If you have a business, or plan on one, you will most likely have a blog. If you weren’t
going to have a blog, let me have another go at it – YOU SHOULD HAVE A BLOG.
It doesn’t matter whether you are an online business or have a brick and mortar
store; having an active blog will let you open a communication channel you’re your
customer base and audience. It is also a very efficient and easy way of letting your
personality shine and allowing you to build a personal relationship.
Starting a blog is not the difficult part. However, knowing how to write your first blog post
can be daunting.
Coming from an engineering background, I was accustomed to writing like a robot –
very impersonal and in a passive voice. If you’ve ever read a technical manual for
any of your appliances, just make it ten times more unreadable and that is what
I used to write like. With each blog post I write for TOTS or for my own blog, I am
These are the few pointers that helped me write my first blog post and things that I
still keep at the back of my mind when I write, even today.
Write in the First Person
Make the blog post personal where you write as if you are relaying things from your
viewpoint. When I read a blog, I want to know how the author sees THEIR world. I
want to sit in their brain and borrow their eyes. The only way you will allow your
reader to do that is if you speak in a talking voice. You are NOT writing a manual.
Answer a question in a blog post
If you are ever struggling to find a topic to write about, answer a common question
that your audience might face.
If you are a cloth diapering blog, answer questions related to the common woes
like washing diapers, which style works better, etc.
If you had a business where you were selling vintage books, answer questions about
the process of caring for an old book, etc.
Don’t be afraid to share your follies
Blogging is such a personal medium of communication that when you admit
mistakes openly, it almost makes you endearing to the reader. It tells them that it is
OK to screw up. It makes you more human. Remember: You are not preaching from
a pedestal, you are talking across a café table.
Finding a voice
Find an e-mail that you have written to a very close friend. Read that e-mail and you
will hear your voice in it. Now, when you write your blog post, imagine that only your
best friend is going to be reading that particular post. This will allow you to drop down layers of pretense. Also, when you are writing to a friend, your anxiety about being judged is minimized. Your voice is how you sound when you are talking to that friend. That is what will make you original and differentiate you from the millions of other bloggers.
Write with sub-topics
The simplest way for your readers to know where you are going with a blog post is
to provide landmarks along the way in the form of sub-topics. It will divide
your text in smaller parcels of information and make it easy to comprehend. Also, it
allows for you to stay on topic and not wander all over the place.
Wander all over the place
It is OK to go off-topic once a while in a blog to make things a little more interesting.
Think of it like a small twist in the plot of a movie. It makes things engaging. Relate
a small anecdote from your personal experience in the middle of a post. Talk about
how something current has changed your mind about a pre-conceived notion that you
held for a long time.
Have an opinion
The most boring conversations I’ve had are with people who have no opinion. You
are trying to find an audience that agrees with you. Statistically, not everyone will
agree with you anyways, so you might as well get a loyal following of a few by taking
Break the monotony
Use pictures that you’ve taken on your cellphone to illustrate a point you are trying
to make. Take pictures from the internet as inspiration towards a blog post. Use a
video clip from YouTube that could bring the reader up to speed with the current or
historic event you are talking about.
If you’ve seen a child learning to walk you will appreciate the small struggles it
takes to become better at doing something. Take it as a challenge to learn how to
communicate in a free-flow medium where everything goes and there are no rules
or restrictions on your creativity. Please remember, you are writing the blog that
you would like to read – so have fun.