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Blog Writing - Beginner Blogging Mistakes

posted 23 Nov 2010, 08:37 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 23 Nov 2010, 08:39 ]

Blogging is not complicated, but it is hard. It's the same
theory as lifting up a car - the action is a simple one, but it
requires a great deal of effort to pull off. At the root of it,
blogging is as simple as can be. The blogger logs in, writes a
piece of appropriate length touching on a relevant topic, then
posts and all is done. However, it is painfully clear that most

blogs don't survive the inception phase, and even those that do
manage a few opening posts don't tend to last more than a few
days or weeks.

There are a number of mistakes that beginning bloggers make,
blunders that compromise their blogs and kill their chances of
developing an interested audience. On the other hand, there is
far too much criticism and far too little specific advice on the
web. With that in mind, here are some of the common opening
mistakes new bloggers make, followed by specific steps that can
be taken to avoid them.

Blunder #1 - The Text Wall

Rooted in the dialup age and the period where text was the only
truly efficient medium of communication online, this kind of post
is increasingly inappropriate for the online environment.
Broadband is widely available, having become the norm in many
places rather than the high-priced exception. Cable connections,
DSL and fiber optic specialized systems are all available for
reasonably affordable prices, so more multimedia content can be
included in every kind of post, and this most definitely includes
blog posts.

Avoiding the Trap: It isn't hard to find images or videos
related to a blog topic. Search engines include video and image
functionality in their search terms as a matter of course, and
YouTube is full of material that can be accessed readily. For
smaller posts, a single link or video will probably do the trick,
but for a more involved entry, one image per paragraph is
certainly appropriate. Don't include more than one video unless
the post is specifically about a particularly engaging video
series, however.

Blunder #2 - The Deaf Ear

The audience defines the success of a company. If people aren't
buying, the product is a failure. If people aren't visiting, the
museum is a failure. If people aren't reading, the blog is a
failure. This is an inviolate, absolute principle of all
marketing, and yet there are many blogs that shut off user
commentary or fail to interact with the audience as a matter of
course. Censorship is ineffectual in any case, and
self-censorship is an exercise in absolute stupidity. The blog
that fails to take advantage of the opportunities offered by an
active and positive comments section will not succeed as much as
one that embraces the community mindset.

Avoiding the Trap: Cultivate commentary by rewarding thoughtful
contributors. For example, if a visitor posts in a particularly
eloquent and informed fashion, invite them to make a guest post
on the blog and expand upon their ideas. Consider making the
guest slot a regular feature of the blog. In a stroke, this will
reduce the overall workload on the blog's primary writer and
show the more informed readers that their words are reaching the
authority behind the blog. This also helps quell any din raised
by agitators and malcontents.

Blunder #3 - The Rote Post

Regular content is the key to a successful blog; this can't be
disputed. However, it also can't be disputed that some writers
simply hit a slump and can't go on producing without cessation.
Sometimes the inspiration simply isn't there. A blog oriented
toward news-style stories covering a specific industry might
suffer when the industry simply isn't providing any new stories,
for example. Forcing a post at times like this will be a bad idea
almost universally, because people can tell when writing is
forced or uninspired.

Avoiding the Trap: This is another area where the video function
can come in handy. If a topic just isn't presenting itself well,
a blogger can look up a video series on the topic of their choice
and post it. It's often easier to post a video and add some
commentary on the issues discussed than it is to come up with an
article whole cloth.

Blunder #4 - Missing the Point

This issue ties right back in with the idea of audience feedback
and participation in a blog, as well as finding alternative
methods to rote updating. Consider the idea above, where a writer
strapped for ideas posts a YouTube video related to the blog's
mission and makes a post commenting on it rather than devising an
entire post of his or her own. Suppose this video comment is one
of the most popular posts by traffic and commentary compared to
any others, even though it took the least work. Why would a
writer not take advantage of this? Sadly, this is exactly the
case, and many bloggers miss the opportunity to pick up a new
idea.

Avoiding the Trap: If a crazy or half-baked idea somehow becomes
more popular than the default or normal pattern, consider making
it a series and running with it. This is why observing metrics
such as traffic and the user comments section is such an
important skill to develop. The net is alive, vital and adapting.
Keep a finger on the pulse of it, and be prepared to react to
sudden inspirational shifts.




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Enzo F. Cesario is an online branding specialist
and co-founder of Brandsplat, a digital content
agency. Brandsplat creates blogs, articles, videos
and social media in the "voice" of our client's
brand. It makes sites more findable and brands more
recognizable. For the free Brandcasting Report go to
http://www.BrandSplat.com/ or visit our blog at
http://www.iBrandCasting.com/
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