When I decided to be a Social Media Consultant after years in business and arts management, I wanted to create a blog that grabbed the attention of potential clients. Problem – There are a gazillion social media consultants and even more social media blogs offering similar content. Where to start?
1 – Make it personal
There’s only one you and if you want other people to get to know how special your are, you have to speak from the heart. As Sammy Davis Jr. sang: “I Gotta Be Me.” Avoid writing in third person (unless your royalty). Tell stories. You’re having a conversation. Imagine you’re sitting across the table from someone and speaking to them. It’s more personal and involves the reader personnally. Which brings me to:
2 – Read Your blog posts aloud
When writing longer articles, I’ve always printed them out and read them aloud. I find that I notice more errors that way. As a play writer, it’s was remarkable how different my script sounded when the actors spoke the dialogue. A blog post isn’t a dissertation, it’s the beginning of a conversation. It’s quite amazing how many repeated words and clichés you’ll notice.
3 – Avoid using the passive voice
This is one of those bad habits that has followed me from my High School English class to my University Communications courses. Much to the chagrin of my teachers, and being someone who enjoys reading classics, I have been known to indulge in the use of subordinate clauses and the passive voice in my writing. See?
Do people talk like that? No. You want action verbs. Cut redundant text. and edit out business jargon (unless you’re doing a government grant or high level B2B proposal)
The passive voice excludes the people involved in your blog post. And that includes you, the author, and the reader. We like to read about other people. It’s hard empathize with a blog post that reads like a PhD thesis.
4 – Write and write and write
One of the reasons I started blogging was to motivate me to write. I was a “talker” not a “doer”.
There is no shortage of advice on how to structure, format, optimize and schedule your blog posts. It can be overwhelming and a real passion killer. My advice. Write. Don’t censure yourself. Hit those keys and don’t look back until you’ve said what you wanted to. Then go back and edit ruthlessly. You can only polish and cut a rough diamond into a beautiful jewel if that jewel already exist within it.
And when you hit that wall, look for inspiration in other people’s blogs. Listen to podcasts, go out and talk to people. You will hear and read hundreds of things that you can turn into a blog post.
Tip: always have some medium handy to capture those moments of genius; a notebook, an iPod or any other recorder – anything. (More of my ideas have disappeared down the shower drain than dead body cells.)
Remember, the more you write, the ideas you will generate.
We live a ADHD world. As soon as you login onto the internet highway, you are tempted constantly by website billboards and flashy YouTube rest areas; all this while you’re chatting and checking Facebook updates while you’re driving.
Refer frequently to your post topic to make sure that what you are writing is relevant and adds value to the subject title.
You can get the gist of this blog just by reading the five headers (which many will do). The other stuff is my personal experience or advice that I hope will give these points context.
Writing is hugely satisfying if it’s your passion; excruciating if it’s your “job”.
What blogging challenges do you find the most difficult?
Ray Hiltz is a Google Plus Specialist and Social Media Strategist helping small businesses establish their brands and build their communities on the social web.
A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus.
His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social".
Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.
Very well said, Ray. If I could add one bonus rule: Try to blog frequently, but only if you have something important and relevant to say. If not, wait until you do. Your readers won't mind - in fact, they'll appreciate it. Love the image at the top. Can I ask where you got it?