100 blog posts, or how to write and write again

Knowing like I know that there are plenty of bloggers out there who publish daily and/or have been longer at it and who must be so far beyond their 100th blog post they can’t even see it with a telescope on a clear day, still I can’t keep from wondering how I made it this far.

Too many ideas to write about…

100 blog posts ContentRamblerAt first I only published once a week. But I sat down to blog every single night, just to build a routine. I had so many ideas they wouldn’t fit into one post, I’d add and edit until I had several topics jumbled up into one blog post. That’s when I wrote How to add focus to every post ūüėČ

Publishing twice a week worked for a while. I would have loved to publish more often but felt I would never get away from my blog if I went down that road.

…or too few

Continue reading

Happy blogging anniversary – and a new summer task

While I was writing this blog post I noticed a notification reminding me of my blogs first anniversary:

Blogging for a year: Happy Anniversary With WordPress

It’s been an interesting year that started with wanting to write.

Blogging leads to all kinds of things

In some ways, not much happened. I didn’t get 2000 hits within my first week of blogging. But for someone who just wants to write that kind of stuff misses the point by several lightyears. Continue reading

Creating a strong password you’ll remember

Passwords. Everybody needs them, but only few of us like them.¬†A password will guard your online belongings when you’re out so nobody will come in to burn your frying pans, empty the fridge, swim in your pool,¬†and invite all their friends over to the party they’re planning in your garden. But¬†having to make one up and remember it is¬†as much fun as¬†remembering to¬†lock your front door.

How do you create a strong password – and remember it?

Don't lose sleep over your password Image: HikingArtist.com

Don’t lose sleep over your password
Image: HikingArtist.com

While I’m hoping everybody got themselves a decent password after hacks into LinkedIn and Twitter a while ago, you may not have mustered the courage to come up with a really strong password.

Or you did, and ended up forgetting your brand new password within days.

Wouldn’t life be much easier if we were able to memorize any nonsensical, unpronouncable, completely random password – and to remember which password went with which account? Continue reading

Blogging stew: mixing content creation, curation, and marketing

If content is part of your profession, you need to keep an eye on all aspects. Not just the bit you happen to be responsible for at any given moment. Why?

  1. Because these different aspects are glued together and you’ll get asked sooner or later: “But what about X?” Although you could say that’s out of your jurisdiction, that answer won’t get you anywhere nice.
  2. Because it’s actually nice to stay up to date about topics that are related to what you do for a living, or for a hobby – like blogging.

Blogging stew: content ingredients

Great-looking ‘Mayan stew’. Click to view on Flickr [cloud2013].

As¬†a content enthousiast you’re involved in content creation, content curation, content marketing, or all of them mixed up into a (hopefully) savory stew. What’s the result of putting in your time and energy? Continue reading

Blogging impressions: easy summer tasks for your blog

Summer has finally hit the shores of the Netherlands and elsewhere too I dare say. Like I announced earlier I’ve changed my posting routine to once a week at least for now.

Summer tasks for your blog

Great summer image by Christine Majul. Click to view on Flickr.

To make sure I don’t end up neglecting my blog over the summer, I’ve thought of a couple of easy tasks that’ll make any blog better than it already is. Are you ready?

‘Summer up’ your old blog posts

Check for old posts that you wrote in a hurry. Think of topics that might have turned into a great post but didn’t quite make it because you were tired or stressed out. Open the curtains and let the sun shine into those old winterdepressed writings. See if which of your old ideas, posts and drafts alike, deserve some high summer TLC from you and start editing, rewriting, and (re-)publishing.

If you post one new blog post once a week, update another post every week or so.

Replace sub-par images with quality images

This is definitely an issue for some of my posts and I think it is the nicest way to update old posts. There must’ve been times when you just didn’t have time or energy to look for the best possible images. Change images you added which you don’t like anymore – images that don’t fit in with the rest of your blog. I can’t think of a nicer way to improve your blog than looking for really cool pictures that’ll make your (old) posts look 10 times better. Look for great images¬†to grace¬†your future posts while you’re at it.

This also means tagging the new images. Focusing on just the images on your blog for a change¬†means you can ‘SEO’ your images as much as you like by adding keywords from your text to the alternative text box (Alt tag stuff), description, and title. This is what turns an image into visual content, apart from its contribution to your written content.

Check your stats for blogging inspiration

What topics and posts have been really popular? Do your popular posts stand out in particular ways, like quality of images, truly inspired writing, or seasonal flavor?

Have people found you through search – if so, what were they looking for?

Blog improvement tasks in summer

The important thing is to remember it’s summer. Don’t beat yourself up if you find you could have done a better job for some posts. Summer is a great time for good intentions. Start by taking a relaxed view of your blog posts – then take them out for a brisk run in the summer breeze.

