|Journal Entry 15||15/11/21|
What came first, the chicken oops l meant “The Blogger or the Writer?”
One of the components l am currently studying within my course is ‘content planning and structuring’, which is always an exciting topic and popular considering how much postal airtime it receives here in WordPress alone. It’ll appear as blogging, blogging tips, writing, or writing tips; it doesn’t matter here and now what it is created to and published as – the point is that it is always a popular topic with writers and bloggers alike.
We are always learning, and we seek to absorb as much information as we can as we go along our merry way when writing within our blogs. After all, the ultimate goal and quest are to be read, seen and understood, and hopefully resonate with our readers.
These words are not the words to rocket science, merely factual actualities! Traffic, traffic, traffic is as much required to a writer as is location, location, location to an estate agent or buyer of property looking for the ideal spot to call home or holiday!
Anyone who says, ‘I only write for myself, and l am not bothered about being read isn’t being entirely honest with them or us for that matter – everyone who writes publicly wants to be seen and most assuredly WANTS to be read. They need their content consumed. When a writer says that l have found in many cases, it is an easy way of saying, ‘I don’t understand why my content isn’t being read, but l don’t care!!” The truth is, they care! But they are upset.
Many bloggers give up after falling at the first hurdle – l have noticed it with new bloggers. However, writers don’t give up, and they keep writing. They keep reading, writing, and learning to NOT just give up at the first hurdle but find a way over it if they stumbled on the first few attempts!
I am by no means an expert with regards to blogging, although l have been considered an expert over the years in other subjects – they say that to become an ‘expert’, you need to work at something for 10000 hours which equates to 10 years to gain that mastery of your trade. I have been writing on and off for over 45 years, but l am far from expert status.
I was considered an expert with my brokerage business; l had worked in that industry for 19 years. I was considered an expert in retail; l am a veteran expert playing World of Warcraft which l have played since 2004. I am currently learning a new trade of composting and worming, the former of which l have been working for five years and the latter for just under 2. Long way to go before l am an expert there, but l am fine-tuning my craft every week with practice and as they say, ‘practice makes perfect!’
Although we live in a strange and fast world and not all experience and practice is equal – the 10,000 hours expert rule brings up the question of quality versus quantity. What happens if you can read more driven and focused information on your chosen topic, which allows you to qualify your experience faster? Would this make you an expert quicker, or would it simply mean that you can absorb your teachings more efficiently and therefore fine-tune your practical hands-on?
Mm, l think that might be another postal query further down the line. However, l am most assuredly not an expert blogger; l am only in my fourth year of blogging – so l am past being a novice or a newb – but l am still eager to acquire new skills whilst learning this craft and not too proud to admit that l don’t know everything.
I knew most of the points l was reading about on the course material – it is a case simply of ‘putting them into practice always’ and not forgetting to’, which we are all guilty of at times.
But it did make me think further on the topic of:
‘Ideal Blogging Tips’.
So, l put together some points that l find helpful in writing and blogging alike [not in any order] … what would you add to this list?
- Finding the right location to create my content with very little stress
- Making the ambience right to ‘write in’.
- Identifying your readership and keeping them in mind when writing
- Finding the right time of the day that works best to create content and having the time to spend on it.
- Having a rough mental template in your head of the content you plan to write
- Taking the time to proofread, review and edit, spell and grammar check and format my article before publishing
- Ensuring l have the ‘right’ headline, especially if not part of a series
- Using images where and when relevant
I am sure there would be more, but for me, especially in the GUY blog or even with the new business blog, they are the rules l tend to follow.
Finding the right location to create my content with very little stress
Gone are the days when l could multitask administrations, writing, and reading and not be bothered with disturbances. These days l tend to eliminate as many distractions as l can. I find it more accessible, especially when blogging, to create my content directly into the editor. If l am creating poetry, that is usually crafted inside a word document direct. I don’t have a Smartphone, so I don’t have to worry about that bleeping and pinging every two minutes with notifications. I don’t have any social media open.
I tend to remove anything that might cause unnecessary disturbance and or stress and stop me from working.
