Beginner Blog Tips


Adam Singer, author of The Future Buzz

There seems to be a theme running through journalism classes this year. Get online, or die. This semester, professors have been stressing the importance of the Web in our future careers. I don’t know about you guys, but Professor Van Wyke’s comment about embrace social media or work in a coffee shop freaked me out.

So I’ve embraced it. But just because I’ve embraced the Web, that doesn’t mean I’m an expert at using it. I have a pretty solid grasp on Facebook. Twitter is still a bit dicey. Blogging scares me—and I’m writing three of them.

Adam Singer posted 50 blogging tips for beginners on his blog, The Future Buzz. Adam’s blog is all about web marketing/PR strategies, so any advice he gives I’m willing to listen to. His advice is geared toward rookies like us who are just getting started in the blogosphere. Here are five of his fifty tips that I think are key to a successful blog:

*Branding is vital.

            Make your blog unique. There has to be a reason to visit your blog.

*If you don’t find writing about your topic of choice fun, stop and write about something else.

            Usually, what you’re interested in is what you know. People can smell phonies. They won’t visit your blog if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

*Network, network, network.

            Find people with similar interests. Link to their blogs. Chances are they will pass readers on to you if they like your stuff. 

*Learn the intersection of social media and SEO.

            If Google can’t find your blog, neither can new readers.

*And finally, answer the “so what?” question.

So why are these tips important? Adam pretty much answers that question too. In the same post, he cites statistics that say 71 percent of bloggers have greater visibility in their industry. I want to be in that 71 percent when it comes time to find a job after graduation.

Are there other tips on Adam’s list you think are important for bloggers? From your own experiences, what advice would you give to beginners? Can you add to this list?


14 responses to “Beginner Blog Tips

  1. This is such a helpful post.

    I blog for this class and Magazine Staff Writing, and these tips are some I should really keep in mind when composing my material. As the numbers of blogs grow and grow, bloggers need to make their topics and posts more compelling so they’re not swallowed up by the masses, and I’m no different.

    The question of “so what?” and the SEO part are particularly important to me, because they’re issues I’m learning about and trying to address with my content. As a beginning blogger, I’ve learned to keep the content tight, quick, and to the point, and I make sure to include pictures, links, and multimedia content. These two tips are my next steps.

    • I agree with you Alysse. I think people who read blogs are all about the eye candy. Pictures and videos are a must. Also, I know if I see a blog post that is super text heavy, I won’t read it. I especially love when the text is broken up into small, manageable sections with bold headlines. Those are two really great suggestions.

      • I’m glad you agree Emily — it’s good to know what other people look for, too.

        Like we addressed a little on the test today, even blogs need multiple points of entry. Lots of uninterrupted text can be daunting.

  2. At the beginning of the year, the “so what?” factor is what I struggled with most. Like the lyrics to the Barenaked Ladies song, I thought “It’s All Been Done.”

    I soon realized that the color and personality in your writing can be the ticket to a successful blog. You don’t need an entirely original topic, just a focused, fresh take on a subject. It takes a while to develop a voice, but I’ve learned not to cower in fear at the idea of inserting a little more flavor and conversational wording in my posts.

  3. I agree with you about adding color and personality to your posts. I know I don’t want to read something that’s long and dull. I want something that’s quick and snappy, and if it makes me laugh a little that’s awesome too. That’s the type of post that keeps me coming back for more.

  4. I also blog for my magazine class, and it’s been really neat (and so, so much more interesting) to see how other people’s voices develop. Most of us are getting to be more comfortable with blogging, but it’s never too late to zone in on the key principles outlined in this post. One of the biggest challenges that I face while blogging is incorporating networking. It is a a good way to get your stuff out there and outreach to other sources. The networking aspect also encourages us to be more accountable for what we’re writing because it’s got our names on it.

  5. Gosh, I wish I had time to keep a blog. I think it’s a really great way to experience social media. At one point, I had a blog on my Web site, but people couldn’t comment about it, which made the whole blog thing somewhat pointless (because I couldn’t gauge how many people were interacting with it, et cetera).

    Nonetheless, I think a blog is a valuable tool and once I’m out of school, I’m hoping to start one up again on wordpress. We’ll see how that goes. I know a lot of students who struggle with material–what do I write about every week that keeps readers interested? That’s tough, and I’m not really sure I have the answer. Keeping a regular blog is vital in this industry–and keeping it fresh and current even more so.

    So happy blogging, J-folks. Look for me next year….?

  6. The best part about Singer’s post is that within it, he follows his own advice.

    The fact that he likes what he’s doing and what he’s writing about is clear. He exudes confident and authority. He has a sharp and defined thesis. He’s not afraid to have opinions.

    As someone who’s still in the working stages of developing a blog, this is a site I’m bookmarking for later use. Singer is like a life coach for blogging!

    Do you know how long he’s had his blog up and running?

  7. His archives go through 2007, but I don’t know for sure if that is when he started. You should check out some his facts on the “about” page. They’re pretty impressive. He reads more than 300 blogs every week!

  8. I think this is a very helpful blog post. My biggest concern about a blog is: who cares? Minus mom and my teachers I get concerned about whether my hard work is really worth it. What do you think? I agree that my engaging fully in social media and connecting with other blogs, using Twitter and Facebook to promote your work can make it something that people look forward to and enjoy. You just have to “get” people first. And therein lies the most difficult part….

    • I thought I was the only one having this problem of “getting people involved.” Glad to have a company ^_^. I mean, you probably have readers coming to your blog, right? Otherwise, I’ll go visit your blog right now!

  9. “Allow an absolute minimum of one year solid commitment (posting 3-5x weekly, or even daily) before you start to see compelling results. Be mindful of the fact it may take longer.”

    Oh my goodness, that’s LONG. Can you wait that long, Emily, until your Meat and Potato blog becomes well-known? I mean, it would take my patience away. But I won’t stop blogging though. I learn now that I’m in love with it. And though nobody really reads my blog, I still feel good that I get to share things with the world instead of keeping them to myself. You remember the Iraqi guy we watched in class yesterday? It’s kind of the same thing: I give people a chance to learn something new. If in the end they aren’t taking that chance, it’s not my fault.

    I hope everyone here blogs. I can’t read 300 blogs a day like this guy, but I do think it’s a good way to get your thoughts across. His tips are really helpful. I’ll take into consideration all of them!

  10. Almost every day I am realizing how much of an impact networking makes. Not only networking with Drake graduates, but friends of your family and even from high school will help out in the long run. My uncle, who used to be the VP of Procter and Gamble always tells me, “It’s about who you know.” This is why I think Twitter, Facebook, and all the other sectors of social media will benefit users in the long run. Sure you may not be good friends with your Facebook “friends,” but if you send them a message asking them if they know if where they work is hiring–I am sure they will respond. So I agree with Adam Singer– NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!

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