Blogging is frustrating. There is ultimately no fix for that whatsoever. Even after putting hours into ideas and writing, sometimes blogging just seems bleak. But if you’re a writer (and I’m going to assume you are to some extent), perseverance is the main thing you need to grasp (and maybe some stubbornness). On the upside, blogging can be extremely rewarding, and any amount of success is something special. You just have to learn some steps.
Remember, you’re climbing a ladder. Just like every other professional field, you’re going to start at the bottom of the totem pole (unless you have some wicked connections). Expect things to be tough and embrace the fact that getting noticed isn’t going to be an easy task. But don’t let it get to you! Even if people decided that my blog was a pile of poo, I would continue writing. Why? Because I enjoy it. Remember, you’re starting a blog because you enjoy writing and sharing things. Any other motive will only lead to failure.
Focus on what you know. I enjoy video games and because of that, I built this blog into a gateway for others to communicate about all things games. If you can’t write a sincere review of the game you just bought, then skip over that idea and think of something else. I hated the process of writing a review, and I’m just now learning how to enjoy it. Ultimately, though, my blog was never built for video gaming. I actually started with poetry, and finding a truly appreciative audience for poetry is tough shit. Not to mention, the inspiration for it was fleeting.
Prepare yourself for failure. Like stated above, I started this blog because I wanted to share poetry. Times changed and so did I and I knew that I wanted to communicate and reach people that were sincerely interested in my writing. And if I had stuck to it, I may have found that particular audience. But the passion wasn’t there and the content wasn’t consistent. It took a while for me to realize that I could use my passion for gaming to fuel my inspiration. And that is when the action started!
Do research. I write a journalistic view of video games, and that normally involves quickly sharing news before other sources. Alas, I don’t have the connections to get the news first, so like other bloggers, I have to use the internet as my main source. Releasing news quickly is important inside a competitive field, but having the correct news is more important. This is why I stress my own opinions inside of news reports. If the report seems shady, make sure you note that. You may not be IGN, but people may see your posts first and believe them.
Quality over quantity. People may argue over this tip, but I truly believe that blogs earn more respect and appreciation over the quality of their posts versus the number of them that are released. Shoving out a multitude of posts in a short amount of time can drain the creativity, and it is way too easy to burn yourself out by doing this. A rule I’ve given myself is: If I can’t develop a sincere and interesting opinion about a piece of news… then I don’t write about it.
Consistency is important, however. If you’re writing a blog with the intention of attracting an audience, prepare yourself for consistent posts. You don’t have to overwhelm your subscribers’ inboxes, but set a certain amount of posts that you would like to release a week. Sometimes, one or two posts are plenty! It all depends on your content and your intentions.
Set goals! We all want to be that popular blogger with all of the latest content, but take baby steps! You can overwhelm yourself and kill your creativity by taking on too much. Start with one or two posts a week and keep that schedule! Overtime it’ll become easier to do more without the stress. Deadlines are important and if you’re trying to work your way into a field of journalism then you need to get used to them. Starting a blog can either be a simple hobby or a lifestyle, and it’s important to devote the right amount of responsibility into it.
Edit! You could have the greatest article to have ever been released, but if it’s full of typos then you’ve only released garbage. And the only way to keep this from happening is by writing! Write all the time and make a habit of editing your words as you go. Eventually you’ll make less glaring mistakes and you’ll have more time to focus on your content.
Have thick skin. Be open to criticism but be prepared for flames. The internet is full of trolls, and if your focus is inside of the video game scene, then you should already know that it’s filled to the brim with trolls and douchebags that enjoy using the anonymity of the internet to harass. Know the difference between constructive criticism and trolling. The only way you’re going to get better is by listening to advice. Cherish it. Not everything you write is going to be gold, and if other bloggers and informed people are willing to lend a hand, take it. Take all of the help you can get!
Network. Blogging is just one step. In order to gain an audience, you need to attract the right people! Twitter is by far the best tool I have when it comes to networking and interacting with people that share the same interests. Building relationships can not only attract devoted readers, but it can attract some awesome professional relationships that you can use as sources. Other bloggers I have connected with are pretty awesome people, and all of them have been super supportive and will usually help share your posts (retweets, etc) to their own readers.
Give and take. Every relationship is about giving and taking. If you’re doing all of the taking from supporting bloggers and you’re not giving anything back, then prepare for failure. It’s not difficult to share someone else’s new post on Twitter (or any other social site), and if they write in a related niche, then you’re most likely sharing something you’ve enjoyed anyway. Share things, promote them, encourage other bloggers.
Experiment and use other creative outlets. I love writing more than anything, and it’s the best way I can share my interests. But there are other ways to share things, especially when it comes to video games. If you have a capture card, making videos can enhance your blog posts, and many people enjoy another portal for entertainment. Develop Let’s Plays, record your own personal commentaries, and even make your own video reviews. The possibilities are endless!
Give credit where it’s due. If you’re taking quotes from another source to accompany your own opinions, make sure your readers can link to it. Whether it’s from IGN or a small blog, don’t steal their content! Writing can be difficult and plagiarism is a massive insult to anyone that has put their time and effort into their stuff. It can also ruin your credibility. Even if you think no one will notice… they will.
HAVE FUN! If you don’t enjoy blogging, then don’t do it. It can be stressful and disappointing, but if it’s something you truly love then you’ll work through it. Blogging can be extremely rewarding and success stories do happen! It just takes patience, perseverance, passion, and a hell of a lot of writing. So get to it!
Do you have any of your own tips to share? Or do you have questions about starting your own blog? Leave them in the comment section below!