Building an online writing business can be a challenging process, but the rewards are worth the work it takes to overcome the obstacles.
Figuring out how to navigate the sea of information and tactics is tricky. How do you even begin to launch a blog, grow an audience, and find clients?
Here are five lessons I’ve learned as I went from blogging rookie to my current role as a senior copywriter. Hopefully my experience can make your road to blogging success an easier one!
1. Write well
This is a no-brainer, right? Your content needs to provide value to your reader.
It’s crucial for digital writers to learn how to explain complex subject matter in plain speech. Most readers simply want a question answered. Do it well and your readers will remember you and recommend you to others.
2. Build your skill toolbox
However, relying solely on your writing skills is a recipe for disaster. This advice has nothing to do with your writing ability; it’s a testament to how many other skills you’ll need to find success.
If you want to make a living writing in the digital space, you need to learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It will help you boost traffic to your work and run with the big dogs online. There’s a ton of information on SEO; check out blogs such as Moz.com or SearchEngineJournal.com to get started.
Another great thing to learn is some basic HTML and CSS coding (and PHP if you use WordPress). It’s not essential, but it can be a huge help — particularly if you’re running your own blog. You’ll be able to easily solve the small problems that pop up when managing your site. Try W3Cschools.com to get started with free training.
3. Know your audience
It doesn’t matter how wonderful you think your content is: if your reader can’t relate to it, they’ll ignore it.
Any time you sit down to write something, consider who will be reading it. Think about the questions they might type into a search engine to find this article. Then craft your article to speak to that person and answer their questions.
Address their needs and their concerns using language they understand and can relate to. Keep things simple by avoiding industry jargon or, if you have to use it, be sure to explain it in simple terms.
4. Keep things tidy for easier editing
Writing is a creative process and creativity is messy. Ernest Hemingway recommended that writers “write drunk and edit sober”. While that advice might work for your upcoming adventure novel, it’s likely not the best practice for blogging.
Starting with an outline for your article will help you keep your focus and write more effectively. Write with a focus on brevity and economy of language — be concise.
Don’t just edit once and call it a day; do it three or four times. I like to write a piece, edit it, then do something else for a bit before coming back for second and third edits. The break gives me fresh eyes and helps me spot things I didn’t catch earlier.
5. Make it a labor of love
Don’t start a blog because you want to make a million dollars. Start a blog because you have a passion about a subject and want to share it with the world.
The enthusiasm you bring to your writing is infectious and will help you to build a following of engaged and interested readers.
What strategies have you used to help you launch and grow a blog?