Just because you have a blog…

bloggingI once got a comment on my personal blog that said, “Just because you have a blog, doesn’t mean you can write.” So true. But it did mean I had an outlet to educate, enlighten and even sway public opinion.

Before online blogs, writers couldn’t get their comments out to a mass audience unless it was through “Letters to the Editor,” flyers, personal letters, or printed newsletters, which cost money. Incredibly great writers went unknown choosing other occupations that would provide a good living. Today, bloggers are free to open their sites without any form of financial support and work full or part time, opening up an entire new source of content and topics – good and bad.

I would characterize my favorite bloggers as students of what I like to call “Extreme Blogging.” They can best be summed up with this quote:

“If you’re not prepared to lose every friend you’ve ever had over a board game, you’re not trying hard enough.”

I might be exaggerating a little, and of course this is referring to personal blogs, but what I find irresistible is a blogger that researches, examines, cites, quotes, protests, and provides commentary. I am intrigued by the fact that a great many stories have been proven false by every day bloggers who are committed to the extreme.

Not everyone has a taste for extreme blogs, however. Millions of people are recipe junkies or fitness enthusiasts solely interested in the content sans the spice. The thing to remember when you’re blogging is to keep your audience in mind. The goal of any blogger should be engagement, connecting with readers who will share posts and help to build your influence.

W7153Robin Houghton’s “Blogging for Creatives: How designers, artists, crafters and writers can blog to make contacts, win business and build success”  is a great guide on blogging. Houghton offers background on different platforms that can be used, technologies, writing style and SEO. She also offers a collection posts to help new bloggers get started.

The first decision for creatives, and what Houghton addresses, is which platform works best for the blogger’s expertise and interest – Tumblr, WordPress, Typepad or Blogger. Once a platform is chosen, the fun begins.

Blogging for Creatives is available at MyDesignShop.com for 35% off the paperback edition. You can follow me and our other editors’ posts at Blog.HowDesign.com to get an idea of how we post and prospect for stories.