by Cathy Yan, Social Media Assistant LTC
Artwork by Katie King
Blogging is often thought of as something giggly teenage girls do in their free time, an opportunity for them to complain and rant without paying any attention to spelling or grammar. What you might not know is that blogging is an art form. There are many steps a writer must take to ensure their blog is reaching their targeted audience and is gaining the right kind of attention.
Successful blogs take dedication, time, and require the same skills it takes to write a short story or a poem. If you’re thinking of starting a blog with content that goes above and beyond the usual poorly-written rants, then this is the article for you.
The first thing you have to do is find a theme. Will the blog be about your life? Advice for people your age? The evolution of Britney Spears? The topic must be very general, unlike the specific themes of short stories or poems. Remember, you will be writing at least two or three blog posts on this topic a week, so a theme encompassing many different aspects is ideal. If your topic is too narrow, you will quickly run out of ideas.
The next step is to decide on your target audience. You must know exactly who you are writing for in order to align your writing style accordingly. Writing for kindergarteners and writing for college professors require two completely different types of style. As with writing for any other genre, make sure your style is consistent throughout your blog. Constant changes in diction and tone may confuse your audience.
Once you figure out your theme and your target audience, it’s time to set up your blog. There are a variety of servers to choose from, many of which are free. I personally prefer Tumblr, which allows you to include photos, links, and tag your posts to reach your desired readers easily and quickly. Plus, there are thousands of custom designs for your blog, more than enough to suit every taste. Take the time to carefully think of a URL and a title that reflects your topic and make sure your design is attractive. First impressions are very important.
The final step is to create and publish your first post. Contrary to popular belief, successful blogs utilize the same grammar rules as any other type of writing. Make sure your post fits your topic and your title is short and preferably witty to catch the reader’s attention. If your chosen server allows you to, add tags to make your blog easier to find.
Finally, after editing it all once more, hit the publish button and watch your blog go live.
However, it’s not time for congratulations yet. Another aspect of successful blogging is consistency. You don’t have to post every day, but once a week is the absolute minimum. Your readers want a blog that is constantly being updated as opposed to one that is always on hiatus. This is especially important if your theme is “news” or “current events.”
Blogging is a great way to connect with people who have similar interests and to express yourself. It also teaches discipline, advocates routine, and improves your writing skills. If you’re looking to break into a new genre with a wide range of audiences, try out blogging!
Cathy Yan is a 16 year old writer from Canada. She is the social media assistant for LTC. Her personal blog can be found here.