So you’ve decided you want to start a blog. Congratulations! You’ve just taken the first step to becoming a better writer. Blogs are a great way to develop your voice, pursue your interests, meet like-minded writers and readers, and find out if writing for a living is a journey you’d like to embark upon.
Starting a blog is a bit like launching a brand new magazine. Although you don’t have to have all your story ideas ready at the get go, it can be useful to think in terms of over-arching themes and other elements which relate to that, or which might be interesting to your potential readers, to find out if the topic you have in mind has enough depth to go the distance.
For example, if you want to start a travel blog, you might want to pick an aspect of this which is closest to your interests and expertise. Maybe you’re passionate about luxury travel. (You don’t always need to be able to afford it, you just need to appreciate it!) So then you’d plan stories on the most exclusive resorts, top luxury hotels, the best ski resorts, the most expensive cruises and first-class transfer options in order to become a luxury travel blogger.
But you might also want to throw in some stories about hot new tech gadgets, the most expensive watches, new yacht designs, the best ski equipment, or the latest catwalk fashion. These are all great tangents for readers who might want to read about luxury travel. These other articles additionally add great texture, colour and content to your blog, just as they would in a print magazine. It also makes the writing and research more interesting for you!
Specific products and goods can also provide an excellent focus should your blog become successful, and you want to monetise it in the future. High quality reviews, with affiliate marketing links and plenty of top SEO keywords, are a great white hat marketing route to make money blogging (but be careful – don’t try this on a free WordPress blog or you will be shut down! You need to graduate to your own domain first. More on this in a future post).
Another way of deciding what kind of blog to write is by assessing the competition. If you put a few key words into Twitter, let’s say #luxurytravel or #travelblogging you’ll get quite a shock at the thousands (millions?) of bloggers already writing in this arena. But don’t let that put you off – incredibly, there’s always room for a great new blog. Persistence is key! You can be sure of finding followers initially through friends and family on your social media networks, who often love to see what you’re up to – and this is a great way to connect! (Want to connect with me on Twitter? Find me here!)
Beyond that, blogging is a voyage of discovery to meeting new people and finding out more about topics that interest you. I’ve happily made thousands of new contacts through blogging, some of whom have become firm friends (offline!) Social media is also a fantastic way to network – I’ve “met” hundreds of people on Twitter that I’ll probably never encounter in real life, but they retweet my blog links and share the love every time I post a great picture or story!
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what you’re blogging about, just as long as you’re passionate about the topic. And the first few stories on your blog don’t have to set the tone in stone – a blog is a work in progress, and developing it to find your voice and the real angle you want to be talking about is half the fun. Happy blogging!
Featured photo © Thomas Leuthard