Now that it’s the New Year maybe, just maybe, you’ve thought about starting your own blog.
Every semester in University of Toronto’s Digital Strategy & Communications Management Certificate (#digitaledu), my colleagues (@DonnaPapacosta @AlisonGJ @EdenSpodek) and I experience blogging for the first time with an incredibly diverse group of individuals looking to expand their respective digital footprints.
From what you should know about Scotch tasting to what a Breatharian is (exactly as it sounds), the breadth of topics adds so much to my cocktail party conversations. Really.
Everyone has a unique story and blogging is the ideal outlet to reflect just that.
As consumers of content, online navigation is now intuitive for most of us, but ironically that sometimes doesn’t translate to when we become publishers of our own content.
So, here are a few things often overlooked when starting a blog:
- Add a few categories for navigation, then use as many tags as make sense. Simplicity is always best and that hierarchical view of a few categories and tags makes it easier to follow.
- Add a search bar. Often overlooked, it will make it so much easier for your readers to find content or go back to something read previously.
- Have an “About” page with a picture and at least your first name. Also include a way to get a hold of you, whether through a form or an email. It gives me more of a connection as a reader.
- Include a call to action at the bottom of your posts. Do you want me to offer my opinion or share a picture of how your recipe turned out when I made it? Then ask me to do that.
- Don’t assume I’ve read all your previous posts. Create each piece of content as standalone and incorporate your other previous content as makes sense.
- Hyperlink your text with relevant content within your post. Make it easy to check out that quirky store by having your text obviously linking to it and not as a footnote or with full URL text.
- Embed everything else. Videos, tweets, Soundcloud recordings and anything else that has embed code available to publish should be used. It’s a legit way to add interest.
- Capture me in your first few words. Write a headline that tells my exactly what I’ll get. Cryptic magazine-like headlines don’t work but phrases I Google do.
- Keep it succinct and make it appealing to consume. While there’s a place for long form online, most of your content could be 300-500 words with subheads, bullets and pictures.
Anyone can blog and its success really comes from a willingness to constantly evolve it.
Are you a member who wants to blog for CPRS Toronto? Drop us a line.