Twitter and blogs
Once you have written a post, how do you get people to actually read it? After all, just because you have written the post, it doesn’t mean that your audience knows that it exists. This is where Twitter comes in. Twitter and blogging synergize unbelievably well, as Twitter can act as a brilliant “signpost” to your content. If you have been paying attention to the conversations of your Twitter audience, you’ll have have some sense of the issues and hashtags that are current with that audience. As a consequence of that careful Twitter listening, tweets about your post sent out to your audience stand a decent chance of being picked up on (be sure to write blog post tweets on what your audience currently cares about!).
For this exercise though, please don’t tweet out to your audience about your blog post. After all, your audience won’t actually be able to see it.
Building a blog audience
If you plan on blogging, your first few “real” posts may not get much attention. That doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong! When you read popular science blogs like Deep Sea News or Southern Fried Science, you might wonder how they got so popular. The short answer is these blogs (and others like them) have been at it for a while. Building an audience takes a lot of time. There really is no shortcut to getting out there and blogging consistently. Most likely, you won’t get instant feedback from social media, blog comments, or site visits (but they will come!).
Professional bloggers post daily, and some may even post several times a day. For those of us with day jobs, posting daily to a blog is not really realistic. What is a reasonable schedule? Generally speaking, to maintain and build audience, a blog should be updated at least once a week.
Of course, finding the time to even blog once a week can be challenging. But there is a solution. Group blogs! If you band together with a few other people, updating a blog weekly suddenly becomes a much easier task. Think of it this way: with a four person blog, each person is on the hook only about once a month. And a group blog is often more interesting than a single blog, as each person can bring a unique view point. Additionally, a multiple-person blog has a greater chance of actually being updated regularly as each blogger might feel a sense of accountability to the group.
Blogging can be a challenge sometimes. Everyone, even professional bloggers, experience bouts of writer’s block. Everyone has different strategies for overcoming their own blogging challenges. No matter what strategy you use, make sure you can sustain your blogging.
If you ever do hit a block, keep a notepad handy with you at all times (or note app on your phone). You get a million ideas a day, but you don’t spend all your time in front of your computer on your blog. Jot down a few topic ideas with some notes to get you started. When you hit a block, refer back to your notes to get through it. You can even create new posts in WordPress and just save them as drafts to come back to later. Finish these draft posts to publish content when you feel like you are hitting a dry spell.
Another important key to blogging is to create good content. Your blog content can take many forms. Posts can be short with just a link and some brief commentary, or it can be a long discourse on a deep topic. The nature of the content is up to you. But no matter what style you’d like to use, make sure you are passionate about your outreach aim and your message. Your passion will help separate your blog from the millions out there, and will help drive you to continue with your blogging schedule.
Blogging in the wild
Did you enjoy this activity on blogging? Would you like to start your own blog? There are tons of places to get started with your very own blog. If you’d like to start your own blog, consider starting a blog with the #SciFund Challenge Blog Network. If you like the idea of blogging, but don’t think you can dedicate more than once a week or a few times a month, we can also get you started in a group blog (this is recommended, in fact).