with consistency. “If you say you’re going to post every day, don’t disappoint,” Lindsay says. “You gain a following by developing trust.”
3.Promote, promote, promote. When you’re done promoting, promote some more.
The bottom line is, you could have the best blog on the Internet, but if no one knows it exists, it doesn’t matter. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of social media in getting your blog out there.
Start by sharing links to your posts on the social networking sites you already use: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn are all great places to share content. And when you’re using Twitter or Tumblr, make sure you take advantage of each site’s tagging system. Use Twitter’s hashtags - make sure to look at the top trending topics in the U.S. and in your area - and the tagging system on Tumblr.
It also helps to join a site that lists and categorizes blogs on similar topics. For example, Lindsay says she promotes “Confessions of a Love Addict” through 20-Something Bloggers, BlogHer, and Blog Lovin’.
4. Don’t blog in a vacuum.
Remember that blogging is a social exercise—if you stay on your own blog without reaching out to others, you probably won’t go very far. But if you take time to find blogs you like and connect with the people behind them, you’ll get much more out of your blogging experience. “Make sure to network, follow blogs you like and comment on their entries,” Carrie says. “Comments will lead back to your blog and help you get exposure.”
Similarly, Lindsay recommends interacting with other members of the blogosphere as much as possible. She suggests thanking bloggers who post comments, responding to tweets and emails, making posts to recommend other blogs, regularly choosing blogs for Twitter Follow Fridays, and participating in link exchanges.
And according to Lindsay—who worked at a business magazine when she started her blog and is now working at her dream job—blogging your way to a career is really pretty simple. “Give as much as you post,” she says, “and you’ll be successful.”