How a blog and a LinkedIn profile add up to a new job

Are you out job hunting, or just wondering if you should be? Here are a few steps that can help you if you want either social media, writing, blogging, or content in any form to be part of your job:

First, start blogging

Blog to find a job that suits you

Finding a job that suits you.
HikingArtist.com via Flickr

Nearly 11 months ago I started this blog with the main aim to start writing because all I’d done was keep a diary about our son for over two years. By that time,¬†I was ready¬†to look for a new challenge.

After writing a couple of posts I started sharing them on Twitter.¬†Then I went a bit crazy and got accounts for nearly everything I could hook up to my blog so I could automate sharing in different places. Blogging and writing are popular with my fellow bloggers on WordPress.com, but the best results in terms of sharing and replies to my ‘business’ posts have been on Twitter and LinkedIn. Continue reading

Blogging impressions: how to change your journal into a blog

This post is about me. And perhaps it’s also about you… When I started blogging I refused to¬†explore the question who I was going to write for in detail. So now maybe it’s time to make up for that.

Who am I trying to reach? Who is my audience?

Well, for starters:

  1. People who have a brain, and are not afraid to use it. If that’s you, consider it a compliment ūüėČ
  2. People who like to learn, and who don’t mind reading stuff that’s about different topics so long as it’s written for non-experts.
  3. People who share one or more interests with me.
  4. Experts who like to extend their own thinking on various topics.
  5. In other words, I aim to blog for people with room in their heads for new ideas or new takes on things they know (although, if they read a lot, I may not always be able to surprise them). I blog for curious people.

Change your Journal into a blogI’m writing for people who are, in a way, like me. It’s quite possible that I’m writing for me. Which I¬†reckoned was fine when I started blogging. After all, I’m my own best-known audience. I know what I like. If you blog for a specific audience without doing research into your intended audience, chances are that you’re blogging for you. If that wasn’t your intention, all I can say is: Oops.

Does all of the above mean you’re looking at my journal right now? Yes and no… So how do I write my posts for you on this blog of mine?

How to change your journal into a blog written for an audience

Unless my planning gives me a topic to write about up front (I’ll admit I’ve been too busy lately), I start out writing about something that’s either fascinating me, or frustrating me, or worrying me, or…
I start writing and keep writing for a while, exploring the topic as I go.
Until¬†the bloggers’¬†inquisitor¬†drops in. I keep¬†this creature¬†outside on a leash for¬†my ‘raw’ draft so it doesn’t chew on the furniture or drool on my keyboard while I’m busy.

The blogger’s¬†inquisitor is that nagging feeling you may know – that may creep up on you when you’re writing… asking:

  • Why would anyone be interested in your problems?
  • What’s in here that could actually solve someone else’s problems?
  • After all you’re not so unique that you could be the only person in the world who has this issue. Are you?

Turning…

At this point I snap out of journaling mode and start writing for YOU:

  1. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of pasting “you” where I was (yes, and the verbs too).
  2. Sometimes it means I look at the issue I’ve described in a whole new light.
  3. And I start describing details of what you might run into.
  4. Then I add tips to counter some of those issues.
  5. A key issue is that I can’t pretend to have an answer for you if I don’t have one. But as a part of my blogging activities I can look for an answer and present it to you in my resulting blog post.
  6. Or I can think about what might work for you, even if I don’t know if it would work for me.

Think about it for a minute. There’s a HUGE difference between a journal and a blog.

What is a journal about?

A journal is essentially about you. It’s where your write about stuff you run into. In the case of an online journal, it allows your readers to recognize, sympathize – sometimes have a lot of fun reading about your musings. Some of¬†your readers may take heart in¬†the fact that¬†you’re experiencing the same problems they’re facing.

What is a blog about?

A (business) blog is¬†– has to be –¬†about your readers. Whatever you put in should be written to benefit them in some small way. That doesn’t mean you should leave out your point of view – that’s the point of it being your blog – right? I’d say it’s impossible to leave¬†yourself out – but you can suppress¬†your presence¬†to the point of squeezing the last bit of life out of your blog.¬†Please don’t.

Painting the picture more clearly…

Compare writing to painting. Turning from journaling to blogging doesn’t mean you stop ‘painting’.¬†All it¬†means is you don’t do self portraits anymore –¬†most of the time.

Your work still shows your choice of topic, your structure, your style, your preferred colors and details. It’s just that your readers are no longer inspecting every pimple on your nose anymore (metaphorically speaking – I hope). Instead,¬†your readers¬†are exploring the world through the¬†words you paint onto the canvas of your blog.

Read more storytelling and blogging:

  • The science of storytelling, by Gregory Ciotty on Problogger.net (14 Feb. 2013)
  • And in this post on Problogger, Jon Morrow gets personal (2011) – much to the surprise of some¬†people in¬†his audience if the comments are anything to go by.
  • Lastly, I talked about audience matters in an earlier post, so in case you missed it here’s the link to that post.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Blogging impressions. You may find previous episodes here and here. And finally, leave your thoughts on journals, blogs and (your) blogging audience in a comment!