Hello, and welcome to my Beautiful New Writer's Blog. Yes. capitals and italics. It is all very interesting and important.
Introductions first. I'm Zara. I'm a freelance writer based in London. I also dabble in illustration. I have been writing on and off for 10+ years, mostly content writing, but I started off as a blogger. This was back when blogging about yourself and your life for fun (not just for profit) was normal.
What do writers blog about now? Well, I suspect they are still writing about themselves, but maybe just a little more niched-in with commentary on "the writer's life", as opposed to life in general.
I pulled a few questions out of my hat, did a bit of googling, and my first blog post is ultimately going to be sharing my discoveries. Let's get on and learn how to create a fantastic writer's blog!
What is a blog?
So let's be clear... typically, a blog is a list of posts, usually written in a personal and conversational style as opposed to a more formal informational style article or feature.
Although, there can be some crossover. I have seen blog-style articles and article-style blogs. In fact, this blog post may be a prime example of something within those realms!
Blogs can contain written content, or just images, but most strike a balance.
Blogs today also tend to zone in on a single topic or "niche" in order to narrow down an audience.
What is a niche?
A niche is a narrowed down area of interest, or a specialised topic.
Many successful and profitable small blogs these days narrow down their content even further into micro or sub niches.
These are even smaller segments of niche markets that target a very specific audience. For example, If a niche is pet food, then a micro-niche might be hypoallergenic dog food.
Do niche blogs make money?
It is easier to make money from niche blogging because you are attracting your target customer to your blog with specialised content that is relevant to their specific interests or questions.
If your whole blog is focused on that niche then visitors are likely to spend more time on the site because the content is valuable to them. This means you have more chance of selling products and services, or of them clicking on your affiliate links.
A blog doesn't necessarily have to be focused on a niche though, or even be about making money. You can still blog for pleasure about topics that interest you. Thankfully online diary style blogs still exist, and they are fun to read. Who doesn't love to have a nose into someone else's business?
Focusing in on a niche essentially helps your audience to know what to expect from your blog - But I am a firm believer in taking note of the rules and then disregarding them in favour of doing whatever the hell pleases you! You only live once.
Should writers have a blog?
If you enjoy writing for pleasure then a blog provides you with the perfect opportunity to brush up on your writing skills and hone your craft, build your audience, and become an expert in a field of your choice. Plus, if you do it right, it can be a lot of fun. And by "right", I mean what is right for you!
You don't need to have a blog just because you are a writer. Blogs are time-consuming, and if you don't have a genuine passion for writing your own blog, well what's the point? A static writer's website works just as well as a place where potential clients can find you and hire you for work.
But consistently writing and posting content on a blog does have its benefits.
The benefits of blogging for writers
As a freelance writer who writes content for clients I sometimes find myself feeling a bit too niched-in. It can feel like my identity as a writer disappears the more I take on the tone of voice required to write for the audiences of my clients' brands or businesses.
Having my own blog is like having a space where I can just sound like myself and explore my own thoughts and ideas. It's refreshing, and I highly recommend it.
The disadvantages of having a writer's blog
As I have already mentioned, blogging requires time, and that is time that you could be spending on paid writing work. It is also a lot of effort to maintain a blog.
There's the planning, the writing, the publishing, and don't forget the promoting of consistent fresh content, preferably to a schedule. You have to ask yourself - how much time do I have to dedicate to blogging for pleasure?
Personal blogging can also hurt your reputation. Imagine that you have had a bad day, maybe a client rubbed you up the wrong way, and you end up publishing a rant on your personal blog that doesn't read professionally.
You may feel like your blog is your personal online diary, a place where you can be authentic , but you still have to be aware that there are many important eyes on your words. Something like that could lose you current clients and potential future referrals.
Take my blog, for example, I write mainly about the development of my career as a writer and illustrator, but I come at it from a very personal angle - perhaps too personal! Would you write about your pets, plants, and mental illness alongside your professional journey?
It's important to know what you want to gain from your blog. I am looking to gain freelance clients and other work, but I also want to connect with my own audience because I am working on my own creative projects, and the elements of my personal life that I share are relevant to my work.
Ultimately whether you should have a writers blog, and what you write about on it, are personal decisions that only you can make. Blogging is right for some writers, it aids self-expression and can provide a ready-made portfolio of writing clips. But for others, blogging may end up being a waste of time, stressful, and distracting.
It doesn't hurt to give it a go and see what you think though. You can always archive it or take it down if you change your mind later on down the line.
What do writers blog about?
It's worth taking some time before you set up your writer's blog to think about what topics you really want to write about.
Here are some things to consider:
Why are you creating this blog?
What will you get out of it?
What will your readers get out of it?
Being able to sum up what your blog's purpose is in a short paragraph will help you when it comes to thinking up new content, making sure that you don't veer off topic. Let's face it, it's just weird when a finance blogger starts writing about their cat!
Outline your interests and publish those on the About page of your blog. This way, anyone who wants an overview of your blog can see what it's all about, whether that is a mixture of finance and cats, something more specific, or a wider spectrum of subject areas.
We are multi-faceted people and as much as the modern online world want to put us all into a box, that doesn't mean you have to let it close the lid on you. Just do you.
For the record, I will be writing about my creative process on my blog and I will be writing about my cat! I'll also probably write about how I secretly resent walking my dog and watering my plants; how I battle against my crazy sugar cravings, middle-aged-spread, and poverty; and how a cup of tea usually helps to make everything seem a little bit better.
Blogging prompts for writers
We all suffer from the dreaded writer's block from time-to-time, so here is a short list of writing prompts to get you thinking about what to write about on your writer's blog.
Blog about the writer's life
Writers are a bit of an enigma. So any insight into your creative thought process and daily work-at-home routines can be highly interesting for mere mortals, wannabe writers, and fellow nosy bloggers like myself.
Share your personal thoughts
A writer's blog can simply be a collection of personal essays. You can use it as a place to share your personal thoughts about literally anything that you find relevant.
The great thing about this is that everybody has an opinion, and once you start sharing yours, others are bound to jump in with their penny's worth. A lively comments section is a blogger's dream.
Offer value to your readers
Keep in mind that a proportion of your readers are probably going to be other writers eager to learn from your experience. So why not take the opportunity to impart your valuable wisdom?
Instructional posts and pro tips are great ways to attract new visitors to your blog. Plus, they make your content more shareable on social media, which leads to more exposure for your writing - Win!
Add the personal touch to your posts
Depending on the style of your blog and your intended audience, I think it's important to inject as much of your own personality into your blog as appropriate. You want to remain professional and on topic, obviously, but I think it's just as important to remind your readers that you are human too.
Sifting in personal snippets from your life and your interactions with people can help you to appear more relatable, more likeable, and more interesting in general. We love to read about real people, warts and all, so don't be afraid to show them from time-to-time.
With social media, apps, vlogging, and incredibly short attention spans, you'd be forgiven for thinking that blogging isn't as relevant in the online world as other forms of content. Don't knock it 'til you try it though.
Once you start blogging, I warn you, it can be addictive. I have several blogs, and each one allows a part of me to express itself to the world.
I hope that you have found this post useful. Subscribe to my blog if you enjoyed it so that you don't miss out on my next blog post!
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