Making the ambience right to ‘write in’.
For me, l do all my writing and content creation in my office, which is downstairs in the living room. The curtains on the windows are open during the daytime, and whilst l do have nets up, l can still see the world rolling past, but it doesn’t bother me. It is a very mellow room and awards me nothing but peace, so l feel calm when writing anyway.
If l do have any music playing, it is usually tranquil and is a form of atmospheric rave or techno and plays in the background.
Identifying your readership and keeping them in mind when writing
My readership is always in the foreground of my mind. I am a writer who writes to be seen and read and have my content consumed by an audience. I don’t pretend to write for myself only – that’s a given – l am writing in the GUY blog content that l would read happily on another blog if available. When creating content, l think about how my core readership will respond and those new to my blog for the first time and their impressions.
The business blog will be geared to the same strategy and yet in a more defined manner as it will be a very ‘niched reader’, consuming that content. Hence, the range aims at what they are looking for as ‘new to composting or worm farming’ equally as those who are more experienced and passionate about conservation and environmental issues.
Finding the right time of the day that works best to create content and having the time to spend on it.
I have found that the best time for me to write long content is usually between the hours of 11 am – 2 pm – mid-morning to early afternoon and with short content between 3 pm – 6 pm mid-afternoon to early evening. Whilst l don’t have a strict schedule each week, l do know what l will be writing about every fortnight so l can plan accordingly the time needed to create either style.
If l get caught out or run short of time on the day and find that l have had very little time to create a short or long content piece for the next day publishing, then l usually have a backup plan – with Guy blog – it can be a recycled ‘poem’, and with the business blog it could be a ‘Gallery post’.
Long content posts can take anywhere between 2 – 4 hours to create, whilst short content posts usually only take 30 to 60 minutes to plan. Whatever l am writing, l always make sure l have the time required to spend upon the post creation.
Having a mental template in your head of the content you plan to write
Every day is different for me in terms of what content l am creating, but l always have a rough idea of how each post will be started and ended. I first find l am thinking about a vision for the post itself, then l toy with a headline, seek out a headline image. Next, l tell the story and finish everything by adding the finishing touches and proofreading and formatting.
Headline – Image – Start story – continue content – finish.
Taking the time to proofread, review and edit, spell and grammar check and format my article before publishing
I spend between 35 – 55 minutes on long content posts running everything through a spell and grammar check and copying the content from my WordPress editor into a Word document to make sure that the piece reads right. It does pay huge dividends to the writer/creator to check, check, and double-check regarding proofreading your content before you publish to a live audience. Readers will forgive minor errors but not volumes of them.
I always ensure each post is ‘readable and easily digested’ so l use bold, italics, and capitalization ONLY where needed or emphasize elements within the content. I used to write long paragraphs but now have bite-size chunks to make it easier for skimmers – so paragraphs of between 3 – 5 sentences only.
People read articles differently on the Internet than they would in a book, so when creating content, l have found it pays to work things their way even if l am writing long content posts.
Above everything – l want my readers to have a good experience when reading my content – l don’t always get it right, but l am always working to improve.
Ensuring l have the ‘right’ headline, especially if not part of a series
Everyone has an opinion on the Headline subject. However, if l am writing a post about a series, the headline’s title is fixed. If not, especially on the personal blog, l tend to pick something catchy, but if l want a business post read, the headline needs to be effective and tie in as best with keywords and reflect the content.
Using images where and when relevant
Not everyone uses images. However, l feel that the use of images help readers’ read and navigate’ your content. Many readers today become ‘word tired’ when all they see are large blocks of text in articles and so tend to zone out, irrelevant at times if the content is exceptional. The right images will aid your content and not hinder it. Visuals help break up the text, and this is useful in wordy articles.
People are pretty lazy; they want everything NOW. Because of the very nature of the Internet society and Google and the ability to find whatever you want with a few finger taps on the keypad, l think it pays the creator to utilize its imagery with their content. The secret is to not OVERKILL with imagery but to find the right balance using good clear quality images.