Blog Writing

A helping hand for new bloggers

Drew McLellan at Marketing Minute is compiling a list of the most helpful resources for new bloggers (to go into the blogging toolbox - pictured left).

I’ve been blogging for a little over three months now and I realised last week that I’ve already clocked up more than 200 posts between my two sites (Confident Writing and Coaching Wizardry).  Anyway this seemed like a good point to take stock of the resources out there, and say thanks to the people that have helped to get me going - and keep me motoring.

I got started with the support of Business Blog Angel Claire Raikes.  She’s a great blogging coach and even if you aren’t one of her clients, you’ll find that her site is chock full of practical blogging tips.

And talking of chock full of practical tips… I couldn’t do a list like this without mentioning Darren Rowse’s Problogger site which is a great place to learn about all aspects of blogging - and (despite the title) it’s of value to everyone using this medium, not just those who want to try and make a living out of it.  I think part of the value comes in browsing the comments from other bloggers and learning from their experience too.  I also like the way Darren answers reader questions in his posts (although you need to be ready to expose your blogging weaknesses to the world if you ask him a question!)

As I writer I’m naturally drawn to great writing - which is why I keep going back to Brian Clark’s Copyblogger site.  For me, this site is a living lab on how to write compelling blog posts.  A lot of the articles take you through the ‘how to’ (write great headlines, avoid grammar mistakes that make you look dumb, be remarkable) but the most important thing is that Brian models his own advice in each post.  Reading great writing like this, working out for yourself what’s going on, how he’s used language to create impact - these are great ways to learn, and to pick up shifts in style or language pattern that you can start to use in your own blog writing.

If there’s one downside of a site like Copyblogger is that it can make you aware of the ‘gap’ between your own writing style and that of a professional copywriter like Brian.  As I say, I believe there are things to be learned from each and every piece of great writing - but not at the expense of losing confidence in your own material, of losing your own writing style, of losing your own voice.  The power of blogging lies in letting your own, authentic, voice shine through.

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed doing in the last few months is discovering then following other people’s blogs and noticing such a wide variety of styles and voices - natural, friendly, witty, observational, short, long, technical, dreamy… (And I’d have to add the advice to dip into lots of different sites to my blogging toolbox.)  But the ones I like best are those that are distinctively, uniquely themselves.

The most fun part of blogging is the conversations that follow - from links you’ve made, from comments on your own site, or the comments and conversation that you engage with on other people’s.  Mike Sansone’s Converstations would have to be the place to go to watch conversation in action, to tune into a conversational writing style (then model it!) and, if you still need it, to find out the reasons ‘why’ blogging is all about conversations, and relationships.

Liz Strauss’ blog is centred around conversation - to the extent that it took me a while to ‘get’ it.  (You have to take the time to go beyond the posts and follow the amazing conversations that follow.)  Liz is also most generous in her support for new bloggers (me included) for which we should all be thankful.

Last, but far from least, the thing that really helped at the beginning was the feedback, comments and contribution from other bloggers, some new themselves, some well established.  Robyn McMaster left me this most amazing comment when I first started (Robyn is also most generous in her support for and encouragement of other bloggers).

You’re on your way as a blogger, Joanna. You’ve taken the jump into blogging and there’s no turning back because it engages you with a wide global community sharing ideas

After this I knew there’d be no looking back.

Thanks Robyn, and everyone else who helps new bloggers on their way.

If you’d like to share the resources that have helped you - and deserve a place in the blogging toolbox, just jump in.  The idea is to identify the blogs that

  • Are chock full of practical tips
  • Act as a living lab on how to write compelling blog posts
  • Demonstrate how to build a community
  • Teach marketing tools
  • Are welcome wagons - bloggers who spotlight newbies

(I’ve kind of done that but the categories seemed to cross over each other - or maybe it’s because great blogs cover all these bases…)

Then, if you want to a) use the toolbox graphic and b) highlight blogs that other people have listed…

And link back to Drew’s original post so he can put them into the toolbox.

If you enjoyed this post, please help to spread the word by sharing it on Facebook and/or Twitter. Thanks! To get future posts, add the RSS feed to your feed reader, or send them straight to your inbox.

Joanna Paterson

Journal and writing coach, teaching ways to notice and capture the wonder of the everyday, through writing, poetry, and photography.

Poetry and Photography - Twitter - Facebook

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4 Responses to “A helping hand for new bloggers”

  1. On July 2, 2007 at 11:37 pm Robyn McMaster responded with... #

    Joanna, I thought you were above the ordinary cut when I began to read your blog. Sometimes all a new blogger needs is a kind words that helps them realize that someone really does visit and affirms what you do.

    Folks like Ellen Weber, Mike Sansone, Chris Cree, Liz Strauss, Easton Ellsworth and Bill Belew encouraged me as I started. And, it’s really easy for a blogger who creates great posts!

  2. On July 3, 2007 at 11:26 am Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi Robyn, thanks for your kind words.

    Your encouragement is much appreciated, I’m sure by many other bloggers as well as myself.

    Joanna

  3. On July 28, 2007 at 6:37 am Saul responded with... #

    Thanks for all the great advice. It is always great hearing about how to make a blog a success. Have you checked out the upcoming Postiecon Conference? Well, thanks for the toolbox and all the other resources you have shared with us.

  4. On July 29, 2007 at 9:55 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi Saul, thanks for stopping by and for the info on the conference. It wasn’t something I’d heard of before - is it an event your company is helping to promote?

    Joanna

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