1. Start your own blog
Having your own personal blog is a great way to practise before you begin writing for other people – and ideally, you need a lot of this before expecting someone to pay you for your work. Be sure to produce high-quality examples that will serve as a portfolio and provoke interest for any potential future employers.
You may wish to start out on WordPress.com and Blogger, which are simple, free of charge, and great for writers just starting up. You can then progress to WordPress.org – this is not free but gives you more control over your domain and the way you present the content you produce. Make people take notice of you and see you as a professional blogger!
2. Be prepared to do the research
Blogs and their posts aren’t successful and engaging reads if the research hasn’t been done first. Don’t be tempted to jump straight into the writing – give your topic some thought first. Ideally, this needs to be included in your writing time, so be aware that it can take hours to produce your best work.
Blogs give you the freedom to write whenever, and wherever, so in our interconnected digital world, there are no excuses not to think it through properly! Plus, failing to research your topic thoroughly could damage your reputation at best or even land you in hot water if you fall foul of the law.
3. Plan and be organised
You don’t want your content to sound like a bunch of random, incoherent thoughts – this may be how planning for a blog post begins, but it shouldn’t be how it ends. A blog can easily look organised by applying a simple structure. Make sure to have a clear-cut, engaging title, subheadings outlining your major points, and some form of conclusion at the end.
As you may well be aiming to make money from your blogs in the future, it may also be beneficial to get into the mindset of a professional who is producing content to a regular schedule. Working to a designated content or editorial plan will definitely put you in good stead with prospective clients.
4. Have a punchy opening and killer close
Modern readers are known for their short attention spans, so your blog needs to draw them in quick. There’s nothing stopping a reader reading your first sentence and deciding it’s not for them, so having a big, punchy, interesting start to your post will generate interest straight away, making them more likely to read to the end.
You also need a killer close – leave people satisfied, but wanting more. The ending needs to make people talk about your blog, or share it with others – it also never hurts to add a social share at the end.
5. Have a clear, interesting angle
Blogs always need to have a clear-cut, interesting angle that will generate reader interest from the mass of other content out there. Most topics will have been covered before in one form or another, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t always a new way you can write about it. Be specific about this angle, as this allows readers to become more easily invested.
6. Use your interests
This piece of advice echoes a lot of writers’ out there: write about what you know. Or at least what you’re interested in. Even if your knowledge base isn’t already too wide, if you’re interested in the topic, you’ll be prepared to do the research. If you know a lot about the topic already, even better – this will save a lot of time and will mean you have longer to focus on the actual writing.
Using what you know, whether from personal interest or professional experience, is also a great way to monetise your skills and build a loyal following. Capitalising on what you can bring to the table means you can create a niche that could eventually lead to higher-paying work.
7. Write every day
Any writer, whether it’s a blogger or otherwise, will give the same advice. Write. Every. Day. Document any ideas as they come to you, no matter when, or where you are – one of these might just be the topic of your next best blog. This way, you’ll also avoid the nightmare of writer’s block, as you’ll constantly have a long list of ideas to use.
As Neil Patel shares on his blog:
“James Altucher recommends that you write down 10 ideas per day. Make it a daily practise and you’ll become a better writer.”
8. Read other writers
Every writer gets inspiration from somewhere – and a lot of the time, this tends to be from fellow writers. Never plagiarise, but it doesn’t hurt to have a look at the structure or topic choices of other bloggers, particularly ones that are well established.
It’s also useful to read about the process of writing and how to improve your craft. This article on the 8 best books about blogging in 2020 is also a good place to start.
9. Promote your blog
Growing your readership tends to get off to a slow start, so don’t get disheartened about this. However, if you post blogs on Tumblr or Live Journal, you’ll pretty much have a ready-made audience awaiting your writing.
If you’re looking to the future and thinking big, use social media to promote your latest posts and to connect with your readership and influencers. For instance, be sure to promote any blogs you write online via your portfolio and platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
10. Write guest posts
If you’re looking to eventually be paid for your blogs or simply broaden your audience, then another tip is to write guest posts. Look for fellow influencer or company blogs that share a similar audience and offer to write free content for them in exchange for a link back to your site or a byline.
The important thing to remember, however, is that your proposed post should actually be relevant and insightful for the host blog and their readership, otherwise they’re unlikely to take up your offer.
11. Do a thorough proofread
You wouldn’t leave the house with your trousers on backwards, because you’d check you’ve got dressed properly first. In the same way, be sure not to publish anything online until you’re sure it’s been written properly! A thorough proofread is essential, and shouldn’t take up too much time.