Social media has not only changed how business is run, it has become a platform that enables anyone to be a media owner, a publisher, as well as engage and build a customer base.
The buzz around social media comes from being connected to your audience and their honest, yet sometimes brutal opinions.
Perhaps the most personal method of communicating your views and ideas is through the personal or business blog. On a personal level, blogging is kind of just a better-worded version of your thoughts, documented so that those who are interested can grasp the inner workings of your mind. The business blog does a similar thing, but it addresses your customers or clients as an audience that may be interested in the workings of your company and industry.
Blogging can work well as part of your social media strategy, allowing you to further establish your credentials as a thought leader or voice in your industry each time you tweet or post about a blog you have written.
The blogging industry expands vastly on a daily basis, with some individuals even managing to create an entire career from their online voice. Take Nicole Warne of Garry Pepper Girl for instance, a young, Sydney-based woman who has built an empire from the voice of her blog. In just five years, her small online vintage store grew from hundreds of followers to 1.2 million. Her blog made her an internationally recognised fashion influence, collaborating with the likes of Louis Vuitton and Dolce and Gabbana. She created her own empire, and so could you.
Blogging can leave the most seasoned businessperson stuck in fear for looking silly at what they write. It can seem overwhelming and frightening. People get worked up and overwhelmed on correct grammar and what they are saying, as their old English teacher enters their head and starts to take over. It does take time and dedication and not to mention an endless supply of innovative and unique content that keeps your audience coming back. You need to be creative, you need to stand out. But it doesn’t have to be long-winded, protracted or perfect. That in fact is what is perfect about blogging!
I’ve been writing in some form or another and blogging for 10 years now and although I consider myself to be a creative, think-outside-the-box kind of person, I too get stuck for inspiration. It’s a feeling I’m sure we’re all familiar with. That helpless sensation of sitting in front of a blank word document, staring at that little vertical cursor and hoping that the way it appears and disappears methodically will spark some brilliance. I think we can also all agree that it never does, and as usual it’s up to us to draw the inspiration from somewhere in our heads, and find a concise and entertaining way to put it into words.
So here are some ways to assist you and save your sanity when it comes to sparking inspiration and composing your scattered thoughts into a post:
1. Inspiration can strike at the most unexpected of times, whilst you’re in a cab or even when you’re asleep. The most proactive tip I can give is to jot it down the moment you think of it. It could be just one word or maybe a few sentences but by simply noting these thoughts in your smartphone you save yourself a lot of blank document staring.
2. Revisit your work on another day. If you feel like you’ve hit a creative wall and are no longer driven to keep writing, stop and take a break. Your best work will never be done on a tired brain, so revisit the post with a fresh mind and a new perspective.
3. Switch up your work environment. It sounds too simple to be effective but that’s just it – simple and effective. Take your laptop to a place you love to be, whether it’s a café or a park you’ll find that being somewhere out of the ordinary will take your mind to new places.
4. Look at how you can add a contribution to someone else’s blog or opinion. You don’t have to start from scratch.
5. Use video and photos to blog. Expression is not always in the typed word these days.
6. Don’t be shy. It’s OK to have an opinion and it’s OK to share it, we want to hear from you.
7. Don’t overwork it; you don’t have to be perfect. Blogs should never be more than 750 words, ideally the best are 250-500 words, or a 1 minute video or photo guide. It’s never been truer that a picture tells a thousand words.
8. It’s cost-effective to use blogging sites such as Wix or WordPress. Set up a blog and play, without making it public until you are ready.
9. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Fi Bendall is the managing director of Bendalls Group, a team of highly trained digital specialists, i-media subject matter experts and developers.