It wasn't that many years ago that I was in the same boat as many of you. I was GREEN when it came to Designing, had no clue about blogging or internet websites, no HTML knowledge and certainly didn't know what SEO stood for.
Because we are right brained CREATIVE people and all we want to do is spend time making things, we can get rather overwhelmed with the thought of blogging, or website design or anything else associated with promoting your craft business. I'm going to assume that it true of you, and pardon me if you are one of those blessed with having both a right and a left brain to work for you.
I am mostly right brained - I want to create ALL THE DANG TIME, but I also use this as a major part of my income - ALL THE TIME! So, thus begs the question, Should I Blog? and if I do, how can I get the most value from it in gaining followers and selling my work?
There are many aspects of Shameless self promotion and in general I give some basic tips on a recent blog post. But today, I'm going to look at one piece of the big promotion picture - Blogging 101 and share the following basic tips, that I've learned the hard way, so you don't have to!
Before I go into detail on each aspect, I can sum up the basics with these 7 basic tips for right brained creative people.
- Choose the right blogging platform
- Determine who you are blogging to - what's your demographic
- What are you blogging about? Is it a niche subject? or does it have broad appeal?
- Be consistant!
- Connect with your reader
- Think about what you can offer your reader vs. what your reader can give to you
- Effective ways of self promotion
Blogging Platforms: Blogger, Wordpress, Typepad are all blogging platforms that will host a blog for free as long as you don't mind their extention on the back of your url - for instance "yourblogname.blogspot.com" or "yourblogname.wordpress.com" etc. While I built this blog and website on blogger, I've since come to realize that wordpress is a much better choice - for many reasons, but mainly because the search engines like that platform better. It stands to reason that if a search engine can not find you, well, no one else will either! And you'll be forever walking on the treadmill of cyberspace, spending alot of energy but going no where. Pretty easy to sign up and just follow the prompts. Mostly these formats are all template based and it's a matter of dragging and dropping content. For the sake of getting too techno geeky, I'll stop here on this subject.
Who are you blogging to? Are you an occassional crafter that wants to share your story and journey through crafts? Are you blogging about a certain niche topic? Blogging is all about the connection. Your audience must connect with you on an emotional level and share common interests. But before you can connect, you need to write down a few ideas on who you are trying to connect to?
What are you blogging about? You have about 3 seconds to make an impression to your viewer. When someone lands on your blog or website, they must have a clear vision of what message you are trying to convey. Be clear as to what you are offering and what your subject matter is.
I've taken several e-courses on blogging, seo, internet marketing and while I don't claim to be a master of it, I have become quite proficient at it. All of the e-courses I have taken reiterate what I've already known - CONTENT MATTERS! Yes, what you write has to connect with the people you are talking to. Through your stories, you will develop connections with your readers. Write good content. Generally the best content you will ever write is on a subject you are passionate about. Find your passion - write about it. Since I'm in the creative industry, I follow trends and often blog about these, places I've been, projects I'm working on and offer loads of inspiration through crafting.
GIVING vs GETTING: I approach blogging as to what I can give, rather than what I can get. If every post you make is about selling or what you are going to get out of blogging, or that everything you make turns out beautiful, sparkly and perfect, you might as well save yourself the trouble and not blog at all. It gets old real fast! Sure, you can talk about you on your blog, it is your blog, but talk about your life in such a way as it helps others. Do you have an inspiring story to share? Have you overcome some obstacle that someone else might relate to? Do you have a funny story to share? Maybe a laugh at yourself - I did something really stupid kinda story? These kinds of things make you real. There's a certain amount of transparency that is good, a certain amount of vulnerability that is good. Share these stories with along your artwork. Give GIVE GIVE! You'll find that I share bits and pieces of my creative journey, rather long road off and on in the blog. I also give alot of information away, lots of project ideas and such, because when I first started so much was given to me, now it's my turn to give back.
Consistancy. If blogging on a regular basis won't fit in your lifestyle, then don't blog. It's frustrating for you and for your reader. Being consistant is another key to gaining readers to your blog that come back for more. Blog at least once a week to keep a constant connection. Remember BE CONSISTANT!
Promotion - Well, really this topic alone is a whole book! But here's the basics to get you started. You must be socially connected when you are blogging. Join Facebook and twitter. You can connect your blogs to these accounts so that every time you post, it will automatically feed into your social sites. Let everyone you know about your blog. If you are writing about a particular topic, search the google keyword tool to find phrases that will help you get noticed with search engine - what we in bloggerville know as SEO (search engine optimization - another future topic)
I recently wrote a post about shameless self promotion that will also give you some tips on promoting your blog. It's really just the basics. But the basics that can get you up and running!
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