The 4 Top Beginner Blogging Mistakes

 

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So you’ve decided to start a blog.  After all, those insightful scribbles on Evernote are burning a proverbial hole in your back pocket.   Before you sit at the computer and fire up WordPress however, you might want to take stock of common errors newbies can make in the rush to publish.

1. Not having a clear end goal

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Why are your writing?  What’s the purpose of your blog or post?  Are you trying to establish yourself as an influencer in a niche market?  Are you trying to persuade customers to buy a product you make?  Are you building readership to attract advertisers or launching a YouTube Channel and looking for subscribers?  The more specific you are in answering these questions the more aligned and purposeful your writing will be.cc-zero

2. Not truly understanding your audience, or what their problems are

problem-1020300_1280You might think if you know what your purpose is in writing you’ll also know who you’re writing for, but chances are you’ll need to dig deeper.    Blogs are a dime a dozen, but you’ll be ahead of your competition if you do the research needed to identify your target market .

Once you understand who your audience is, and what their needs are, you can be far more relevant to them.   You’ll be able to tailor your writing or video blogging style to them, and you’ll be able to deliver content they actually want.

3. Not Writing Well

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If your writing is disorganized, unclear, and grammatically incorrect then you aren’t credible to your audience.

Sloppy, disorganized writing is a result of not knowing your story focus well enough to structure a beginning, middle, and end.  If you’re struggling with structure go back to Mistake No. 1 and answer the questions to correct the problem so you can move forward.cc-zero

Once you know your focus you can use the inverted pyramid method to prioritize you’re story content.  The inverted pyramid method prevents you from burying your lead and your readers’ interest with it.

Use headers and sub-headers to grab readers’ attention, and to allow them to skim your post to decide if they want to read it more carefully.

Finally, when you start to write remember to use clear sentences, in an active voice, with proper spelling and grammar.

I spent 20 years writing for television, and that led to some bad habits.  For that reason I check and double check my spelling and grammar.   English Grammar for Dummies has a place of honor on my desk, there’s also great on-line resources to double check your work.  So do it!

Here’s a great article from Poynter’s University (a university for working journalists) with more tips about writing on-line.

4. Not making a meaningful contribution

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A cow chews its food, and then regurgitates it, and then chews it again to digest it properly.   When you regurgitate information that you culled from other sources, but offer nothing new, you’re about as compelling as that cow chewing its cud.     So be sure that you have gone the extra mile to provide meaningful analysis to interesting questions that enriches the on-line community you belong to.  (Sourced from @Brian Clark, How to Read)cc-zero

 

COM0014 – Personal Reflection

Reflecting on the concepts presented in this course

I think the most important aspect of this course was that communicators should not forget the research phase. Listen to what people are saying online and discover their needs before beginning to write. Describing the target audience is an extremely important part of research and must come before developing key messages. Communications styles must be considered first. Then the story can start to form around these pillars.

Storytelling: Its importance in creating great digital content

Everyone loves a story. They look for details or incidents that are familiar to them. They love to say “did that, been there”. My goal is to tell a story that allows the reader to relate so they nod their heads in understanding, and keep reading to find out what’s coming next.

My content guided by storytelling

Since I’ve been working in marketing for many years, thinking about everyday life experiences in business should be easy. The challenge will be finding situations that others can relate to and finding a way to weave a story around them. I intend to use experiences from my past work at different marketing agencies and tell stories that provide lessons for readers in this field. I plan to develop stories  around real cases consisting of what worked, what didn’t work, and why.

The kind of stories I want to tell

I want to tell stories that make people want to hire me as a writer or digital marketer and showcase my skills in project management, organization, idea generation. I particularly enjoyed the last lesson of this course which told the legend of the Golden Spruce. There was great symbolism providing a lesson about always looking forward, and not looking back in case of being frozen in the past. This inspired me in writing my last post in which I discussed some of my disappointments and how I handled them. After finishing this course, I plan to write stories that:

  • Use humour
  • Create anticipation. People love the “Aha! moment”.
  • Inspire my target audience to take action
  • Reiterate legends that provide lessons in business and life in general
  • Relate to marketing and communications, using possible case studies

Hopefully, I’ll be able to incorporate the human element into each of them and draw readers in who connect to me and recognize that they need a personable and competent digital marketer and writer.

COM0014 – Telling the Story

          The Near Miss

One of my biggest fears in business is that I might miss a great experience or opportunity. But sometimes it’s a good thing. Has this ever happened to you? Last week, I was driving home when a car pulled out from behind a parked truck and almost hit me head on. The tires screeched and my adrenaline pumped. We didn’t crash – it was a near miss. We paused, looked at each other in relief for a moment, then went on our ways. But what if we’d hit? How would life be different right now?

Sometimes near misses happen in business too. I once found what I thought was the perfect career opportunity. The job description fit my skills and it was just what I wanted. The interview went well and I liked the big boss. I thought an offer was just around the corner, then suddenly . . . nothing. Pure silence. The opportunity fizzled out and I was left empty-handed. A few months later, a friend in the know told me that I’d had a lucky escape. It seems it was just another form of the near miss. My life might have been miserable working for that big boss.

I remember a time of great disappointment when I didn’t get a new client signed on. He seemed so eager to work with me that I started writing his blog before we’d sealed the deal. In a couple of weeks, he replied that some unforeseen circumstances had come up and the timing wasn’t right for his digital media strategy. Was it a lost opportunity or a near miss? Maybe he would have been a difficult client. I may never know.

Does life ever hand you loss or disappointment? Can you reframe some of your life stories and start to think of them as good luck? You might just find you’re grateful for those near misses.

COMM0014 (Blog #2) – Storytelling & Communication Styles

Why has storytelling been such a fundamental aspect of human life?Storytelling

There has been a great transition throughout the centuries in storytelling and communication, beginning with scratches on cave walls to now on the World Wide Web. It is on the internet that we capture, share and preserve our stories in a new age digital form. The shift in communication form is a direct representation of our culture, self-identity and even our societies as a whole. When telling a story you are speaking in a universally understood format and in a relatable context that brings people together.

What type of communication style is used for business?

As with any communication style it is the: who, what, when, where, why that needs to be addressed. When including these details it is important to use an active voice and persuade your reader to do something, to take action. Be sure to know what action you want your reader to take by writing clearly and concisely in a familiar and friendly tone.

How do you encourage interaction with your audience?

Before you begin writing you must research and listen to your audience. Make sure you know them well in order to select the appropriate tone and writing style. Think about what action you want them to take and write positively to encourage your reader to respond. In order to be positive avoid insecure wording such as perhaps, apparently and usually. Lastly, be concise in this request but complete and your reader will be inspired to act accordingly.